Morning Flight, 20-28 October 2016

Late Fall, and the So.Many.Birds CMBO Festival was in effect, and the morning flight returns were solid, but not crazy huge, and very interesting, as always!  

Day by day:

10/20/16    Moderate east winds, seasonably warm, surprise migration after 4-5 days of relative migrational inactivity, the second highest songbird count of the season as of 28 Oct.
985 songbirds were counted, and rarities abounded with 2 (maybe 1 but both flew north 20 min apart) Western Kingbirds, a Yellow-headed Blackbird, and still a Bobolink.  Yellow-rumped Warbler numbered up to 4947 north and 725 south. An early, high, and to-the-east southbound flight largely preceded a lower and dispersed northbound flight.  Blackbirds made up for the rest of the majority of the flight.

10/21/16   Cloudy with light east winds, seasonably warm. 1263 of the 1633 (77.3%) songbirds counted were southbound Tree Swallows.  A very light later-October flight with representative species like American Pipit, Purple Finch, and Rusty Blackbird occurred.

10/22/16    Very heavy northwest wind and constant light rain, little signs of direct liftoff on the radar.  5 Mourning Dove, 2 Dark-eyed Junco, that's it !!

10/23/16    A heavy west wind, but with rain to the north overnight that seemed to halt a songbird takeoff in those areas, seasonably warm and clear.  A light flight but with good finds of Cave Swallow and Lapland Longspur.

10/24/16    A moderate west-northwest wind and cool temps, high pressure, northwest-ish winds continued but to not cause a large magnitude flight.  1382  songbirds passed mostly north, and some to the south.  There was an impressive northward flight of Sharp-shinned Hawk with 329. A Horned Lark landed for 10 minutes on the impoundments.

10/25/16    clear and cool with moderate northwest winds, and with a large nocturnal radar noticed, creating good conditions for a classic late-October morning at the Higbee dike. 5 experienced counters/observers help reign in a fantastic diversity including Brown Creeper and Baltimore Oriole.  It was the largest flight of the season as of 28 Oct. There was a much huger flight happening out to the east of 100,000-200,000 songbirds, mostly northbound American Robins.  This was noticed from ~1,000-2,500 meters east of the counting sight and was estimated consistently through the first two hours after sunrise.  There will be more discussion of this and other cool features of the season's flights in upcoming Morning Flight blog posts!

10/26/16    light northeast winds and the chilly climate may have halted a potentially larger flight.  Over 2,400 songbirds were counted and 2 late Cape May Warblers, flying together, was a nice highlight.

10/27/16    light eastern winds (ESE) continued along with the cold temps and similar diversity and numbers to yesterday happened, more of the flight was to the south than to the north.  More discussion of this effect will also appear in upcoming posts.

10/28/16    calm northwest wind with a clear and cool atmosphere, but not so many birds were on the radar last night, and the very light flight today seemed to confirm this radar prediction.

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