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Morning Flight 2021 is Underway!

A Yellow Warbler blending in with the vegetation. Photo © Tom Reed.

Hello everyone, and welcome to the fall 2021 Morning Flight count season! My name is Jerald Reb, and I will be the Morning Flight counter this year, returning from 2019. I look forward to seeing many of you on the Dike this fall!

A Prothonotary Warbler zips by. Photo © Tom Reed.

This past week was surprisingly cool and birdy for the early season, with several days of good winds bringing plenty of migrants past the Dike. Warbler diversity and numbers are off to a strong start, with 10 species recorded this week. August 3rd was our best morning so far, with over 100 Yellow Warblers, 15 waterthrushes, our first Black-and-White Warblers, and an early Tennessee Warbler! Highlights and totals for the rest of the week included over 200 Yellow Warbler, over 50 American Redstart, and a Worm-eating Warbler. We also had a strong early flight on July 31st, the day before the official season started, including two Yellow-throated Warblers; a very good bird for the Dike! Here’s hoping these numbers carry into next week!

Yellow Warbler. Photo © Tom Reed.

Yellow-throated Warbler. Photo © Tom Reed.

Non-warbler migrants were slow to start this week, but we’ve counted several Bobolink, Orchard Oriole, Eastern Kingbird, and Cedar Waxwing, with many more to come! Another interesting sighting was an unidentified Catharus thrush that zipped by and disappeared into the brush; any thrush is a good sighting in morning flight, and August is very early for any of these species! We also saw some fun non-passerine species this week including Yellow-crowned Night-heron, many Brown Pelicans roosting on Brandywine Shoal, and a few Wilson’s Storm-petrels over the bay.

Chimney Swift. Photo © Tom Reed.

With a few days of north and westerly winds in the forecast for the coming week, we should continue to see some good migration days in the near future. The season will only be ramping up from here, with many birds left to come!

See you on the Dike!

Jerald Reb

Morning Flight Counter

New Jersey Audubon