Non-raptors have also been seen in huge numbers the last week, with over 255,000 already counted for the season, leading me to dub this the 2015 Songbird Super Flight. We had an overwhelming mass migration on September 22nd when a total of 20,762 non-raptors flew by the Ridge and the shore. As I wrote on the daily Hawkcount updates (www.hawkcount.org), sunrise that day brought pandemonium as birds were flying everywhere, with a highly diverse flight of many different kinds of birds vaulting themselves through out counting airspace. No one person could possibly see all those birds, and it took an entire team of people to cover the flight just on the Ridge. My thanks to counters Alex Lamoreaux and Kaija Gahm, as well as volunteers Karen Stubenvoll, Reed Turner, and Jan and Larry Kraemer for their help with this exceptional flight. Highlights that day included 278 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (record high MN count), 278 Northern Flickers, 2595 Blue Jays mixing with 4532 American Robins (usually these two species take turns, with robins building in numbers well after the jays are mostly done, but on this date they flew together), a total of 9761 warblers including 1868 Yellow-rumped Warblers and 7294 unidentified warblers, and 1144 White-throated Sparrows. These bird blitzes are something to behold! And no doubt there will several more mass migration events in the next few weeks as the inevitable cold weather drives even more birds down the North Shore migration highway. I expect the next two weeks to be bring the peak flights of the season, the bulk of which will be made up of Yellow-rumped Warblers, Rusty Blackbirds, and American Robins, but many other species will be moving as well.
|Blue Jay migrating down the shore with lunch, a bright red cherry!|
|This is the last thing a small bird sees before a diving Sharp-shinned Hawk grabs it in its talons!|
|Northern Flicker in flight at Hawk Ridge.|
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory