Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spring surveys: Week 7

This past week saw a reduction in the numbers and diversity of birds, with 80 species recorded on campus. Daily species totals ranged from 38 to 58, with an average of 51. Nearly every day had wind directions from the north or east, which are not conducive to good migratory flights. As might be expected this time of year, the trees are fully leafed out, more female migrants are present, and the combination of hard-to-see and not-singing made for a challenge.

Of the 18 warbler species recorded in the past week, the highlight was a female Connecticut Warbler on 26 May. Unfortunately, it was seen briefly and not relocated. The dominant
warblers are the mid- and late season varieties: American Redstart, Wilson's Warbler, Canada Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, and Blackpoll Warbler, although numbers are small.

The other "good bird" was the third spring 2009 record for Summer Tanager, this one a female on 23 May. It was also seen briefly before disappearing.

Kingbirds have finally been on the increase, but small Empidonax flycatchers are still scarce. Both species of cuckoos have been seen this week, with the first Yellow-billed Cuckoos arriving on 22 May. On 25 May, three were seen together -- and one was carrying a stick, perhaps preparing to build a nest.

There are still a handful of Swainson's Thrushes being found every day. Other lingering migrants include Black-throated Green Warbler (one heard today) and White-crowned Sparrow (an individual recorded nearly daily up through yesterday).

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