Date: 9/10/19 5:31 pm From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...> Subject: Big migration at Devil's Den State Park
BEST BIRDS this morning at Devil’s Den State Park (in order of finding): Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-billed Cuckoo, and Olive-sided Flycatcher. Vivek Govind Kumar and I were in the park starting at entrance on Highway 170, elevation 1755 feet. From there we made several stops before reaching center of the park at Lee Creek, elevation 1014 feet. This gave us the chance to sample birds in predominantly hardwoods from the top to the bottom of the Boston Mountains section of the Ozarks. Not many visitors in the Den. We had migration to ourselves.
It was a big day for Yellow-billed Cuckoos (11). The bird with a huge caterpillar at Yellow Rock overlook started-out as another, but then we got a clean look at its tail. No bold, white spots! Had to be a Black-billed Cuckoo. At last we did see the black bill, too.
For warblers this morning we identified Tennessee, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, American Redstart, and Hooded. Four vireo species: White-eyed, Yellow-throated, Philadelphia, and Red-eyed. Lots of singing especially from White-eyed and Yellow-throated. Quite a few individuals of both tanager species.
Over approximately 4-hours we found most of the birds in 3 or 4 foraging flocks. This started out right off at 7:15 at the park entrance. A little quiet at first, but then we within a few minutes we were surrounded. There’s little as bold in nature as a male Baltimore Oriole, in the tippy-top of an oak, strongly illuminated by rising sun, background pure blue.
We hit some kind of a peak at entrance to Camp Area A. At first all we saw was a single American Robin. We walked about half the loop without finding anything new. Decided to back track and move on. Then where before was a single robin, bushes and trees suddenly full of migrants. Standing in one spot, we kept bins busy for an hour. We picked out 27 species, then again, all gone … “gone with the wind,” except wind is from the south, where many of these birds are heading. Vivek collected eBird lists all morning. Here’s the list from this one stop: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59672931.
Finally, any trip to the Den is remiss sans a “Fall color report.” The canopy remains mostly green, but with enough leaves falling to give birders in pursuit of migrants many a fake-out thrill as leaves fall that were first thought to be warblers. One of the first trees to turn, Blackgum, has some leaves scarlet as a nesting tanager, though all of this morning’s Scarlet birds were yellow with black wings.