Fall Migration Monitoring: August 27

Hatch-year Red-eyed Vireo

The north winds brought an abundance of birds this week, and we have been enjoying the mixed flocks of warblers, vireos, chickadees, flycatchers and nuthatches. Only a fraction have been caught in our nets though, as most of these birds have been staying high in the trees. Some of us are suffering from "warbler neck" but it is worth it!

Hatch-year male Wilson's Warbler

Black-billed Cuckoos have been seen frequently this month in the vicinity of the banding station. Yesterday we were in for a surprise when not one, but two cuckoos were spotted together. After the first bird was found, our attention was drawn to the motion of fluttering wings from behind some leaves. Sitting on the same branch was a juvenile cuckoo begging for food! Along with sightings of Black-billed Cuckoos througout the summer, this is a good indication that the species has bred at TTP.

After weeks of a Merlin hanging around the spit, we finally caught sight of one at the station yesterday. It was actively hunting the very flock of warblers that we were watching! It kept zooming past, swooping down low and giving us excellent looks. What an impressive bird to observe, with such speed and agility!

Thursday as we were going over the day's observations, a hawk flew past the lab. We all dropped what we were doing and ran out to see what it was. Quite unexpectedly, it turned out to be a Red-shouldered Hawk, a species very rarely seen at TTP. Luckily it was quite close and afforded excellent looks by 5 observers, all who saw the trademark windows, dark primary tips, narrowly banded tail, shape, etc. that distinguished it from any other potential raptor.