Saturday, June 7, 2014

Migration Observations At Your Local Patch?

 The month May is prime time for warblers and many other Spring migrants in Connecticut. Each year I like to keep tabs on what changes and what remains the same in terms of birds I find at my local patch. Most of these observations are subjective because it is limited to such a small area but here are a few things I've noticed this year.

The Chipping Sparrow is an Under-appreciated Migrant: Most of the Chipping Sparrows leave Connecticut during the winter months and return in April. Their song sounds like a mechanical trill and I've noticed birders are disappointed when they discover they've found a Chipping Sparrow instead of the similar-sounding Pine Warbler. It seems they are numerous in my area as always and I hope it remains that way. One thing I like about Chipping Sparrows is that they allow you to get close to them before flying off, especially when they're picking through bits of gravel on the ground.
 Prairie Warblers like this one and Blue-winged Warblers continue to be numerous around my area,especially near power lines but I have not seen a Chestnut-sided Warbler in town for the last 2 years.  I wonder why they've stopped coming here? I also noticed a decline in the numbers of Black-throated Green Warblers and Northern Parula that I've found this year. There's been years when it seems they were singing everywhere but only came across a few of each this season. I've yet to find a single Black-throated Blue Warbler in the area but  Canada Warblers seem to be breeding again in Meshomasic Forest. Fortunately, American Redstart, Yellow Warblers, and Common Yellowthroats  still seem to be plentiful.
The Louisiana Waterthrush and Northern Waterthrush also continue to do well. I only saw this one for a brief moment but believe it was a northern based on its song.
 Orchard orioles are only found in select locations around Connecticut but I was pleased to see they have returned to Machimoodus Park once again this year and Hooded Warblers which are also picky about their habitat returned to our local Hurd Park.
It seems flycatchers are having a good year. I counted 6 Least Flycatchers along one trail near the reservoir, numerous Willow Flycatchers in the meadows, lots of Eastern Wood-pewees, several Acadian Flycatchers spread out in the area, and a Great-crested Flycatcher (above) at every corner. Surprisingly, I've seen fewer Eastern Phoebes than usual. They're the ones that I usually see the most of. There are also a good number of Yellow-billed Cuckoos around this so far.

So those are a few causal observations of what I've been seeing at my local patch.

 Have you noticed any changes in what you've been seeing or not seeing at your local patch?


troutbirder said...

I could write a long monograph on that question, Larry. Just a couple of notes.... Common 20 years ago. Now very rare here southeastern Minnesota: red headed woodpeckers, purple martins, pheasants, meadowlarks, bobolinks and many other songbirds. Very little prairie and wetland left. Ethanol is the driving force...:(

Cathy said...

You've probably heard about my patch in northwest Ohio.
I birded this area when there was no boardwalk. It's become so hyped that many old timers won't go there anymore. Those good old days were really something.

Cathy said...


Your photos are delightful :)

Larry said...

troutbirder-I've heard that the whole ethanol thing is a waste of time and money but they just can't admit they were wrong.

Cathy-I'm sure I will soon be talking about the good old days but it would be nice if the future was the good old days.