Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Magnifying the passion for nature. Zeiss Victory Harpia 95. New!

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Tuesday 8th August 2017, 17:34   #1
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
Migration Season in Eastern Pennsylvania

Hello All,

I have enjoyed following other BF members' ongoing threads on various subjects so much that I thought I would start one of my own. What better topic to post about than fall migration, my favorite time of the birding year?

So far it has been a bit slow, as it is still August. Shorebird migration has been going on for some time now. Unfortunately, it is a very down year viewing-wise as water levels here are very high. I have yet to see Solitary, Semipalmated, and Pectoral Sandpipers this fall, let alone rarities!

Today, though, migration was certainly apparent. After rain all day yesterday, today's north winds and no rain were a good combination. I watched the skies for about an hour around lunchtime. Probable migrants were a very high swallow sp., 36 Double-crested Cormorants, and two Monarch butterflies. A Red-shouldered Hawk was a surprise and a possible migrant, but a very early one if so.

Here is my list as reported to eBird:

36 Double-crested Cormorant
Exact count. Flocks of 28 and 8 flew over heading South. Large dark waterbirds. Wingbeats faster than Canada Goose.

4 Black Vulture

3 Turkey Vulture

1 Red-shouldered Hawk
Possibly an early migrant? Appeared overhead and circled slowly to the SE.

1 Mourning Dove

1 Chimney Swift

1 Blue Jay

1 American Crow

1 Barn Swallow

1 swallow sp.

1 Carolina Wren

2 American Robin

2 European Starling

7 Cedar Waxwing

1 Song Sparrow

1 sparrow sp.

1 Northern Cardinal

1 Common Grackle

7 Brown-headed Cowbird

1 House Finch

1 American Goldfinch

1 House Sparrow

11 passerine sp.

3 bird sp.



I am eagerly awaiting more in the days to come!

Last edited by birdmeister : Tuesday 8th August 2017 at 17:39.
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 9th August 2017, 13:22   #2
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
Moon-watching

I looked at the forecast last night and saw that calm/slightly N winds were predicted, and it was a clear night, so I geared up for some moon-watching to see if I could spot some migrants.

It was a bit slow, but certainly not a failure. I confirmed two birds and two bats (the latter not traveling south). The first bird was a small passerine. Shape and flight style were wrong for a thrush or warbler but looked good for a finch-type bird, so I am guessing either an Indigo Bunting or a Bobolink. The second bird was a bit larger with a long tail and straight flight. It looked like a grackle or an American Robin, but I don't think either species should have been migrating last night. Perhaps that one (and an unconfirmed sandpiper) is best left unidentified!:)

I also enjoy looking at migration on the radar. I have included two snapshots of the radar for the eastern half of the U.S last night. The first shows almost no birds, and the second one shows migration in full swing (almost)!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	August8thRadar(2318 UTC).png
Views:	21
Size:	119.1 KB
ID:	635683  Click image for larger version

Name:	August8thRadar(0228 UTC).png
Views:	22
Size:	183.8 KB
ID:	635684  
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 14th August 2017, 12:07   #3
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
After several days of either rain or sun and no wind, yesterday was partly cloudy with Northwest winds. Sounds good! I ended up being busy for almost the whole day, so was not able to fully take advantage of the opportunity. However, there certainly were migrants around during the little time I watched.

A 10 or 15 minute watch yesterday morning brought flyby Baltimore Oriole and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, both good birds to see from my yard. Yesterday evening brought 10+ Cedar Waxwings and a lone Double-crested Cormorant.

I was out at 6 AM this morning to see what passed by, as last night's radar looked fairly good. More Cedar Waxwings (21 this time) and a very distant raptor, possibly American Kestrel.

Perhaps there will be a few more later today, but it will get hot again with the possibility of rain in the next few days.
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 21st August 2017, 02:02   #4
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
Yesterday's conditions and scenario were somewhat similar to the ones described in my previous post, with two significant differences. First, yesterday's winds were light and coming from the West, and second, the temperature yesterday was still pretty hot (e.g not a strong cold front). Still, there were some things to see.

