Stephane’s blog for Sept.9

Summer on the Wane

There was still a strong movement of warblers this last week,
especially on September 4th and 5th: 14 species of warblers were
detected on each day. On the 4th, 5 Cape May Warblers were captured
and duly banded, as well as one Palm Warbler! The first Bay-breasted
Warblers were detected on the 5th.

The seasonal total of species of warblers detected is now 22! From the
rare – and beautiful – Northern Parula (with one young female banded)
to the ubiquitous (but no less beautiful) American Redstarts, from
species arriving from the boreal forests – Cape May, Bay-breasted,
Blackpoll, Tennessee – to local birds – Common Yellowthroats, Pine
Warbler, Yellow Warbler, from discrete species – Ovenbird, Northern
Waterthrush, Canada Warbler – too easily observed – Black-throated
Green Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler; it is a
bittersweet time of diversity and wood-warbler enchantment. Very soon,
they will all have migrated to warmer climes, the woods retaining the
faint echoes of their songs and colours in the late movements of
Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned Warblers.

It has indeed started, as the last few days have seen fewer and fewer
warblers around. True, a depression moved rapidly through, with rain
on Tuesday the 8th and high northwest wind today (the 9th), which
could have accounted for some low numbers. Weather, though, has been
unseasonably hot this last week.

Cedar Waxwings have been steadily increasing in numbers and are still
enjoying the chokecherries around the station. To a point that we have
had good catches of this species, which usually flies to high for our
nets. Today, for example, 23 were banded! Another group of species
enjoying the cherries, thrushes have also been captured regularly, and
for the Swainson’s Thrush, in good numbers too (with 8 individuals on
September 6th, for example).

Whip-poor-wills are still singing, albeit softly, during most dusks
and dawns. No Common Nighthawks have been observed, though, during
evening vigils: most evenings, we spend our time outside, keeping an
eye for the crepuscular nightjars, but to no avail so far.

On September 5th, while we were standing in front of Wingfield
Cottage, in between net checks, a sudden and loud WHOOSHH made us
instinctively shudder. Soon enough, we realized it was the sound of a
diving Peregrine Falcon, which just made a fill above our heads! We
followed his aerial path as it killed the bird it just captured with
its bill. The peregrine was an adult bird, with its blue-grey
upperparts. It was not possible to tell what it had just captured. The
peregrine effortlessly gained altitude, while possibly eating on the
wing: it was seen bringing its bill to its quarry a few times. It
stayed aloft, riding the strong wind with nary a wing beat, higher and
higher, until we finally lost sight of it. It definitively was the
highlight of the day!