Friday, October 7, 2011

October migrants

This is the approach path to "the leaf pile". Sparrows forage for grass seeds along the edge here, and many skulky bird species haunt the thickets down below the pile. We tend to name all of our birding hotspots on campus to simplify describing to each other where we saw something.

October migrants are definitely the sparrows!
Tuesday night October 4th, another storm system was pushed through by strong NW winds, bringing more migrants. This wave of birds was predominantly sparrows.

This week's birds, oh let's just start with the sparrows - all in the family Emberizidae which include juncos, towhees, new world sparrows and old world buntings.

Purple-colored species are those that just arrived this week:
White-throated Sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis
White-crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
Swamp Sparrow, Melospiza georgiana
5. Lincoln's
Sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii
Sparrow, Spizella pusilla
Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
Dark-eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis
sparrow, Ammodramus sp.
10. Eastern Towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus

Monarch Butterflies are still in migration too - on their way to Mexico.

Okay, now back to my usual systematic listing:
Wild Turkey
Canada Goose
Great Blue Heron
Ring-billed Gull
15. Herring Gull
Turkey Vulture

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
20. Sharp-shinned Hawk
American Kestrel

and continuing along the non-passerine birds:
Rock Pigeon
25. Mourning Dove
Monk Parakeet
Downy Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northern flicker
[NO hummingbirds this week]

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula, Lynn's photo - beautiful - thanks!

and now to the passerines:
30. Common Raven
American Crow
Blue Jay
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
35. Black-capped Chickadee
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
House Wren
Red-eyed Vireo
American Robin
40. Swainson's Thrush
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird

Yellow-rumped [Myrtle] Warbler, Dendroica coronata coronata , a male, one of the photos showed a sliver of yellow on the crown, which only the male has. Another great photo Lynn - thanks!

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
45. American Goldfinch
House Finch
Northern Cardinal
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
50. House Sparrow

Looks like our species count has stayed pretty high this week, with a grand total of 50.

This week's casualties, picked up from various glass hazards around campus: Northern Parula (top), Red-eyed Vireo (left), Gray Catbird (right).

We write the collecting info for each bird on a scrap of paper and save it together with the little body in the freezer until we can prepare study skins to contribute to the Peabody Museum's research collection.

Study specimens that I prepared a few weeks ago from window-strike casualties. In front is an Ovenbird, in back a Red-eyed Vireo with a spread wing preparation for the same bird. The pins help keep the skin in position as it dries, and can be removed after a week or so. And now the specimens each have a Peabody Museum data tag which will be tied to the legs.

And I throw this photo in at the end as a little bonus for all of you rodent-lovers! Every day this week, in the mid-afternoon, Tom Parlapiano has seen this albino Gray Squirrel hanging out at the west end of campus.

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