Morning Flight, 28 August 2015

Friday morning featured a front-loaded movement of (mainly) warblers, though Blue-gray Gnatcatcher also featured prominently. Most of today's action took place during the first hour after sunrise, and included a nice burst of American Redstarts, Black-and-white Warblers, and Northern Waterthrushes, among others.

Following the passage of a cold-ish front, the second half of this week has seen a good run of passerine flights-- something that we can't always count on happening during the 20s of August. Here's a selection of 3-day totals from our recent "good" stretch (Wednesday - Friday):

American Redstart (1090)
Black-and-white Warbler (277)
Blackburnian Warbler (18)
Northern Waterthrush (128)

Looking ahead, we'll settle into more summerlike conditions again this weekend, with southerly winds in the forecast through at least Sunday. A midweek cold front looks like a possibility...stay tuned.


[Eastern Kingbirds make up a big part of the daily scene at 
Higbee right now. Photo by Tom Reed.]

 [Yellow Warbler is among the earliest southbound migrants at Cape May-- 
34 were tallied during this morning's count. Photo by Tom Reed.]


 [Another early migrant, Louisiana Waterthrush typically clears out of Cape May by Labor Day. A total of 4 have been recorded during the first two weeks of Morning Flight. Photo by Tom Reed.]


 [Close-up of Louisiana Waterthrush in flight. Photo by Tom Reed.]


Morning Flight, 27 August, 2015

Today, let's talk numbers!

Species number
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
7
Downy Woodpecker
2
Olive sided Flycatcher
1
Empidonax sp.
4
Eastern Kingbird
664
Red-eyed Vireo
9
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
14
Catharus sp.
4
American Robin
6
Northern Mockingbird
2
Cedar Waxwing
270
Ovenbird
4
Worm-eating Warbler
2
Louisiana Waterthrush
1
Northern Waterthrush
58
Waterthrush sp.
3
Blue-winged Warbler
1
Black-and-white Warbler
178
Tennessee Warbler
5
Nashville Warbler
1
Common Yellowthroat
1
American Redstart
599
Cape May Warbler
6
Northern Parula
3
Magnolia Warbler
8
Blackburnian Warbler
8
Yellow Warbler
57
Chestnut-sided Warbler
8
Black-throated Blue Warbler
19
Prairie Warbler
1
Black-throated Green Warbler
3
Canada Warbler
1
warbler sp.
460
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1
Dickcissel
2
Bobolink
139
Baltimore Oriole 
127
House Finch
12
House Sparrow
8

There's the partial list of species counted today.  Wow!  The vast majority happened in just the first hour!  Wow!  The vast majority happening in just the first hour!  With over 1,400 warblers of 20 species, 664 Eastern Kingbirds, and 127 Baltimore Orioles, the late-August magic was working.  It was fun to see fantastic birds like 4 Common Nighthawks, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and 2 Dickcissels.  

Tomorrow is sure to be a good flight as well, and we will have everything up and running on the real-time hosted by Specteo at: https://raptor.specteo.com/cape-may-bird-observatory/morning-flight/

See you at dawn where Tom Reed will be the official counter!

Morning Flight, 26 August 2015

Today's experience was remarkable. The pair of Cape May Warblers at dawn would have been enough. The flight was not huge, or even big by late-August standards, but it was present, and drawing the enjoyment out of that presence was worth a great deal to today's watchers at dawn. A nice variety was to be had and put our attention to the test. Also, just like the last few days, kingbirds swirled periodically over the treetops to the south.

One hundred and twenty-four years ago, today, with respect to the activity of the songbirds, might not have been too much different than today. We now can rediscover this in the accounts of Witmer Stone as presented in an exciting new book by Scott McConnell. Scott visited the dike today and shared with me what significance this day holds. Transfixed with an exploration of the ornithological history and one particularly notable local legend, Scott has accomplished a great feat of natural history research and writing. His new book, Witmer Stone: The Fascination of Nature provides us now with a direct link to the man and his birding references that live on today.

Check out his blog and this particular post about, perhaps eventually, the unfolding future of the Morning Flight Project, seen with his fresh and beholden eyes back 124 years ago.

And maybe a kingbird or 400 kingbirds, like on today's anniversary, will swirl and swarm for you.

photo by: Glen Davis

Morning Flight, 25 August, 2015

Today, the birds were in places other than at Morning Flight. Aside from a few Bobolinks in both directions (we count north and south movement), some swirling, staging Eastern Kingbirds, and a trickle of Barn Swallows and Red-winged Blackbirds, there was not much migrating today.

Tomorrow, things should change though! I think we should get ready for a good flight. 

Until then, enjoy the amazing flight photography of Sam Galick! He shot these beauties two days ago. Below are American Redstart, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler in molt.