Date: 8/26/17 8:52 am From: Geoff Malosh <pomarine...> Subject: Fall migration - Allegheny, nocturnal counts + Sewickley today
Fall migration is well underway here in Allegheny County. Since the passage of a cold front and the shift to persistent north winds three days ago, nocturnal migration has picked up considerably each night since. I have not yet gone through last night's recordings but do have the following counts of nocturnal flight calls tallied from the previous two nights. August 25 was easily the better flight and included a record number of Scarlet Tanager calls for this location and a great push of Wood Thrush.
Aug 24, midnight to civil twilight (6:12am): Veery (2), Swainson's Thrush (6, early), Ovenbird (8), American Redstart (12), Cape May Warbler (1), Black-throated Blue Warbler (9), Scarlet Tanager (15), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (4), Indigo Bunting (1), "zeep" (64), "double-up" (22), Parula-type (7), unclassified (20).
Aug 25, midnight to civil twilight (6:13am): Killdeer (1), Black-billed Cuckoo (1, rare in fall), Wood Thrush (92), Veery (9), Swainson's Thrush (9), Ovenbird (19), American Redstart (10), Black-and-white Warbler (8), Cape May Warbler (8), Black-throated Blue Warbler (5), Scarlet Tanager (89), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (2), Bobolink (1), "zeep" (98), "double-up" (24), Parula-type (12), unclassified (29).
(As a reminder the above numbers are the counts of calls, which does not necessarily equate to the number of individual birds.)
This morning Sewickley Park was very active with several pockets of activity in various locations. Red-eyed Vireos were ubiquitous, including a few begging juveniles. Migrant warblers included Blackburnian (8+ ... they seemed to be everywhere), Chestnut-sided (3), Black-throated Green (3), Magnolia (4), American Redstart (5), Black-and-white (1). Among locals, there were 3 Ovenbirds, a singing Yellow-throated Vireo, and a singing Cerulean Warbler; the last was interesting because I had a singing Cerulean Warbler last year on this exact date, and in the exact same location in the park. (It's late for them still to be singing around here.) Empidonax flycatchers were also numerous, and included a Yellow-belled (very closely studied), 1-2 Acadian, one "Traill's", and 3-4 more left unidentified. A Barred Owl rounded out a nice morning of 43 species.
There were a few areas where there seemed to be lots of birds present but which were just impossible to see, which is common this time of year. One thing I like to do in this situation is put the Carolina Wrens to work. There were several family groups of wrens around, one of which was in deep woods but close to the trail. Pishing fall migrant warblers out of the tops of trees is very often a pointless endeavor, but if there are Carolina Wrens around, I have had great success over the years by pishing at the wrens instead. They go crazy, of course, and get ramped up with scolding calls, and *that* in turn gets the attention of all the birds nearby foraging high in thick foliage. At one spot this morning this trick paid off with a bevy of migrants, including some very curious Ovenbirds, Black-throated Green Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Hooded Warbler, and Scarlet Tanager, all which materialized out of nowhere close to eye level as they came down to see what the wrens were fussing about.