A watch from my yard for about an hour yesterday turned up at least two Broad-winged Hawks (likely migrating) and an Osprey raptor-wise. Swallows were very active, with good numbers of Barn, probably a Tree or two, a Purple Martin (fewer than five seen from the yard each year!), and a possible Bank (would be possibly first for yard!). Chimney Swifts were also very present.

In other news, I saw my first Common Nighthawk of the season tonight, though it was not heading South.

The radar looks fairly good tonight, and the daily high temperature is forecast to drop 10 degrees (F) or so between Wednesday and Thursday.

Perhaps I will have a report concerning tomorrow's partial solar eclipse.
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 21:24   #5
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
Partial Solar Eclipse

Finally I have an update, this time not on bird migration, but I wanted to share pictures of the partial solar eclipse that occurred yesterday. The pictures mostly speak for themselves. I observed the eclipse with my spotting scope and a paper plate (no eclipse glasses needed!) The one main thing that I am adding is that during the furthest extent of the eclipse (about 70-75%!), it actually was a bit dimmer than usual. I did not observe any bird behavior that I thought unusual.

Tonight a cold front is supposed to move through, providing cooler temperatures and Northwest winds. Bring on the birds!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8463.JPG
Views:	10
Size:	289.2 KB
ID:	637025  Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8471.JPG
Views:	10
Size:	261.6 KB
ID:	637026  Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8479.JPG
Views:	11
Size:	683.6 KB
ID:	637027  Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8480.JPG
Views:	9
Size:	283.5 KB
ID:	637028  Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8481.JPG
Views:	9
Size:	262.8 KB
ID:	637029  

birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 23rd August 2017, 13:08   #6
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
I went outside a little before 6:00 AM this morning. It was cloudy and still, with very few birds (locals) at first. For the next half hour or so it remained cloudy with occasional sprinkles. Finally, the low clouds began to quickly blow south, and with them came the birds.

Highlights and migrants included 2 Caspian Terns (probably first for the yard!), around 15 Cedar Waxwings, at least 2 Bobolinks, and some American Robins, swallow sp, 1 falcon sp, and 1 shorebird sp.
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 23rd August 2017, 21:00   #7
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
A Few More From Today

I conducted two more counts today, but only the first one produced obvious migrants.

More migrants included 1 Red-tailed Hawk, 2 Broad-winged Hawks, 1 Bald Eagle, and 13 Double-crested Cormorants.

Tomorrow looks like it will be decent as well, though perhaps not as good as today.
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 24th August 2017, 13:51   #8
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
Another Good Morning

I was out a little after 6:00 AM this morning after radar showed a very good night last night. There still is not a large variety of morning migrants yet, but numbers are building.

Highlights from the morning included around 115 Cedar Waxwings, 36 American Robins, and 3 unidentified warblers (two were yellow underneath, not American Redstarts, one looked like a waterthrush, likely Northern).

The weather forecast is calling for light north/northwest winds at least through Saturday, and temperatures under 80F for at least the next 7 days. Looks good!
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 25th August 2017, 12:59   #9
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
This morning brought more migrants, including about 130 Cedar Waxwings, 5 warbler sp, and a Bobolink. At least one of three flickers observed may have been migrating as well.
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 25th August 2017, 20:18   #10
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
Not much of note this afternoon. The only migrants noted were 1 Osprey, 3 swallow sp, and possibly a Chimney Swift.

Still a bit early for good raptor migration over the yard.
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 26th August 2017, 18:42   #11
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
A Very Good Warbler Morning

This morning found me in Peace Valley Park, a somewhat local park that I enjoy going to during migration. It did not disappoint, with at least 8 or 9 warbler species and some added bonuses.

