September 17th – Aflockalypse Now

Just a very few of a stream of Common Grackles that went by. -JDF

It had all the makings of a good horror flick – myriads of large black birds in the tops of the trees, cackling back and forth (a cacophony one pundit called it), staring down at us with beady yellow eyes ready to pounce with large rapier-like bills. They’d go for the eyes first and then finish us off…..For the last week or so we’ve witnessed VERY large flocks of Common Grackles going over, leaving their roost first thing in the morning, heading out to feed. Last week we counted over 5000. This morning there were well over 1500 that settled in the trees just in front of the Mansion stripping them of any food they contained – fruit and/or insects – before heading to another patch. We caught and banded 13 of them. I’m glad there weren’t more as they’re a touch bird to extract holding on tight with very strong feet and, often, getting their tongues caught necessitating great care.

Although not as busy as the last couple of days we still had a good movement of migrants to deal with:

Banded 43:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird….just banded. -JDF

1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
1 Eastern Wood-pewee

Lots of Blue Jays around – it’s hard to get a good count as they move around so much. -JNJ

1 Blue Jay
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 Swainson’s Thrushes
3 Gray Catbirds
3 Warbling Vireos
3 Red-eyed Vireos
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
2 Magnolia Warblers
1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
2 Blackpoll Warblers
3 Common Yellowthroats

For comparison: 2 Scarlet Tanagers. Female on the left (olive shoulder); male on the right (black shoulder). -DOL

3 Scarlet Tanagers
1 Field Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
13 Common Grackles

ET’s: 53 spp.
Additional Pics:

Joanne showing that she hasn’t lost her touch. -NRF

Nancy getting a hummingbird band ready (or darning socks, I’m not sure which). -JDF

Black-throated Green Warbler. -ELO

Adult Cedar Waxwing moulting wing feathers. -ELO

Karen’s Kreeping Korner:

White-marked Tussock Moth caterpillar. -MB

Pearl Crescent Butterfly. -KMP

American Rubyspot. -DG

Green Darner (I think…?) -EB


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