August 21st – 31st, 2011


Eastern Kingbird


Due to some unforeseen developments the migration summary was delayed for the last five weeks, but here’s a brief update from September 1st to 20th in the form of excerpts taken from PIBO’s daily written narrative. A summary from the 21st to mid-October will be posted in the near future.


Happy Thanksgiving!


September 1st

It was hot today and it will likely get even hotter tomorrow (32° C). Thunderstorms this morning cut short the netting effort. There were very few birds around, with just 27 species recorded on the census.


September 2nd

Extremely warm again this morning and not much activity after four days of south winds. Good numbers of Common Terns (312) at the tip, however, along with ones-and-twos of six warbler species.


September 3rd

More of the same, although a Carolina Wren on census was, surprisingly, a ‘fall’ first. Their numbers on the island have been reduced considerably in the last few years, likely due to some cold winter conditions.


September 4th

Intense thunderstorms last night but still warm, with a dawn temperature of 23° C. Nonetheless, a few birds were noted including ten warblers species in small numbers (mostly Redstarts and Magnolias). Lots of Purple Martins (93) departing south off the tip on census, and a Yellow-throated Vireo was banded – a station first. Up to 65 Great Black-backed Gulls at the tip.



Scarlet Tanager


September 5th

A nice change of pace with some north winds and a busy morning on both the census and in the netting area. Fifty-three species noted on the day including fifteen warbler species, increased numbers of thrushes, lots of Cedar Waxwings, swallows, and a nice variety of others. Sixty-nine birds captured of eighteen species, with Redstarts, Magnolias and Blackpolls leading the way.


September 6th

Another active day with 55 species recorded during the standard count period along with 119 birds of twenty-three species captured in sixty net-hours. Thirty-five thrushes banded including Veerys, Swainson’s and Gray-cheeked, and eighteen warbler species tallied, including fifteen species banded. A Merlin and Palm Warbler were both new for the fall. More than 4000 cormorants observed at the tip.


September 7th

Some more rain (it ended up being one of PIBO’s wettest Septembers on record) and not as many birds in the area today apart from an influx of 150 Bonaparte’s Gulls, a Merlin, a few Sharp-shins, and small numbers of flycatchers, vireos, thrushes and warblers. Thirty-two birds banded of twelve species.


September 8th

It rained on-and-off all morning and just the census and some additional observations were completed. Not much to report with the exception of a Broad-winged Hawk on the census.


September 9th

Lots of birds around today but persistent showers hampered the coverage effort and the nets remained closed. Despite this, fifteen warbler species were documented on the census along with a good variety of other migrants in moderate numbers.


September 10th

Yet more rain and minimal coverage on the day, Thirteen birds captured in twenty net-hours, including a couple of Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Red-eyed Vireos, one Gray-cheeked Thrush, 7 Swainson’s, and two Magnolia Warblers.



Black-throated Blue Warbler



A full morning of coverage and some increased activity, with fifty species on the day and 30 birds of thirteen species captured. Still some flycatchers in the area – Great Crested and Pewees – five thrush species, and ten warbler spp.


September 12th

A fairly uneventful morning apart from 600 Common Terns noted at the tip, a swarm of more than 30 Black-capped Chickadees in the netting area (probably all resident birds), and ones-and-twos of six warbler species.


September 13th

Southwest winds, 22° C at dawn, and one of the quietest mornings for songbirds this fall, with almost all the local residents having left and virtually no passage migrants in the area.


September 14th

A slight improvement in the weather and a small influx of birds, with 37 individuals captured of fifteen species and 50 species recorded on the day. Quite a few Sharp-shins in the area (22 tallied on the census), along with small numbers of a nice variety of songbirds including Philadelphia Vireo, Red and White-breasted Nuthatches, three thrush species, fourteen warbler spp., and few Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. A banded Northern Parula was new for the fall.


September 15th

Lots of activity this morning with two thrush species leading the way. Ninety thrushes banded of two species – 49 Gray-cheeked and 43 Swainsons – of the 109 birds captured on the day. Possibly a station-high for the former species.



White-throated Sparrow


September 16th

More thrushes and warblers again today including 23 banded Swainson’s and 22 Gray-cheekeds, and smaller numbers of eight warbler spp. recorded throughout the morning. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet was the first this autumn.


September 17th

Not much bird activity but quite a few human visitors, with thirteen people showing up at the station to see a nice variety of species banded including Philadelphia and Blue-headed Vireo, the usual thrushes, and small numbers of Magnolia, Black-throated Green, and Black-and-white Warblers, among others.


September 18th

Generally quiet. Two Black-bellied Plovers and a Sanderling at the tip were the only birds of note on the day.


September 19th

More soggy weather, some strong south winds, and just the census and a few additional observations completed this morning. Twenty-one species recorded in the official count area.


September 20th

A moderate but welcome increase in activity with 45 species on the day. A nice variety of birds were seen – Bald Eagle, Eastern Screech-Owl, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, House Wren, the first White-throated Sparrow of the fall, and eleven warbler species, including a banded Connecticut Warbler.


Photo: Sumiko Onishi