Morning Flight, 12-14 October 2016

The last few days have been interesting and today was a show-stopper of a mid-October flight.  Beginning with today's highlights, the Morning Flight Project, counted by Tom Reed, had it's strongest showing, by far and so far, of later season warblers, with season-high counts of Blackpoll (867) and Yellow-rumped Warblers (3270).  There will almost assuredly be future days, till the end of the Morning Flight season on 31 October,  of much higher Yellow-rump totals but Blackpoll Warbler may have reached its impressive peak of the season with today's high count.  A great diversity abounded today, and the wind direction (north to northwest) and wind speed (10-15 mph) helped create an exciting viewing experience with many birds sweeping through the local count area low and fast.  Other highlights from today included: 1 Blue-headed Vireo, the first of the season's White-breasted Nuthatch with 8, and 2 Vesper Sparrows.

The two previous days, Wednesday and Thursday, featured interesting, higher-altitude flights that traveled both northbound and southbound.  This behavior was common to many of the warblers, finches, and blackbirds for these two days.  There is usually an observable difference between northbound birds that may individually skip back to the south (even multiple times) after some time and the existence of two independent tracks in opposite directions which often happen high up and with a more chaotic, 'birds are flying all willy-nilly' kind of behavior.  It definitely appears that wind intensity and direction influence these tendencies.  Wednesday was a significantly stronger flight than Thursday and had some stronger counts of Purple Finch (35) and Rusty Blackbird (36).  We will look forward to late-October and November for potentially increasing flights of these species and much more.

Lists for the past days:

And today's awesome flight:

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