It’s late August and Elderberry fruit are ripening. A variety of birds eat the juicy berries, including several warblers, vireos, thrushes, and House Finches. To find the berries and the birds, look for clusters of small, purplish fruit on shrub-like plants. The photo accompanying this post shows what the berries look like. The stand of Elderberry at the edge of the woods at the far southeast corner of the Point has been excellent for birds this August.
We’re about a month from the peak of songbird migration but we’ve been seeing small numbers of warblers and flycatchers for a few weeks. This is typical and expected. Migration starts as a trickle and gradually gains momentum until the peak. Some of these early migrants include Least, Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided Flycatchers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Cape May, Bay-breasted, and Black-and-white Warblers among others. August is shorebird month but after you’re done checking the beach head up to the Magic Hedge for some early warblering.
I’ve been seeing this Cape May Warbler for several days in the same small hawthorn tree. I posted photos online and someone noticed what look like scale insects on the branches. Scale insects are a group of insects that don’t move and suck plant juices for sustenance. You can see them festooning the branches in the lower right corner of the photo — they look like tiny white flakes or clumps of rice grains. Putting two and two together, I’m guessing the Cape May Warbler has been frequenting this particular hawthorn because of the abundant scale insects and the food they provide it. More photos of the Cape May Warbler and scale insects are at my eBird checklist for October 5, URL below.
October 5, 2020