Mama Nature has decided that it's time to send her children northward.
After posting early Monday morning we had a bump in Raptors on MSI. I counted 9 MERLINS and 16 SHARP SHINNED HAWKS at one time.
I also saw (not for the first time) how aggression and competition is often counter productive.
A Merlin chased a ROBIN to an altitude of 500 feet or more, always careful to stay under the Robin so it couldn't escape into the ground-cover.
1, 2 & 3 other Merlins took up the chase but very quickly all 4 were squabbling among themselves. Of course the Robin seized its opportunity, escaped to the ground and hunkered under the boardwalk for a couple hours.
By Tuesday the heft of the raptors departed but a few times every day there's a HARRIER or KESTREL buzzing through, as well as an EAGLE surveying her domain for varying periods every day.
I watched her Highness strafe the rafts of Alcids on several occasions, usually after sunset, and witnessed her invite a RAZORBILL to be guest of honor for a fashionably late dinner.
Oddly enough, there's a good seal pup carcass available but the Eagle has completely ignored it. The RAVENS aren't so fussy.
Songbirds have picked up substantially.
There has been a couple waves of WHITE THROATED SPARROWS: counted 46 a dawn Thursday scouring the patio for seed and there were lots more on the lawns and in the vegetation.
SAVANNAH SPARROWS are also at high numbers, with both our residents and migrants present at the moment. Incidentally, on Thursday, I found my first Savannah Sparrow nest with one egg.
Other sparrows are more modest in numbers although Thursday was an eight sparrow day: WHITE THROATED; SAVANNAH; SONG; SWAMP; TREE; CHIPPING; LARK & JUNCO. There was also at least 3 female TOWHEES consorting with the sparrow flocks.
There was a fairly steady flow of swallows right from early Wednesday morning through mid-afternoon. TREE, CLIFF, BARN & ROUGH WINGED SWALLOWS were identified. Scattered swallows passing since then.
Thrushes were represented by a scattering of ROBINS, VEERYS, WOOD, HERMIT, SWAINSON'S, GREY CHEEKED and a probable BICKNELL'S.
Warblers have stalled with only PALM & YELLOW RUMPED seen to date.
FLICKERS remain strong but quite diminished compared with the previous few days.
I spotted a handful of RUBY CROWNED KINGLETS and a couple WINTER WRENS.
The black family was represented by a few COWBIRDS, RED WINGED BLACKBIRDS, several GRACKLES, a couple STARLINGS and 2 or 3 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS as well as our "resident RAVENS.
Several CATBIRDS remain evident and I suspect that they are birds lingering for the past few days.
Wednesday's Bird-Of-The-Day was actually 2 Orioles: a BALTIMORE ORIOLE and an ORCHARD ORIOLE together and sharing a bit of the grape.
At least 3 BROWN THRASHERS have been sulking about, coming out to till the soil for insects whenever they believed there was nobody around.
One hit the side of the house while avoiding a raptor, coming away with a terribly bent neck. It was painful watching it feed on seeds with its head turned 90 degrees to the ground. It appeared to begin straightening as the hours passed so perhaps it survived.
Activity has picked up a bit on the water.
The Alcids are well into their breeding season.
EIDERS (presumably residents) are hanging about the island while lots more are streaming up the bay.
There is still a good batch of HARLEQUINS around and an occasional RED BREASTED MERGANSER.
No flocks of geese were noted but two separate singletons stopped on the island to partake of the lush new grass.
Other ducks, both Loons and DOUBLE CRESTED CORMORANTS continue to trickle up the bay.
Gulls, in particular HERRING & GREAT BLACK BACKED GULLS are increasing their presence, no doubt drawn by the potential for gleaning a meal in or around the seabird colony. There's some evidence of pairing but no apparent nesting effort, so far.
I left MSI yesterday, May 3rd, just ahead of the rain. While making a fuel stop at South West Head (Grand Manan) I noted that the BLACK GUILLEMOTS at back at their cliff colonies adjacent to and below the lighthouse.
Also noted across the Grand Manan Channel was the near complete absence of migrants.