Monday, September 08, 2008

Fall Migration's First Wave

In fall, male scarlet tanagers lose their bright scarlet color and look similar to females.

This morning I could tell that today was going to be one of those autumn days. I KNOW I should have stayed home to watch birds.

Glancing out the window on the way to take Liam to the school bus, I saw two magnolia warblers, a flicking tail of an American redstart, and I heard the whisper song of a solitary vireo. Scarlet tanagers and eastern kingbirds played tag on the powerlines over my neighbor's cow pasture. Flights of chimney swifts twittered along our ridge. A band of northern flickers flashed up out of the driveway. Young American robins in various stages of spottedness squealed at each other as they landed in the cherry tree.

Mid-September is the birdiest time of year at our farm. All the resident birds and their offspring are about. The sky is peppered with migrants and their flight and contact calls reach our ears from all directions.

I think today was the first big wave day of the fall—at least for southeastern Ohio. Every year I plead with the migrant warblers to hang around for just a few weeks more so I can count them on The Big Sit day (October 12, 2008). By the time the Big Sit rolls around, we're sorting through the tailings of migration.

Yep. This is the BEST time of year for birding here. Maybe I'll stay home tomorrow....

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