Morning Flight – 31 August 2014

I guess we may have almost forgot it was summer until the hot and heavy air and lack of any songbird activity set in at dawn, today. Then again it was really cool to get the reminder that summer is still here and there are plenty of other birds active in the area. A Great Black-backed Gull pursued a Parasitic Jaeger with long, slanting approaches. After the dwarfed-looking jaeger seemed tired and beaten it sat on the water within our view while it pulled itself together. A high north-flying Brown Pelican passed soon after the jaeger. Later on, a Blackpoll Warbler gleaned through some Baccharis trees next to the main path up the dike.

       Weather and time: sunny and humid; 74–79 ºF; winds SW at 3-7 mph; 80% cloud cover; very good visibility; 0627 sunrise; 2.25 hours.
       Morning Flight Count totals

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)  2

That's right, just 2 BOBOs are the only birds I had the gumption to count for the Morning Flight Project. But click on the eBird checklist below to find out about all the birds seen this AM.

Today's full list can be viewed at:

Morning Flight – 30 August 2014

It was sparse for migration action at the dike this morning. But how yesterday was so very special! For a new installment in this blog I've tallied up the Morning Flight for 2014 thus far. Thanks to the good folks at our CMBO Northwood Center (Hi Jess, Cari, and Mike!) for also keeping up with the migration action and reporting to visitors on it.

       Weather and time: sunny and humid; 70–74 ºF; winds SE at 1-2 mph; 10% cloud cover; excellent visibility; 0626 sunrise; 2.25 hours.
       Morning Flight Count totals

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)  1
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)  11
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  2
Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)  5
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  1
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)  3
Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea)  1
Dickcissel (Spiza americana)  1
Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)  1
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  10
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  20
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  1

Today's full list can be viewed at:

Daily total Season total Max Max Date
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1 101 33 17-Aug
Belted Kingfisher 0 1 1 28-Aug
Red-bellied Woodpecker 0 1 1 24-Aug
Downy Woodpecker 0 5 3 18-Aug
Northern Flicker 0 1 1 23-Aug
Eastern Wood-Pewee 0 2 2 29-Aug
Empidonax sp. 0 1 1 24-Aug
Great-crested Flycatcher 0 2 2 18-Aug
Eastern Kingbird 11 1,452 346 29-Aug
Red-eyed Vireo 0 18 7 18-Aug
Red-breasted Nuthatch 0 1 1 29-Aug
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2 167 57 18-Aug
American Robin 0 25 16 29-Aug
Northern Mockingbird 0 3 2 20-Aug
Cedar Waxwing 0 848 314 29-Aug
Ovenbird 0 3 2 29-Aug
Worm-eating Warbler 0 9 4 16-Aug
Northern Waterthrush 5 182 52 29-Aug
Louisiana Waterthrush 0 3 1 17-Aug
Blue-winged Warbler 0 3 1 18-Aug
Black-and-white Warbler 1 95 38 29-Aug
Prothonotary Warbler 0 6 1 16-Aug
Tennessee Warbler 0 4 3 29-Aug
American Redstart 3 1,171 561 29-Aug
Cape May Warbler 0 26 12 28-Aug
Northern Parula 0 13 5 24-Aug
Magnolia Warbler 0 4 3 29-Aug
Blackburnian Warbler 0 5 3 29-Aug
Yellow Warbler 0 215 81 24-Aug
Chestnut-sided Warbler 0 12 11 29-Aug
Black-throated Blue Warbler 0 16 15 29-Aug
Pine Warbler 0 1 1 24-Aug
Prairie Warbler 0 10 3 18-Aug
Black-throated Gray Warbler 0 1 1 29-Aug
Black-throated Green Warbler 0 1 1 28-Aug
Canada Warbler 0 3 2 29-Aug
warbler sp. 0 209 77 29-Aug
Summer Tanager 0 1 1 29-Aug
Scarlet Tanager 1 3 2 29-Aug
Blue Grosbeak 0 7 3 29-Aug
Indigo Bunting 0 33 7 25-Aug
Dickcissel 1 3 1 24-Aug
Bobolink 1 511 198 18-Aug
Orchard Oriole 0 3 2 16-Aug
Baltimore Oriole  10 197 130 29-Aug
House Finch 20 342 77 18-Aug
American Goldfinch 1 13 5 18-Aug
House Sparrow 0 54 16 21-Aug

Morning Flight – 29 August 2014

A look at NEXRAD radar last night revealed heavy bird migration occurring over portions of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, including here at Cape May. Light northwest winds gradually shifted to the north as the night progressed, and these conditions remained constant through the start of this morning's count.

