Greetings to those joining us. It’s been a while since we posted an update. This tends to happen each year around this time. Things get crazy at the park. Between getting ready for summer visitors, the bird festival, birdathons, and other activities, the blog sometimes takes a hit. Despite this the birds have been coming. Migration is still going on, albeit the waves of Robins, Blackbirds, and Grackles are now just a thing of the past. Even the abundant Yellow-rumped Warbler has all but moved on. It’s neat to watch the influx of new migrants, then to see them leave, only to be replaced with the next wave, almost perfectly timed.
Counts have been done in recent days with the last of the May migration waves. These being Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Kingbirds, and flycatchers. Each day right now still holds promise of new species, though not the 5-6 per day we were seeing in early May. The Longshore Tower count now stands at 209 species!
The biggest rarity the last few days was a Pacific Loon off shore on May 22. New arrivals include your typical host of late May species. They’ve included Mourning Warbler on May 23, Wilson’s and Blackburnian Warbler on May 24, Alder and Acadian Flycatcher at the tower on May 24, and just today, Philadelphia Vireo and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. The flycatcher sightings are significant, as most flybys would not get ID’d. These birds take a moment to land nearby and give a call or song to help identify them. Also singing nearby has been a Black-billed Cuckoo along the park’s western boundary, near the old Johnson hill area. It was first heard on May 20, and was found again today. This is likely a territorial bird… .always difficult to find in the state.
Speaking of territorial birds, the Blackburnian Warbler, a dunes area specialty nesting bird is back on territory. If you want to find one, visit the South State Park Road (the old abandoned road bed east of the park entrance) and walk down towards a set of spruce trees. It is back again this year and one of the few if not only spot in the state you can find one nesting!
Rain has entered with these sounds winds, so counts may be spotty as we finish migration. It’s been great to count the birds for a fifth year in a row. We look forward to counting up the entire season total of birds and also doing some more in depth analysis for a possible research project now that we have a good chunk of data to work with. So thanks for reading with us, following along, and expect a little more here before migration wraps up.
For the last two days counts, visit May 24 here and May 25 here.