Now that we are aware of the birds coming through the area as arriving and departing migrants, it will be and is already a special season. Over the past two weeks, listings were given for those species, and it is merely a waiting game, so if you haven’t been out to look for those migrants, do take the time for some exciting moments!
Last weekend, we came up with a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk that has been hanging around the dry flood plain at the north side of Heron Cove. As writer arrived, it once again fled last Friday morning, September 10. After a few minutes, the songbirds carried on as they normally do while having their first meal of the day. The Least Flycatcher began its “whit” calls, a Blue Jay was sounding its hawk alarm, and two Northern Flickers were discovered atop a telephone pole. Six Great Egrets were frolicking across Memorial Jetty on the west side of Boomer Lake, while three Great Blue Herons wanted no part of interrupting their breakfasts. Three Killdeer were stationed upon Shorebird Jetty having their own insect feast, rapidly scurrying asunder.
Monday the 13 of September was just as prosperous. A female Belted Kingfisher was waiting on a tree limb ready for its dive below with fish just beneath the water’s surface. Eventually she tired of that and decided to change her venue. Later another migrating Upland Sandpiper was heard in the distance, though surprisingly not over Heron Cove, but to the more distant west. It was out of view and likely coming from a greater distance, as I was unable to get any sighting. Three juvenile Scissor-tailed Flycatchers were doing a skydance as we were heading south of the Boomer Lake area, reminding us of the power and energy of youth. Safe travels to them on their first southbound adventure.
This Tuesday migration was heating up with the southern passage of six Least Flycatchers right over the center of Boomer Lake, while two Pied-billed Grebes watched them continue elsewhere. An Eastern Kingbird snatched a dragonfly from its crowning perch on a fifty-foot bald cypress. A lone Cliff Swallow traversed the lake bouncing off the water, while a Green Heron made its way silently through Heron Cove.
Our crowning touch were a couple of Franklin’s Gulls already in fresh winter plumage as they flew up and down our beloved lake, periodically touching down on the water’s edge for aquatic snacks at the surface, shining in the sun.
Fall migration moves a lot slower than its spring counterpart. Male birds generally head south before the females, as they still choose a territory for the winter, usually the same one that they had the year prior. Females follow later, and the juveniles are the last to get out of town. Young birds get what territory is left over and must work a lot harder than the adults to make their way, even in the off-season.