They’re on the move anyways

In spite of the persistent easterly and northeasterly winds, birds have been moving through the area during these first few days of October. Daily capture rates have picked up and the diversity has been interesting. We have finally seen some species that we normally capture in mid-September, such as this First-of-Season Chestnut-sided warbler banded today.

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Chestnut-sided warbler

We have not banded a Golden-winged warbler for several years so this female was a treat. She is also trending towards the Lawrence’s warbler type; the recessive color pattern  created when Blue-winged and Golden-winged warblers hybridize.

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In keeping with the theme of yellow, we had an influx of Common yellowthroats and Cape May warblers this week. The 15 Cape Mays banded since Oct 4 exceed the season total for most years. Below are adult males of both species.

Here is an example of the species composition we have been seeing lately. There are still good numbers of birds typically associated with September (Worm-eating warbler, Red-eyed vireo, etc.) with a few of the later migrants just beginning to trickle down. Gray catbirds have been scarce up to this point.

Oct 8 Total:  59 birds of 14 species

  1. Common yellowthroat: 14
  2. American redstart: 9
  3. Black-throated blue warbler: 8
  4. Ovenbird: 5
  5. Red-eyed vireo: 4
  6. Northern parula: 4
  7. Cape May warbler: 4
  8. Black and white warbler: 4
  9. Blue-gray gnatcatcher: 2
  10. White-eyed vireo: 1
  11. Golden-winged warbler: 1
  12. Magnolia warbler: 1
  13. Blackpoll warbler: 1
  14. Painted bunting: 1
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Wilson’s warbler

There has finally been a change in the weather of sorts as this week’s Hurricane Michael passes by us in the Gulf today, intensifying on his way to the Florida Panhandle. Winds have come around to the southeast and south, and a lot of the migration along the Atlantic coast seems to have paused for the moment. We have had 20 to 30% recaptured birds for the last several days, an indication that they are waiting for better conditions to continue south. New arrivals are joining them to wait for the rain south of us to move away. There may be a front coming into the northern to central part of the state later this week as Michael rolls off to the northeast, and there could be a big push of birds coming down the peninsula by next weekend. Or the high pressure over the Atlantic coast will re-assert itself. We will see!

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