Stéphane’s Posting for September 05, 2011

Boom and Bust!

Migration is definitively an extremely variable phenomenon, very often described as “boom and bust”. For example, today, only 5 birds were banded and just 9 species were detected during census: in short, it was extremely quiet at Cabot Head this morning, under a cloudy sky, shivering from a strong North wind. A look at the radar image of precipitation showed a large band of rain from Gaspesie all the way down to Louisiana: no wonder no birds wanted to travel south today!

On the contrary, the previous 2 days showed good movement of birds, especially boreal songbirds like Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, and Wilson’s Warblers, as well as some Palm Warblers. There were also quite a few Red-eyed Vireos, loaded with fat and ready to go to their winter haunts in the Amazon Basin!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? These extreme fluctuations are the main reason why migration monitoring has to be every day, regardless of week-end or so-called holiday Mondays: it would be so easy to miss a major movement.