Sunday, September 6, 2009

Another Big Flight!

Everyone who listened last night - me, Michael O'Brien, Vince Elia, Mark Garland, Cameron Cox - heard many, many flight notes in the pre-dawn hours, with Veery still dominant but a very much more diverse cast of characters than yesterday's nocturnal flight. Michael and I both heard both bitterns, and Mark detected Gray-cheeked Thrush. The dominant nocturnal migrants at Norbury's Landing from 5:25-6:10 a.m., after Veery, were Common Yellowthroats, American Redstarts, Yellow Warblers, and Wood Thrush, with Swainson's Thrushes and diverse others. Interestingly, when I listened last night at 11:00 p.m., I heard no migrants whatever, though a Great-horned Owl responded to hooting by flying over my head, easy to see with the full moon. This morning there were often 50 and sometimes 100 or more notes per minute.

At Higbee Beach WMA, the dike was rocking - eBird totalled 92 species on the checklist I submitted, and that list did not include the Connecticut Warbler that flew past while I was experimenting with a different spot to watch from, nor the Lark Sparrow Michael's group had from the platform. The dominant warblers were American Redstart, Yellow, Black-and-white, Northern Waterthrush, Northern Parula, and Black-throated Blue, but Magnolias, Black-throated Greens, Blackburnian, Blackpoll, Prairies, Cape Mays, Ovenbird, a single Wilson's, and a Yellow-throated Warbler (seen from the platform as a flyby, then another was seen perched later in the morning) added to the diversity. Definitely 20+ warblers were detected. A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was around the base of the dike, and Mark told me he had another, along with a Warbling Vireo, on the trails. Veeries could be heard everywhere, with a few Wood Thrush and Swainson's Thrushes. A Red-breasted Nuthatch in the woods and a Purple Finch over the platform added a northern flavor, and several Dickcissels flew over. All six swallows appeared.

Most of the above was from the dike and vicinity, but brief conversations with other birders indicated the woods and fields at Higbee were active, too. This was the weekend of the CMBO Flight Identification workshop, what a weekend for that!

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