I wrote last week about the anticipation area birders were feeling with the impending cold front that was set to sweep into the area. Birders look forward to fall fronts that bring waves of migrants riding the northerly winds.
A quick check of eBird entries from Thursday September first through Friday September second revealed that area birders were finding only sparse and scattered migrant warblers. Black-and-white warblers, common yellowthroats, and American redstarts, three of the most numerous area migrants, showed up on a few lists.
By Saturday and Sunday mornings all of that changed dramatically. At daybreak I heard more chips and other flight notes than I had for the previous months. Birds were flitting in and out of the landscaped areas as they found their bearings after a night of travel.
I checked eBird entries for Saturday and Sunday mornings and the changes in the reported lists was telling. Chestnut-sided warblers, Northern parulas, ovenbirds, worm-eating warblers, blue-winged warblers, hooded warblers, magnolia warblers, palm warblers, and prairie warblers all made appearances on area lists. And not just single birds. Observers tallied multiple individuals of each from the spots they were birding.
A couple of true local rarities showed up too. A dickcissel and a Wilson’s warbler were pulled out of the large numbers of more expected migrants. They both are among those species that are eagerly looked for by birders each fall. When hordes of migrants enter an area there are always some really good species to be found.
Things calmed down by mid-week. Now the wait is on for the next cool air mass to come into the Piedmont.
In other news, the hummingbird wars continue after a brief truce during the rainy September second. Three individuals that normally chase each other throughout the day were co-existing and feeding together under the overhang of my front porch. By Saturday the chasing resumed.
And common nighthawks continue to be seen just before dusk at many locations by those stepping outside where there is a wide and unobstructed view of the sky. They will be gone in another week or so.
So things are really starting to pop in our area. As the mornings continue to cool take time to notice the increased activity in the trees and shrubs.
Taylor Piephoff is a naturalist with an interest in the birds and wildlife of the southern Piedmont: PiephoffT@aol.com. Check out his blog at piedmontbirding.blogspot.com