A strong first hour was dominated by American Redstarts, with nearly 400 passing through before 7:30am-- though these would soon take a backseat to the steady parade of Baltimore Orioles that came bouncing up the dirt road in front of the dike. It was a good morning for both species, and the day's total of 130 Baltimore Orioles could go down as the season high. A lovely Summer Tanager and a delightful duo of Scarlet Tanagers added a couple more splashes of color, and a Red-breasted Nuthatch was a nice treat (and the first I've seen this fall). We enjoyed a few of the less-common, regular warblers such as Canada, Ovenbird, Cape May, and Tennessee, but the star of the show was a Black-throated Gray Warbler that shot past at 7:15am! This individual represents the 10th or so recorded in Cape May County, three of which have flown past the dike.

Other interesting birds included a White-rumped Sandpiper, 5 Common Nighthawks, 5 Northern Harriers, a Broad-winged Hawk, and 2 Willets.

Summer looks to stage a late-season comeback over the holiday weekend, so it might well be that songbird flights are again on the light side for the next few days. However, any day is a good day to visit at this point in the season. Diversity is on the rise, and you just never know when a big surprise might magically appear...

       Weather and effort: mostly sunny; 59–72 ºF; winds N->NE at 10 mph; 10->30% cloud cover; very good visibility; 0627 sunrise; 4.25 hours. Observer: Tom Reed.
       Morning Flight Count totals
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)  14
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)  2
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)  346
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)  7
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  54
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  16
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  314
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) 2
Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)  52
Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera)  1
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  38
Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina)  3
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)  561
Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina)  8
Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)  2
Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)  3
Blackburnian Warbler (Setophaga fusca)  3
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  52
Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica)  11
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens)  15   
Prairie Warbler (Setophaga discolor)  1
Black-throated Gray Warbler (Setophaga nigrescens)  1
Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis)  2
warbler sp. (Parulinae sp.)  77 
Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)  1
Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea)  2
Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea)  3
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)  6
Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)  106
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  130
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) 39
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  10

-Tom Reed

[Black-throated Gray Warbler: the warbler that thinks it's a chickadee. This is a very exciting bird to see in Cape May (or anywhere in the East), and this is also the first time one has been seen here in August. Most previous records of the species are from September and October. Photo by Tom Reed.]

Morning Flight – 28 August 2014

A really rallying flight day was given rise by a warm breeze from the north. We reached a diversity of 12 species of warblers, with 111 American Redstart out of 175 total warblers. The second and third most abundant parulids (belonging to Parulidae) were Northern Waterthrush (15) and Cape May Warbler (11). This counter loves seeing good flights of these, often in pairs, in August-- and that's the time for more adults. A moderate display of Eastern Kingbird activity, with 166 counted, was concentrated mostly along the east treeline. Two interesting waterbirds were Wilson's Snipe and a Green-winged Teal that did a lap around the impoundment which included a dip down low over the road.

Nearing the close of August the overall neotropical migrant passage is in full-swing and mid-season. Many more species should be counted in just the next few weeks while some very early birds like Louisiana Waterthrush and Orchard Oriole could be >95% through. Michael O'Brien just returned from a trip to Panama seeing arriving waterthrushes and Yellow Warblers. Yellow Warbler is somewhat like the "Northern Harrier" of the warblers at Morning Flight, being counted much earlier in summer and continuing well into October in small numbers. 

We could be in for SOMETHING OF A FLIGHT comparable or even bigger tomorrow as NW to NE winds continue through the night.

       Weather and time: sunny and humid; 75–77 ºF; winds NNW at 12-15 mph; 5% cloud cover; very good visibility; 0625 sunrise; 3.75 hours.
       Morning Flight Count totals

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)  5
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)  166
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)  2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  1
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  204
Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)  15
Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera)  1
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  7
Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea)  1
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)  111
Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina)  11
Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)  4
Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)  1
Blackburnian Warbler (Setophaga fusca)  1
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  5
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens)  1     male
Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)  1
warbler sp. (Parulinae sp.)  21     a few could be NOWA and YWAR
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)  2
Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)  25
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  4
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  17

Today's full list can be viewed at:

Gallinago (snipe) in the sunglare