Monday, October 3, 2011

September wrap-up, oh, and another new bird

Common Raven in flight. Lynn's photo. We watched two of them during one lunch-hour, hanging out in their favorite spot - on top of C-32 at West Campus. At one point, one of the pair returned with a prey item, and we soon saw feathers floating from the rooftop. Bet there's all kinds of vertebrate remains up there!

For the final week of September our birding efforts were hampered by a few rainy days, but we managed to keep the species count high. Or rather, the birds kept on coming, and we were lucky to have lunchtimes available to get out for some birding.

Bird list for the week of September 26 - 30th, 2011.

Wild Turkey
Canada Goose
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
5. Killdeer

Lynn's photo, at some distance, and through glass, of this week's new bird:

Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularius name links to Cornell University's All About Birds page on this species - scroll down to images at the bottom of page and look for the bird in non-breeding plumage - that's who dropped by early Monday morning last week to pay us a visit!
This is the first member of family Scolopacidae for our West Campus birding list. Our resident Killdeer, although we group it with sandpipers in a general way, is a plover, family Charadriidae.

And a good push of migrating raptors came through on the post-rain windiness. Few in numbers but high in diversity:
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
10. Broad-winged Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
15. Turkey Vulture

Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Downy Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
20. Northern Flicker
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Yeah, here's one of our very own ravens!! such a nice ravenesque profile! Lynn's photo

Common Raven
American Crow
Fish Crow
25. Blue Jay

Eastern Phoebe
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Red-eyed Vireo
30. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Black-capped Chickadee
House Wren

Palm Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
35. Blackpoll Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Northern Waterthrush

Asters, goldenrod, mugwort, ragweed - fall greenery in every unmowed corner of campus.

American Robin
Gray Catbird
40. Northern Mockingbird

American Goldfinch
House Finch
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting

45. Song Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow

Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
50. Red-winged Blackbird

House Sparrow

Fifty-one species. Yeah, another fantastic week of migration activity over our hilltop here at West Campus. After the first few weeks of October, most of the raptors and warblers will no longer make our list but the diversity of sparrow species will hopefully continue to climb. And then.... the winter finches!!

Where's our Purple Finch, and our Pine Siskin? our Red-breasted Nuthatch and our White-winged Crossbill. Okay - which of those four species have we NOT seen yet at West Campus?

ha! - we birders ALways have something good to look forward to!!

As the leaves thin out in September, we notice more and more nests around campus. This one has a pretty high percentage of plastic in the construction - we'll do some research and see if we can match to the species, but I know that Kingbirds and some other flycatchers will use plastic, as a substitute for a more traditional building material: snakeskin! [Lynn's photo]

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