Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fall migration begins (July 3rd)

Two successive weekend visits to Brigantine NWR turned up mostly the same species both times with minor variations and one embellishment: two small flocks of shorebirds on July 3rd. Forster's Terns were numerous, as were greenheads. On 6/28 two Common Terns were seen at the south-eastern sluice where I often observe them, with one Common Tern particularly cooperative for photos and video. Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows were also there, as were two or three pairs of territorial Willets apparently fighting over one small grassy island.

On 7/3 the Common Terns were absent at low tide. Further around there were Short-billed Dowitchers, peep sp (probably Least), a Caspian Tern and a Bald Eagle that flushed the lot of them. The shorebird flocks were the first evidence that fall migration - at least for shorebirds - was starting, although I had started to see small icterid flocks accumulating for their early fall migration and Bobolinks were reported at Cape May on 7/8, presumably also southbound.

Birds are still breeding, however, with juvenile-sounding noises coming from Chipping Sparrow and Northern Cardinal nests in my yard, and a House Wren apparently nesting there (second brood ?).

Cumulative species list from 6/28 and 7/3 Brigantine visits:
American Black Duck
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Bald Eagle
Peregrine Falcon
American Oystercatcher
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Marsh Wren
Common Yellowthroat
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow
Seaside Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
American Goldfinch

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