Sunday, August 28, 2011

passerines passing through

Passerine = smallish land-bird. Around here, these would include the last of the Baltimore Orioles and Eastern Kingbirds, species not long for Dane County. Other common nesting (i.e. summer) species, like Indigo Buntings and Eastern Wood-Pewees, will be around for weeks yet.
Yellow Warblers and Purple Martins are pretty much gone already. Recent arrivals include Swainson's Thrushes, Magnolia Warblers and Double-crested Cormorants. Today I saw eight kinds of warblers (mostly Tennessees), a bunch of thrushes (Swainson's, Wood, Veery), several Yellow-throated Vireos, several "female" hummingbirds, a trio of Eastern Kingbirds, three "female" Scarlet Tanagers (with a food-begging Cowbird fledgling), two Green Herons (will be gone within about two weeks) and a road-killed juvenile Sora. The last bird was NOT killed by a bicycle, guaranteed!
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Fall" migration

Birds are heading south! The calendar and thermometer might say it's summer, yet many bird species are already migrating. Sandpipers start in late June (!), passerines (such as warblers, flycatchers and thrushes) in late July/early August. I chanced upon a Black-crowned Night-Heron near the WORT studios on August 8th, and saw Northern Shovelers, a Northern Waterthrush and an Olive-sided Flycatcher the next day. On the 15th of August, in the Arboretum, "pishing" turned up a Swainson's Thrush and a Golden-winged Warbler. A few days later, I ran across a Tennessee Warbler, a Blackburnian Warbler and a "pod" of NINE Common Loons! All of these birds were within easy biking-distance of the Capitol Square. In a few days, we should be handlebars-deep in migrating passerines in Madison. If you're interested in bike-birding, be sure to contact me to see what tours are coming up: