Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall Migration for October

Thursday October 31, 2013

Black-and-White Warbler. Photo by Bob Pelkey
The local bird population is now reflecting our typical winter mix of species. The House Wrens and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have arrived. Along with Gray Catbirds, Northern Harriers, Eastern Phoebe, Blue-headed Vireo, Wilson's Snipe, American Kestrels and notably large numbers of Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers. The American White Pelicans and Dunlins have arrived on the shore along with all the expected shorebirds. Common Loons and Red-breasted Mergansers will arrive in a few more weeks. Bald eagles and Ospreys will be nesting soon and our winter ducks and sparrows will be along soon as well.
So with the arrival of cooler days we are seeing the end of the neo-tropic fall bird migration and we can reflect on what we encountered in our corner of Florida for October.  We did have some very good days.  Over all it wasn't great, but we did have some samplings of the neo-tropical birds heading south. we did have a few larger than usual sightings of on Golden-winged Warblers ( a nemesis bird for me ), Nashville Warblers and Swanson's Warblers.
Northern Waterthrush. Photo by Bob Pelkey
Probably the most commonly seen warblers seen here were Ovenbirds, Common Yellowthroats, Northern Waterthrush, Worm-eating Warbler, American Redstart, Black-and-White Warble, Yellow-throated Warbler, Northern Parula and Black-throated Green Warbler. we also had samplings of Bay-breasted warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Blue-winged warbler ( rare this season ), and Hooded Warbler ( also rare this season).
Eastern Kingbirds were passing through and a Western Kingbird and a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher were seen at the Sanibel Lighthouse.  Other samplings of neo-tropical passing through included Eastern Wood-Peewee, Bobolinks, Acadian Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, a Philadelphia Vireo (seen on Sanibel), Blue Grosbeak, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, Broad-winged Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Barn swallows, Cliff Swallows and Swanson's Thrush.
Short-tailed Hawks have become more numerous and can be often found soaring over Six-Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. Swallows have thinned out, but it won't be long till thousands of Tree Swallows return to entertain us with their swirling flocks moving about as a living tornado of birds. As for sparrows we mostly see Savannah, with a few Grasshopper, Chipping and Swamp Sparrows. Just this past Monday I was fortunate to  observe, near Bunche Beach, Nelson's (279) and a Saltmarsh Sparrow (280) located by local Master birder Vince McGrath. These were Lifers for me and very rare to our area. Thanks Vince.

Best Places for birding the Fall Migration in Lee County are
Six-mile Cypress Slough Preserve
Sanibel Lighthouse
Bunche Beach Preserve

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fall Migration

Monday, September 30th

The quality and quantity of the Fall Migration action is very weather dependent in our corner of Florida. And the winds and weather fronts have been very favorable for the birds to make their dash to the tropics. With the conclusion of September, I would have to say that migration here has been so-so. Still have a few more weeks to go and we should have some good opportunities yet.


Northern Waterthrush on the boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Photo by Bob Pelkey
I have spent many hours birding one of our local hot spots - Six-Mile Cypress Slough Preserve -  this past month. Probably walked twenty-five miles on the boardwalk listening for Tufted Titmice, because our best results for seasonal migrants were in finding mixed flocks of warblers, gnatcatchers and titmice.


Right now Six-mile Cypress Slough has been featuring Ovenbirds, Northern Waterthrushes, Black-and-White Warblers, Yellow-Throated Warblers, Common Yellow-Throats, Prairie Warblers, Northern Parula,, Palm Warblers (just arriving), and  American Redstarts. Other migrants seen sporadically include Swanson's Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Tennessee Warbler, Veery, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Swanson's Thrush, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Summer Tanager, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Red-eyed Vireo. Missing so far as I know have been any sightings of Hooded Warblers, Kentucky Warbler or Yellow-Throated Vireos.  Short-tailed Hawks have returned and have been seen regularly soaring above the preserve. A lot of variety here but numbers have been very low so far.


Sanibel Lighthouse and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary are addition hotspots not to be ignored in the coming days.