Monday, September 8, 2008

Fall Migration's First Wave

Monday, September 8, 2008
In fall, male scarlet tanagers lose their bright scarlet color and look similar to females.

This morning I could tell that today was going to be one of those autumn days. I KNOW I should have stayed home to watch birds.

Glancing out the window on the way to take Liam to the school bus, I saw two magnolia warblers, a flicking tail of an American redstart, and I heard the whisper song of a solitary vireo. Scarlet tanagers and eastern kingbirds played tag on the powerlines over my neighbor's cow pasture. Flights of chimney swifts twittered along our ridge. A band of northern flickers flashed up out of the driveway. Young American robins in various stages of spottedness squealed at each other as they landed in the cherry tree.

Mid-September is the birdiest time of year at our farm. All the resident birds and their offspring are about. The sky is peppered with migrants and their flight and contact calls reach our ears from all directions.

I think today was the first big wave day of the fall—at least for southeastern Ohio. Every year I plead with the migrant warblers to hang around for just a few weeks more so I can count them on The Big Sit day (October 12, 2008). By the time the Big Sit rolls around, we're sorting through the tailings of migration.

Yep. This is the BEST time of year for birding here. Maybe I'll stay home tomorrow....


On September 8, 2008 at 12:02 PM animtreebird said...

Very beautiful bird. Nice photo. I take photos of birds in South India. :)))

On September 8, 2008 at 1:20 PM Rondeau Ric said...

Thought you were going to start a big stand/squat/party in September when you actually have birds on the hill.

On September 8, 2008 at 7:03 PM Kathi said...

You're showing your age, Bill. "Solitary Vireo?" I thought it had a name change recently. Blue-headed, maybe?

Or, are you protesting the name game, like I do with Rufous-sided (aka "Eastern") Towhee?

~Kathi, luvin' the non-scarlet Scarlet Tanager photo

On September 8, 2008 at 8:08 PM Anonymous said...

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On September 9, 2008 at 6:40 AM Jayne said...

I have an odd question Bill. Do you think they are more visible now, in greater species numbers because of all the hurricane activity in the Gulf? Can birds sense the pressure changes and think, "Geez Louise, we'd best get moving!" Just wondering? And, how will this very active hurricane season affect migration numbers?

On September 9, 2008 at 5:31 PM Bill of the Birds said...

Yeah KatDoc, you got me! I cannot remember blue-headed vireo.

Ric: Yes I would if I were ever home in Sept...stoopid travel schedule.

Jayne: Don't think the hurricanes are affecting our birds up here. But one never knows....

On September 10, 2008 at 10:09 PM Mary said...

I'd stay home, too. As a matter of fact, I'd take a few weeks vacation! It's very different here.

On September 13, 2008 at 3:02 AM Unknown said...

How sweet.. very lovely photograph ..have you done any professional course in photography.



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