Morning Flight – 3 September 2014

A development in the weather department dropped migrants down our way on the dawn NNW winds. Tom Reed, stationed at the hawkwatch, reported to me early on that warblers and Bobolink flocks were moving high and to the south of Higbee Beach. This key piece of coordinated observation might well explain why the dike saw very little activity until 30-45 minutes after sunrise. American Redstart lead the charge and dominated the warbler tally, and often showed in small groups approaching from a few hundred feet up or just over the treetops. There was a pleasant mixture of birds following a variety of behavioral urges. Hummingbirds chased quite a few species of migrants today. A sudden appearance by the largest group of Common Grackle yet this fall (60) caused the trees to shed their treetop Eastern Kingbird assortment and the two species mixed and mingled. With the high cloud ceiling perhaps some portion of the flight (Bobolink especially) went super high and undetected.

It was great to see Clay Taylor, with Swarovski Optik, and enjoy this morning's birding together with our Swarovski binoculars, scope, and scope phone adapter.

       Weather and time: sunny and humid; 74–75 ºF; winds NNW at 8-10 mph; 60% cloud cover; very good visibility; 0630 sunrise; 3.25 hours.
       Morning Flight Count totals

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)  5
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)  1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris)  1
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)  58
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  7
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  1
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  6
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  74
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  67
Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)  7
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  2
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)  83
Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina)  1
Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)  2
Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)  3
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  2
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens)  1
Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)  1
warbler sp. (Parulinae sp.)  4
Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea)  3
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)  3
Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)  35
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  1
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  5
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  1
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  2

Today's full list can be viewed at:

Blue-winged Teal truckin' up the bay

You can't get enough mockingbirds at Morning Flight!

House Finch is an interesting case in migration. Eastern birds are introduced from the west. Is short-medium-distance migration of this species more pronounced in the East?

Icterids, like this Red-winged Blackbird, also exhibit a fascinating variety of movement strategies.

You'd swear there was a turkey there yesterday...
(Photos by: Glen Davis)

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