Migrants and/or highlights included 4 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, 3 Empidonax flycatchers, 2 Red-eyed Vireos, 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, 1 Wood Thrush, 36 Gray Catbirds (likely mix of migrants and locals), 5 Black-and-white Warblers, 3 Common Yellowthroats, 3 American Redstarts, 1 Cape May Warbler, 2 Magnolia Warblers, 1 Bay-breasted Warbler (probable and a lifer if confirmed!), 4 Chestnut-sided Warblers, 1 Blackpoll Warbler, 1 Black-throated Green Warbler, and 1 Baltimore Oriole.

Overall, a very pleasant morning with good bird action.
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 27th August 2017, 18:44   #12
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
Not too much this morning over the yard, but a warbler (likely Magnolia) and a Scarlet Tanager briefly dropped in across the street.

Weather forecast does not look great until Thursday night and Friday, so my posts might decrease in frequency until then. :)
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 28th August 2017, 13:07   #13
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
Another quiet morning. The only obvious migrants were two warbler sp, a few Chimney Swifts and swallows, one Indigo Bunting, and one Bobolink.

The forecast has changed a bit. Rain is forecast for Tuesday/Tuesday night and Wednesday's forecast is for N/NNW winds 7-9 mph. That should be good!
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 31st August 2017, 01:14   #14
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
A Day At Hawk Mountain

Today I was fortunate enough to spend the day (7:30 AM to 5 PM) at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, Pennsylvania. It is a place I always enjoy going to and usually come away with good birds. Today did not disappoint.

Not long after leaving the parking lot I heard an Eastern Wood-pewee. Pileated Woodpeckers called along the trail to the North Lookout, where the annual hawk migration count is going on.

North Lookout is where the vast majority of today's birds were recorded. As soon as I got there, I picked out a Blackburnian Warbler from a fast-moving mixed flock. For the next hour or so, I enjoyed a nice passerine show. Bobolink and probable Veery were heard only. Other warblers included Black-throated Green (3+) and Black-throated Blue (1 very close female). Scarlet Tanager (3+), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (1), Red-eyed Vireo (1), and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird were also enjoyed in the early morning.

Throughout the day I enjoyed such birds as Cedar Waxwings (98), Chimney Swifts, a Double-crested Cormorant, 11 more hummingbirds, 10+ American Goldfinches, and a good mix of swallows, including Bank, Barn, Tree, and Cliff.

The raptor count was only 25 birds (still early in the season), all of which I was able to see. There were Osprey (3), Bald Eagles (4), a Sharp-shinned Hawk, Broad-winged Hawks (11), an unidentified Buteo, a Red-tailed Hawk, a Northern Harrier, a Peregrine Falcon, and American Kestrels (2). One of the kestrels, the Peregrine, and the harrier (a gorgeous male!) all dove at the owl decoy that is mounted for that purpose. :)

Right before leaving, I saw a Northern Parula and two Common Nighthawks in the parking lot.

All in all, a great day to be outside with the birds!
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 31st August 2017, 21:02   #15
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
An average to quiet morning this morning, but still some birds to see.

Migrants/highlights included Cedar Waxwing (about 115), a distant shorebird flock (about 20), a Belted Kingfisher, a nice low Merlin, more warbler sp (3), and a few swallows and swifts.

Tomorrow looks good, so I should have a report then.
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 1st September 2017, 21:09   #16
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
Unofficially Two "Lifers"

Today I was able to make it up to Hawk Mountain again, though not for the whole day this time.

There were many highlights/migrants.

As soon as I got out of the car, I could hear warblers overhead. A few minutes later, while on the trail, I encountered a feeding flock. This included singles of Red-eyed Vireo, American Redstart, probable Bay-breasted Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, and Blackburnian Warbler.

Up at the North Lookout and vicinity, warblers included Blackburnian (1), Cape May (3+), Black-throated Green (1), Black-throated Blue (1), American Redstart (1), and either a Mourning or Connecticut Warbler, either of which would be a lifer. Other migrating non-raptors included Scarlet Tanager (3+), Red-eyed Vireo (1), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (1), Bobolink (2+), Cedar Waxwing (50+), Northern Flicker (1+), a few swallows (including Bank, Barn, and Cliff) and Chimney Swifts, and several American Goldfinches. The non-raptor highlight came in the form of an Olive-sided Flycatcher, which was a lifer and good looks were thoroughly enjoyed!

