Adult male Baltimore Oriole (click to see the larger version)
We’re about a month from peak landbird migration but we’ve been getting a steady trickle of Empidonax flycatchers, cuckoos, Baltimore Orioles, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and a few warblers, all expected late summer/early fall migrants. On the flip side, the Tree, Bank, and Northern Rough-winged Swallows that were such a visual and noisy presence in the Dunes have moved on. We’re still seeing Barn Swallows and Purple Martins, but the martins are getting restless and will be gone in a few weeks. Link to my eBird checklist for August 16 below.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (click to see the larger version)
August is the month when migrant Ruby-throated Hummingbirds begin to appear. Ruby-throateds don’t nest at Montrose so we know these birds are in fact migrants. August is also the month when wildflowers bloom in profusion. It’s these wildflowers that attract the hummingbirds. I’ve also seen them hunting insects — even hummingbirds need protein! Most of our Ruby-throats are females or immatures, like the bird pictured.
Olive-sided Flycatcher (click to see the larger version)
I walked around Montrose for a little while this morning. I didn’t see any unusual shorebirds (a Buff-breasted Sandpiper was seen on 8/29) but there was activity around the water feature and Magic Hedge. Best was an Olive-sided Flycatcher that moved between the water feature and adjacent Honey Locusts. I also had a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a couple Swainson’s Thrushes feeding on mulberries in the Magic Hedge, Tennessee Warbler, and American Redstart.
There were decent numbers of birds this morning. Last night’s south winds did us some good. Flycatchers seemed to be everywhere. Warblers were dominated by American Redstarts, Magnolia, Wilson’s and Common Yellowthroat. Most sparrows seemed to have pulled out. Here’s some of what I saw in about an hour and a half: