Early Fall migration on the Bruce




             Fall migration is upon us now and new migrants are passing through in numbers. Around my neighbourhood the quantity of warblers I see on my morning walks is increasing by the day. Since it's fall migration and I have just mentioned warblers, I realize that half the people reading this are about to run away.. but fear not blog readers, "fall warblers" are not THAT terrifying😉. Have a look at this American Redstart to help you calm you down.. looking very bold and colourful in his black & orange plumage.
- American Redstart


 I don't have a lot of photos, as it's usaully dark & wet when I go outisde in the morning (I am truly a coward when it comes to taking my camera outside in bad weather). Below I have included some pictures of songbirds that I saw around my yard one (sunny) morning last week.
- Ovenbird

- ID challenge, post your awnser in comments

- Black-throated Green Warbler

- Blackburnian Warbler

- Nashville Warbler

- American Redstart 

- Indigo Bunting 

- Red-breasted Nuthatch


     In late August I made a trip down to Huron county and met up with Dana Latour & her dad Tony for a morning of birding. I got to the Bluff (a great lakewatch/skywatch spot by Grand Bend) just after sunrise, with hopes of seeing birds migrating past. Some birders have had great days at the Bluff, observing things including over 200 migrating warblers & 20000 Broad-winged Hawks in morning. Wind direction really effects how productive The Bluff is on any given day & winds with an easterly component are better. Almost all birds are flybys and in some instances, especially with songbirds, you only have a few seconds to identify them. This makes the birding challenging and for me.also makes it more fun.  Some days can be insane there, but other days can be completely dead. The day I went was closer to the latter, which was probably becasue the wind was from the S/SE (it called for NE the day before).  It wasn't totally dead however and there were still some birds around to see.
- Eastern Kingbird

- Bald Eagle 

- Barn Swallow

- Purple Martin

- Bank Swallow

 After birding the Bluff for a few hours, we headed to the Exeter Sewage Lagoons to see what was kicking around there. It was fairly productive, with 13 species of shorebirds seen. highlights included;  Black-bellied Plover, White-rumped Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Solitary Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope. Not a bad morning of birding!
- Red-necked Phalarope
On the Bruce shorebird front things have been pretty quiet besides for this Baird's Sandpiper...
- Bairds Sandpiper (pic by Bob Taylor)

 I have tried a few lakewatches along Lake Huron in the last few weeks, either at Port Elgin or Sauble Beach. I have yet to have a very successful day, which is mainly due to poor lakewatching weather..  The "best" birds I've seen so far have probably been Common Loon, Sanderling, Sandhill Crane, Bald Eagle, Bonaparte's Gull and Common Tern. While lakewatching during ths past 2 weeks I've noticed large numbers of Monarchs flying by, with my best day tallying over 4000 butterflies (in a few locations along the shore). I'm sure it will pick up as the season progresses. I am Hoping for some Little Gulls, Pacific Loons, Cave Swallows and jaegers.. not too much to ask for!

- Bonaparte's Gull

- Monarchs

- Sanderling 
This bird landed on Sauble Beach briefly, allowing me to snap a few pictures.

- Sandy with a Ring-billed Gull


 Currently I'm outside listening for nocturnal flight calls (NFCs), which are given by flying songbirds as they migrate overhead. NFCs are pretty tricky to identify by ear and some are almost impossible without equipment (like a lot of warblers). The "easier " group is the thrushes, as they are fairly distint after some practice. So far tonight I've had Veery, Swainson's Thrush, Wood Thrush & a bunch of unIDed warblers. Some other night birds have been calling while I've been outside, Eastern Whip-poor-will & Eastern Screech-owl and Great Horned Owl.

I'm going to try to update my blog every week or two during fall migration, as this will force me to get outside and get more photos. Let's see how long I can keep it up!

Also I wrote this at 11pm and I was slightly sleep deprived.. so there may be some mistakes☺

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