The weather was tough this week with Monday and Friday being washed out and Tuesday’s count being delayed; however, migration continued and our cast of characters shifted a bit to reflect the changing season. Turkey Vultures are dominating the scene while the ratio of Sharp-shinned to Cooper’s Hawks is widening and the ratio of Kestrels to Merlins is getting smaller. Redstarts and Parulas have given way to Yellow-rumps, and winter finches continue to come through in great numbers. Noisy flocks of Siskins keep my eyes to the sky when the raptor flight is slow.
Other signs of the season include busted Milkweed pods, Canada Goldenrod seeds, and a growing number of blooms on our New York Aster. With temperatures dropping, insect diversity and available nectar sources have plummeted. The only reliable insect sightings left are the eastern common bumblebees that I find clinging to the asters every morning.
This was a challenging week on the watch but I’m excited to see what the rest of the season holds.
By Will Kaselow