Morning Flight Update – September 27, 2019

This week featured some notable influxes of a few later Warblers, as well as a distinct departure of some of our early season migrants. While we only had one major flight, it was a good week overall with a few good flights and only one really slow day. Wednesday was by far our most significant movement, with just over a thousand birds, including one incredible rarity which I’ll get to in a minute!

Northern Parulas came through in a big way this week! Photo by Daniel Irons

Our biggest arrivals this week were Palm, Parula, Cape May and a slight increase of Yellow-rumped Warblers. Notable departures included Black-and-White Warbler and Northern Waterthrush, both of which were all but absent on our biggest flights. Non-Warbler arrivals included our first American Pipits of the year (two this week!), our first big Northern Flicker flight and a slight uptick in Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Cape May Warblers put on a good show this week, especially on Wednesday’s major flight. Photo by Daniel Irons

As I mentioned earlier, Wednesday was by far our most impressive flight day, thanks to some much-needed Northwest winds. Northern Parulas were the most numerous species this morning, surpassing American Redstart for the first time this season! Palm Warblers also arrived in force on Wednesday, with a total of 128 throughout the morning! Perhaps the most exciting part of the Warbler flight was the fantastic Cape May Warbler show, with over 60 total! Outside of Warblers, Wednesday featured our first large Northern Flicker flight, with 126 counted. We also had a handful of Dickcissel, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a few lingering Bobolink.

The Flickers are coming! Photo by Daniel Irons

Now for that rarity I mentioned at the beginning of this post: in the middle of our busy Warbler flight I heard Daniel Irons yell out “Get on this Flycatcher!” Everyone on the Dike quickly turned around and got good but brief views of a small Flycatcher with an pinkish-orange wash to the underparts: a young Vermilion Flycatcher! The bird quickly disappeared over the far end of the Dike and was unfortunately not refound. This is the third record for New Jersey, and the first since 2014. Interestingly, a young Vermilion was seen three days before in Long Point, Ontario; it’s very possible that this could be that same bird. An incredible experience for sure, this will certainly go down as one of the main highlights of the 2019 season!

A young Vermilion Flycatcher! A beautiful and extremely rare bird, this represents the third state record. Photo by Daniel Irons

The wind forecast this week unfortunately is mostly south once again, with a few days of Northeast. There probably won’t be any major flights this week, but with new arrivals coming in every day you never know what could fly past!


See you in the field!


Jerald Reb