May 18 - May 24
An American Bittern flew over the Observatory on the 21st as did at least two Green Herons. The following day a Black-crowned Night Heron flew over and both Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets are also being seen regularly. A flock of about 80 Brant flew past on the 22nd and at Traverse, 6 Black Scoter were seen towards Timber Island. About 20 Surf Scoter were off the northern cliffs including several brightly-coloured males. Sharp-shinned Hawks have been rare this spring so one in the net on the 24th was a surprise. Occasional Black-billed Cuckoos are being seen and a Common Nighthawk was found near the harbour and was heard booming. All the regular flycatchers are now being seen and should increase in numbers in the next week, Vireos are always one of the last to arrive and this week there have been lots of Philadelphia Vireos around and Red-eyed Vireos are starting to increase. The first Red-breasted Nuthatch of the spring turned up in a net on the 24th but White-breasted Nuthatches have not been reported here since the 9th. A very late Brown Creeper was banded on the 24th and the pair of E. Bluebirds are showing up every so often (but where are they nesting?). Cedar Waxwings are putting on a good show this year and over 80 have been banded so far which puts them at their third highest total since 2001. 27 species of warbler were found this week; the only regular species not seen so far is Hooded Warbler. Bay-breasted Warblers continue in very good numbers with over 50 banded so far and lots being seen in the bushes each day. The House Sparrow that was banded on the 16th is still hanging out around the buildings, and a Black Vulture was found sitting with several other vultures in the pouring rain just up the road from the observatory on the 19th. Just outside out of the area – a Lark Bunting was seen and photographed on the 17th at Gravelly Bay Road and the Chuck-wills-widow has been heard again on Hill Top Road. The Observatory has now banded over 3000 birds this spring of 88 species
If you haven't sponsored anyone at PEPtBO for this year's Birdathon its still not too late. Please choose i of the teams as every $$ counts towards sustaining us for another year. (See teams HERE)
May 11 - May 17
Migration is now in full swing with warblers everywhere; 29 species have been seen so far in the National Wildlife Area with only Connecticut and Hooded missing from the list of expected ones, (but we'll take any others as well). The 15th saw the first really big fall of birds this spring with 25 species of warbler present including a Yellow-breasted Chat that was singing (albeit briefly) at Traverse in the evening.The rain arrived just at dawn and continued all morning and there had been a lot of birds moving on the radar all night. Both the banding area and Traverse had birds everywhere, most common where Black-throated Blue, Cape May, Bay-breasted, Myrtle, Chestnut-sided and Yellow. The observatory area alone had 25 Black-throated Blues between the buildings and the start of the nets. Lots of Wilson's were present at Traverse and the first Canadas arrived. Also present were 15+ Scarlet Tanagers and several Orchard Orioles. A Common Nighthawk was found near the net lanes sitting on an exposed branch. A female Cerulean Warbler was photographed at Traverse on the 17th and the first Blackpoll Warbler was found on the 16th. The Harlequin Ducks are occasionally seen, but are usually well out next to Timber Island. The 16th saw a House Sparrow banded and it was still present the next day. Indigo Buntings are being found more easily with some areas having 2-3 males present at a time. Swainsion's Thrush and Veery are staring to show but not in any numbers yet. All the common vireos are now easily found and the flycatchers are now coming in with Pewee's, Least, Traill's and Kingbirds calling everywhere. A Pileated Woodpecker flew over on the 13th and a Red-headed Woodpecker was found at Traverse the same day. The first Black-billed Cuckoo was seen on the 15th and Peregrines have been seen on several occasions. The suspected breeding of Common Ravens in the NWA was confirmed on the 17th when a nest with a bird standing on it was found on one of the cliff faces; this is a new nesting record for the NWA. If you haven't sponsored anyone at the Observatory for this years Birdathon its not too late! Sponsor one of our great teams listed on the Home Page.
This week 132 species were observed at the Observatory with over 700 birds banded. We have now banded 84 species for the spring with more to come.
May 4 - May 10
April 27-May 3
As the days have started to warm up more species are beginning to appear albeit in only small numbers so far. 11 species of warbler were seen this week but some species that are to be expected by now are still missing. Long-tailed Ducks are starting to disappear with just over a 1000 being seen on the better days, 4500 Bonaperte's Gulls were seen off of the lighthouse on Sunday; that day also saw a reasonable spring movement of raptors with 8 species seen including several Red-tailed Hawks and a small movement of Broad-winged Hawks, an immature Northern Goshawk was seen heading west as well. The following day several Red-shouldered Hawks were seen but the highlight was 3 Black Vultures that were flying just over the trees at the obs and is a record high count for here. Sandhill Cranes were calling on the 27th and the first Spotted Sandpiper showed up on the 1st. Caspian Terns arrived on the 28th and a Rock Pigeon put in its almost annual appearance on the 1st. An early Eastern Whip-poor-will was flushed off the road on the 28th and a Chimney Swift flew over on the 1st. The 28th saw the first Blue-headed Vireo, Northern Waterthrush and House Wrens of the season. Wednesday saw a push of migrants with new species such as Nashville, Yellow, Magnolia, Cape May and Black-throated Green Warblers all appearing around the point. Also seen were Wood Thrush, Veery, Eastern Kingbird, White-crowned Sparrows, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole and Least Flycatcher. A Black-throated Blue Warbler was seen on May 3rd
Slowly but surely, winter has been losing its grip on the point. The 21st saw the first day with the winds abating and warmer weather which allowed some birds to start to trickle in; the banding total for the day was 79, mostly Goldfinches and Cowbirds, but Hermit Thrush was new for the spring as was a singing Brown Thrasher and 12 Golden-crowned Kinglets were banded. The next day a Pine Siskin was found in the nets as were 34 Golden-crowned Kinglets; however, it was not until the following day that the first main movement of the spring was to take place and 246 birds were banded. The majority were Golden-crowned Kinglets with 103 banded; the first Ruby-crowned Kinglets appeared with 32 being banded. Also arriving that day were the sparrows with Swamp Sparrow (3), White-throated Sparrow (9), Fox Sparrow (3), Field Sparrow (1) and Chipping Sparrow (2). The next day, the 24th, fewer in general were present but at least 160 Yellow-shafted Flickers were present with one tree holding 14 at once; they were passing in ones and twos all morning. Two Flicker Intergrades were banded. Swallow numbers are building up with several Cliffs around the lighthouse and Observatory. Barn Swallows finally arrived on the 26th and 2 Purple Martins can usually be seen around the Observatory. Three Great Egrets have been putting in an appearance and either flying over the Observatory or being seen around the harbour area. Pine Warblers can occasionally be seen and heard.
Wilson's Snipe Am Woodcock Bonaparte’s Gull Ring-billed Gull
Fox Sparrow Song Sparrow White-throated Sparrow Slate-coloured Junco
Northern Cardinal Red-winged Blackbird Rusty Blackbird Common Grackle
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Blue-winged Warbler (Photo © Bruce Parker)