Swainson’s Hawk, Black Scoter (A.K.A. Darth Vader) and 15 Species of Warbler Made for an Great Birding Day at Cabot Head.
May 5th was an average day with little action from the nets but lots of activity in the morning with 48 species observed for the day. Raptor activity was good with 8 species observed but all in low numbers. 2 Caspian Terns were flying around the basin during the census. Our first White Crowned Sparrows of the season were observed for standard count and a late Fox Sparrow was another first observed for the year at Cabot Head.
Today (May 6th) was another day when the birds literally fell out of the sky. Migrants continued to move through all morning and well into the afternoon. The daily Bay Watch turned up some good sightings with 246 White Winged Scoters and 3 Black Scoters flying north, an excellent sighting for Cabot Head! In total we observed 15 species of warbler and banded 10. Including our first Orange Crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler and Black Throated Blue Warblers! We banded a total of 58 birds of 19 species today including Magnolia Warbler, White Throated Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Sharp Shinned Hawk and our first Veery. We also saw our first Northern Parulas, Blackburnian Warblers,
Above: Black Scoter (aka “Darth Vader with a lemon shoved in his face” M S Scott pers comm.)
Chestnut Sided Warbler, Gray Catbird and Red Bellied Woodpecker. Raptor migration was in full swing today with hundreds of birds “kettling” over Middle Bluff of 10 species. 2 Peregrine Falcons were seen flying out over Georgian Bay, the usual 2 Merlins were around and an American Kestrel was seen hunting over the Pine Barrens. The 2 resident Bald Eagles were flying around the basin and a Golden Eagle was seen flying over the bluff getting mobbed by the 2 Bald Eagles and headed south. Sharp Shinned Hawks were a plenty mostly flying low through the forest. Buteo movement for the day was the most spectacular with over 600 Broad Winged Hawks seen throughout the morning “kettling” over middle bluff. 4 Rough Legged Hawks both dark morphs and light morphs were seen and several Red Tailed Hawks were also observed. The arguable highlight of the morning however was a single adult Swainson’s Hawk flying amongst a hundred kettling Broad Winged Hawks likely a first for Bruce County! The volunteers this morning were buzzing with excitement at the diversity and numbers seen today at Cabot Head!