Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall Migrants & Light Tribute

I took a break from blogging for a little while and will try to bring you up to date in the next couple of postings.

During the week surrounding September 11th conditions were perfect for a big flight of southbound songbird migrants. In two days of birding in Prospect Park I tallied 75 species of birds. Among that number were 20 species of wood-warbler:

Blue-winged Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler Chestnut-sided Warbler Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Pine Warbler Prairie Warbler Blackpoll Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson's Warbler and Canada Warbler.

That's nearly as high a diversity of birds as during a busy Spring migration. It is this concentration of night migrating birds that had conservation organizations, such as New York City Audubon Society, concerned about the 911 Tribute in Light memorial (above is a photo taken from my roof in Brooklyn). During their night flight birds are drawn to the bright column of light, unable to navigate out of it. Employees of NYCAS monitor the lights for signs of birds within the light. Wired Science published this article about a flock of 10,000 birds that became disoriented and trapped in the lights.

Migrating sparrows and raptors hadn't yet made a big push through the area, but warblers were seen in very good numbers. Magnolia Warblers seemed to be the most abundant species with American Redstarts coming in a close second. Other warblers observed in good numbers were Blackpoll Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Ovenbird and Common Yellowthroat. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were making their final push south and a nice mix of swallow species were seen swooping back and forth over Prospect Lake, snatching up insects. Another nice sighting was that of a Philadelphia Vireo. This scarce species is very similar in markings to the Tennessee Warbler, but among other features, the bills are structurally very different. Here is a photo comparison from the Powermill Bird Banding Station.

One bird that has popped up a few time in Prospect Park over this period has been the Yellow-breasted Chat. Unfortunately, it was never when I was around. Chats are usually skulking birds that show themselves when THEY want. I've never said to myself, "I think I'll go look for a chat today" and actually found one. There is still a chance that I can locate one this year as they are half-hardy songbirds that sometimes hang around until very late in the year. I won't hold my breath, though.

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Location: Prospect Park
Observation date: 9/9/10
Number of species: 63

Double-crested Cormorant (2.)
Green Heron (2.)
Osprey (3.)
Red-tailed Hawk (2.)
American Kestrel
Chimney Swift (2.)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (5.)
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker (2.)
Empidonax sp. (2.)
Warbling Vireo (3.)
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo (5.)
Tree Swallow
Bank Swallow (2.)
Barn Swallow (2.)
Cliff Swallow (2.)
Carolina Wren (2.)
House Wren (2.)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Veery (6.)
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush (3.)
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing (7.)
Blue-winged Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula (2.)
Magnolia Warbler (2.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler (2.)
Black-and-white Warbler (2.)
American Redstart (5.)
Ovenbird (7.)
Northern Waterthrush (5.)
Common Yellowthroat (8.)
Wilson's Warbler
Canada Warbler
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (3.)
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird (6.)
Baltimore Oriole (4.)
American Goldfinch (2.)

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker (6.), Hairy Woodpecker (2.), Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

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Location: Prospect Park
Observation date: 9/11/10
Number of species: 60

Osprey
Red-tailed Hawk
Monk Parakeet
Chimney Swift (3.)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (2.)
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee (2.)
Empidonax sp. (4.)
Great Crested Flycatcher (4.)
Warbling Vireo (6.)
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo (12.)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (4.)
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Veery (10.)
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula (5.)
Yellow Warbler (4.)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (6.)
Magnolia Warbler (35.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (4.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (3.)
Black-throated Green Warbler (4.)
Blackburnian Warbler
Pine Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler (10.)
Black-and-white Warbler (12.)
American Redstart (25.)
Ovenbird (13.)
Northern Waterthrush (5.)
Common Yellowthroat (11.)
Wilson's Warbler
Canada Warbler (6.)
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (4.)
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
Mute Swan, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker (2.), Downy Woodpecker (3.), Hairy Woodpecker (2.), Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, House Sparrow

1 comment:

Pamela said...

several chats nest each summer where I walk. What a noisy bunch they are. It is quiet there now.

Today I saw a lone white-faced Ibis in a flooded field outside of town, sharing the bounty with a busy bunch of dowitchers.

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