The day the world is equal!

We are fast approaching the fall equinox, which will be on September 22 this year, the moment in time when the length of the day is equal to the length of the night anywhere on Earth. Whether you’re standing at the North Pole or on the Equator, you will enjoy the same amount of daylight. Afterward, the light will diminish very quickly if you were to stay at the North Pole (but why would you do that?) whereas it would barely change on the Equator. All this to say that we are slowly entering Autumn and long, long nights. 

Canada Geese are feeling the change as large flocks have been seen heading south, notably on September 10 and 14 with about 200 and 300 birds respectively. A lonely goose on September 10 turned out to be the diminutive Cackling Goose. Common Loons too have started to move in numbers flying fast over Georgian Bay in ones and twos and threes and fours. This species does not organize in flocks like geese or ducks but they frequently fly in a loose association with others. On September 12 a total of 72 Common Loons were counted with a strong passage of about 30 birds in 30 minutes. 

Blue Jays and Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flickers are also on the move: movements of these two species at Cabot Head are typically concentrated in September, albeit in quite different numbers, with Flickers reaching daily high of a dozen or so at the most, while Blue Jays may number in the hundreds.

Evan’s keen ear (BPBO’s “summer student”) detected the flight call of a Dickcissel on September 12. Evan has detected a regular passage of solitary Solitary Sandpipers (as befit its name) as well, with one bird on September 12, 15, and 16.

Mid-September is the time when the last of the long-distance migrants are mingling with the first birds of the short-distance migrants. A Blackpoll Warbler on its way to northern South America could be seen with a few Golden-crowned Kinglets which might not get much further south than south of the Great Lakes. That was indeed the case on September 13 when we detected our first Golden-crowned Kinglets alongside one Blackpoll Warbler.

Many, many more kinglets are to be expected in the coming weeks as we are getting deeper into a new season.