Raptor-wise, things are beginning to pick up with Broad-winged Hawks (20+). Other migrant raptors included Bald Eagle (4), Red-tailed hawk (1), American Kestrel (2), falcon sp (1), and Sharp-shinned Hawk (2).

On the trail back, the highlight was an Ovenbird.

Another great day of fall migration!
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 4th September 2017, 01:20   #17
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
Two "Lifers" In Two Days!

After seeing my lifer Olive-sided Flycatcher two days ago, I was quite happy. This was my first lifer since a trip to Greece in May. Little did I know that I would get another lifer yesterday!

I ended up having one of my best warbler experiences ever yesterday. I saw 50+ individuals of 11+ species. It probably ranks as my third-best warbler day in terms of numbers (behind an all-day census in May and the morning flight in Cape May).

I arrived at Peace Valley Park a little after noon. Within a few minutes of setting out I had my first feeding flock, which pretty much describes the outing. At one point I watched 1 Blackpoll/Bay-breasted Warbler, 1 Blackpoll Warbler, 3 American Redstarts, 2 Chestnut-sided Warblers, 2 Black-and-white Warblers, and I think 1 Magnolia Warbler all in a few minutes' time in a space of a few square feet!

The biggest highlight of the day was seeing my lifer Mourning Warbler, a young female, in a bush less than 10 feet away!

Here are the migrants/highlights: Yellow-billed Cuckoo (1), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (2), Eastern Wood-pewee (1), Alder/Willow Flycatcher (1), flycatcher sp (3), Red-eyed Vireo (1), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (2), Wood Thrush (3), American Robin (20+), Gray Catbird (25+), Black-and-white Warbler (7), Mourning Warbler (1), Common Yellowthroat (6), American Redstart (8), Cape May Warbler (1), Magnolia Warbler (9), Blackburnian Warbler (4), Chestnut-sided Warbler (4), Blackpoll Warbler (1), Blackpoll/Bay-breasted Warbler (1), Black-throated Blue Warbler (2), Black-throated Green Warbler (2), and warbler sp (6+).

On a different note, I am looking for feedback on how my posts should be organized. Is the current format good, or would you prefer a more vertical list (as in my first post), or perhaps all species in bold type?
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 7th September 2017, 18:58   #18
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
I think I would have a lot more to report if I wasn't so busy! After a long day of rain yesterday, today is partly sunny with west winds.

I have not looked as much as I would have liked to, but during the limited time I did look outside my window, migrants included Northern Harrier (1), Osprey (1), Broad-winged Hawk (1), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (6), warbler sp (1), and swallow sp (26). I imagine hawkwatches nearby will have a good day.
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 9th September 2017, 01:22   #19
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
Another Day At Hawk Mountain

Today I felt I needed a break from being so busy. A trip to Hawk Mountain was in order. I arrived at the parking lot at about 7:00 AM. What followed was a dynamite day for warblers and other passerines, but a bit slow on the raptor front.

Less than a third of the way up to the North Lookout, I stopped at a small overlook after hearing warbler calls. I was treated to a spectacle: over a half hour or so (I lost track of time!), a mixed flock of warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks slowly worked their way through the vegetation at the overlook. Many of them were within 50 feet of me, some within 20 feet, and as one group moved out another would move in.

Here are approximate totals: Blackburnian Warbler (20+), Black-throated Green Warbler (10+), Black-throated Blue Warbler (2), Tennessee Warbler (2), Nashville Warbler (1), Chestnut-sided Warbler (1), Black-and-white Warbler (3), American Redstart (3), Blackpoll Warbler (2), Blackpoll/Bay-breasted Warbler (1+), Magnolia Warbler (1), Cape May Warbler (2), Red-eyed Vireo (3+), Warbling/Philadelphia Vireo (1), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (1, came up to about 1 foot away, I could actually hear it buzzing in my ear!), Scarlet Tanager (4), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (4), Great Crested Flycatcher (1), Chimney Swift (5).

