So far it's been shaping up as one of those, "Don't blink or you'll miss it." type of spring migrations out here. Little pulses with some of the most common species just serve to highlight the scarcity or absence of other expected arrivals.
SONG SPARROWS have put on a strong showing but are tapering off now. JUNCOS were also strong but have virtually disappeared. Those two species have been pretty much replaced by the influx of SAVANNAH SPARROWS. WHITE THROATED SPARROWS have been at a modest level for about a week.
FLICKERS are still trickling through. Saturday, one of those tried the old "fly through a wall" trick to escape a raptor. When he came to he was inside a dark plastic pail ...... my bird revival room. A half hour later I released him, screaming and (fingers crossed) with no serious injury.
Tonight (3AM Monday) there is a Flicker trying to roost on a living room window, about 3 feet from my head. He's switching between head-tucked snoozing and anxiously eyeing me. I expect that caution will soon move him to a less stressful perch.
Several species have been notable for their scarcity, to date. Perhaps it's just a slow start.
Saturday saw a single INDIGO BUNTING and a VEERY pop by briefly. Mostly, though, it was hard to see a single passerine for all of that day. Even our patio SAVANNAH SPARROWS deserted for reasons unknown. There weren't any predators around so it was a bit odd.
Sunday morning was dripping wet after a second night of dense fog with rain in between.
However, the lawns were alive with birds. Most were Savannah Sparrows but there was also a sprinkling of SONG SPARROWS, ROBINS, FLICKERS and Thrushes.
A quick check around the boardwalks and other structures revealed numerous VEERYS; several SWAINSON THRUSH; at least one WOOD THRUSH; 4 CATBIRDS; 6 COWBIRDS; 3 RED WINGED BLACKBIRDS; a few YELLOW RUMPED WARBLERS; 3 or 4 PALM WARBLERS: all probable new Saturday night arrivals.
Sunday's Bird Of The Day: a single bright male BALTIMORE ORIOLE.
Sunday continued to be a day of hectic feeding, interspersed with occasional bouts of posturing and squabbles. The thick weather apparently blocked any raptors.
That changed when a brief period of clearing, just before dark, brought first one and then a second male HARRIER.
For near an hour, until full dark and thick fog intervened, the raptors lived up to their name, driving flocks of sparrows and panicked Flickers back and forth the island.
Somewhat surprisingly, there is no sign of the Harriers this morning (Monday). They were here right up to nightfall yesterday. I doubt that they would embarque on an over-water flight, in full dark with low ceiling and dense fog, even with a full moon. Nonetheless they are gone; either a night flight or a dawn departure without breakfast.
Thanks to the harrying, I can say with some certainty that on Sunday there were 23 Flickers, 11 Robins, 9 Cowbirds & 4 RW Blackbirds on the island.
I didn't see any kills and I was a bit surprised that the Harriers seemed to ignore the alcids. I can see that a Razorbill or Murre might be intimidatingly large but a Puffin is just manageable. Admittedly, every Harrier that I've seen kill a Puffin has been a female so perhaps their extra size is enough to give the females the advantage.
In any event, the alcids weren't very alarmed by the male Harriers.
Alcids are settling into their colonial routines.
I ran across three PURPLE SANDPIPERS on Sunday, the 1st that I've seen for some time.
I also found a freshly dead HARBOUR SEAL pup. It was newborn, with cord still attached. At first glance I thought it must be a very late GREY SEAL but it proved to be a very early Harbour.
Gulls are increasingly present and some are pairing up. Some of them haunt the seabird colony, looking for any opportunity to get a meal.
GLAUCOUS GULLS are still evident in above usual numbers. It's been a rare day that 1 or 2 couldn't be seen at a moment's glance. 2, 3 or 4 together have been common and I've seen as many as 10 at once.
This is the first winter that I've seen Glaucous outnumber ICELAND GULLS.
Very little over-the-water migration has been visible due to fog these past days. However, occasional flocks of DOUBLE CRESTED CORMORANTS, some SCOTERS & EIDERS or an occasional GREAT BLUE HERON either over-flies or passes close to the island. 7 CANADA GEESE stopped momentarily on Friday.
Some 25-30 HARLEQUIN DUCKS remain, routinely mixing with the Alcids on the water.
Today's Bird-of-the-Day: FOY RUBY CROWNED KINGLET.