The forecast is not looking good for us tonight and tomorrow, as a strong low-pressure system approaches. Hopefully this will be followed by a large push of migrating birds…
…and as it likely will be, we are thrilled to welcome Jordan to the crew this week. Jordan has worked extensively on refuge islands, playing an integral role in re-establishing and protecting threatened and endangered seabird colonies, among other initiatives. Here she is extracting a Blackpoll Warbler, one of her favorite landbirds.
We were also ecstatic to be visited by a rarity for this region. On Sunday (Sept. 16) we processed this hatch-year Clay-colored Sparrow. These are birds that breed in the central portion of Canada and the U.S., and are infrequently encountered this far east.
Another rarely encountered species here, albeit of the shorebird variety, was this American Golden-Plover (bottom individual in photo below). These birds nest in Alaska and northern Canada, and following the breeding season they generally stage in eastern Canada before departing on a nonstop flight of roughly 4000 km to South America. Here it is pictured with the bigger (and more common for this area) Black-bellied Plover.
A fairly common shorebird encountered around the refuge during migration is the Semipalmated Plover, pictured here hopping from its saltwater bath.
Like the Semipalmated Plover above, the Semipalmated Sandpiper (below) is named for the partial webbing between the middle and outer toes. While both species forage along shorelines, and are thus colloquially termed ‘shorebirds’, they are taxonomically assigned to different families.
Another common sandpiper around the refuge this time of year is the Least Sandpiper. These birds are fattening-up on abundant invertebrates as they move to their wintering grounds that can be as far south as Chile.
Switching gears back to our landbird friends, the Nashville Warbler has a rather protracted migration, with numbers thinning out by mid-October. This adult male is most likely on his way to Central America for the winter. Given that he is an adult, he has certainly made this trip at least once before, and hopefully he will have another successful voyage this year.