At or near the North Lookout, I had much the same variety and quantity of songbirds, with these additions: Yellow-throated Vireo (2), Eastern Wood-pewee (1), Empidonax sp (1-2), Olive-sided Flycatcher (1, poor photo), several flocks of Cedar Waxwings, and good variety and numbers of swallows and Chimney Swifts.

Raptor-wise, here are the official numbers for today's Hawk Mountain count, almost all of which I saw: Osprey (11), Bald Eagle (2), Northern Harrier (2, I saw one), Sharp-shinned hawk (6), Cooper's Hawk (2, I saw one), Broad-winged hawk (14), Red-tailed Hawk (3, I saw at least two), American Kestrel (1).

The highlight of the day came at the end, however. After coming down from the North Lookout, while approaching the visitor center, the person who I was with suggested a stop in Hawk Mountain's Native Plant Garden. Said person then suggested that I go directly to the garden's bird blind, which did not disappoint! Here I saw a small feeding flock of warblers (1 Tennessee, 1 Nashville, 1 Magnolia, 1 Black-and-white, 1 warbler sp) and a lone Red-eyed Vireo. In the flock was a "Brewster's" Blue-winged X Golden-winged Warbler hybrid! This was a "half-lifer", as I have seen Blue-winged before but never Golden-winged. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture, but I did provide a description afterwards.

Overall, another fantastic day at Hawk Mountain amidst fall migration!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	OliveSidedFlycatcher.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	362.6 KB
ID:	638964  
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 9th September 2017, 21:35   #20
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
A 1-hour watch from my yard this afternoon brought a few migrants in the form of Broad-winged Hawk (2), Red-tailed Hawk (1), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (1), and Monarch butterfly (5).
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 01:40   #21
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
I watched from my yard again, this time for two hours in the afternoon. Broad-winged Hawk numbers are picking up, as evidenced by Hawk Mountain's daily totals for yesterday and today (577 and 367, respectively, mostly Broadwings). My totals were much more modest, but here they are anyway: Northern Harrier (1), Accipiter sp (2), Bald Eagle (1), Broad-winged Hawk (26, including one adult dove down to roost across the street!), Red-tailed Hawk (1), American Kestrel (1), falcon sp (1), and raptor sp (5). Many birds were very high up.

Also noted were Ruby-throated Hummingbird (2), Monarch butterfly (1), and decent numbers of dragonflies.
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 13th September 2017, 20:18   #22
birdmeister
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 611
Yesterday, mostly during small chunks of time in the morning and afternoon, I observed the following migrants: Northern Harrier (1), accipiter sp (1), Broad-winged Hawk (2), American Kestrel (1), Cedar Waxwing (50+), warbler sp (2+), Indigo Bunting (1), and Bobolink (1).

Tomorrow is forecast to have rain, likely associated with hurricane Irma. If I have time, I might check my local reservoir for goodies during the rain, but I rather doubt there will be any.
birdmeister is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
UK Migration Season So Far Himalaya Birds & Birding 3 Monday 2nd May 2016 12:29
Late Raptor Migration in Pennsylvania (US) birdmeister Migration 0 Friday 1st January 2016 18:51
off-season migration to avoid tornadic storms nartreb Bird Behaviour 2 Sunday 21st December 2014 08:32
Eastern Pennsylvania, USA buddhabirds Bird Identification Q&A 4 Thursday 27th June 2013 01:40
Forthcoming Migration Season James Thomas Birds & Birding 4 Wednesday 3rd March 2010 21:39


£100 Cashback on Opticron DBA VHD Binoculars. Click to find out more.

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.25691795 seconds with 34 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 11:51.