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Weekly Report - 2017-05-19 - Wrapping Up Warbler Migration

As I said before, birders in the northeastern United States wait all year for the month of May to enjoy all of the great migrants that pass through. To follow up on that thought, this past Tuesday was the kind of May migration day that birders hope to have! As a result of the picked up migration, I ended up being out before and after school birding almost everyday! As a result, I saw an amazing day of birding, but I also saw that warbler migration in our area is drawing to a rapid close.

I had eight checklists in the Garnet Valley area this week with 65 species on those lists. On just the Nature Trail at BSES, I had 43 species in five checklists. I had a lot of opportunities for photography, and I even added a few species to lists:

1. My first-ever Wilson's Warbler in Delaware County, PA - Seen on the Concord Trail

2. Species #119 for the trail - Gray-cheeked Thrush

3. Species #120 for the trail - Yellow-throated Vireo (surprised we haven't had one there before!)

Most notable this week was the difference between Tuesday and Wednesday. Each night it seemed that birds made big movements through nocturnal migration. Tuesday morning was loaded with warblers on the Concord Trail including Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Black-throated Green Warbler, and my favorite of the bunch, Wilson's Warbler. The next day, I was out at the Nature Trail at BSES and had only 3 species of warbler. Tuesday night into Wednesday morning showed a significant movement of birds migrating overnight, leaving very little in the way of warblers. Last night at the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club meeting in Philadelphia, many birders lamented in the difference between Tuesday's huge warbler count and Wednesday's lack of warblers. It made me feel better that it wasn't just me missing out on the action, but it is a sign that warbler migration in our area is drawing to a close. There are some warblers left in the area, but one must be diligent in the search to find them. In this season, gone are the days of warblers dripping from trees!

On a side note, for those interested in getting out birding this Sunday, May 21st, I am leading bird walks at the historic log cabin on Bethel Road at 1pm and 3pm. The event is free and there will be lots of other things to do at the event as it is targeted for families. Sunday will be a good opportunity to get out and find some lingering spring migrants in addition to observing some of our local breeders as they prepare for their nesting season!

Here's a list of the species from the week found on three sites: BSES Nature Trail, Concord Trail, and a private property on Bethel Road:

Canada Goose

Wood Duck

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk


Mourning Dove

Chimney Swift

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Willow Flycatcher

Eastern Phoebe

Great Crested Flycatcher

Eastern Kingbird

Yellow-throated Vireo

Warbling Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Tree Swallow

Barn Swallow

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

House Wren

Carolina Wren

Eastern Bluebird

Gray-cheeked Thrush

Swainson's Thrush

Wood Thrush

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Northern Mockingbird

European Starling

Cedar Waxwing


Common Yellowthroat

American Redstart

Northern Parula

Magnolia Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Chipping Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Eastern Towhee

Scarlet Tanager

Northern Cardinal

Indigo Bunting

Red-winged Blackbird

Common Grackle

Brown-headed Cowbird

Baltimore Oriole

House Finch

American Goldfinch

House Sparrow

43 species on the nature trail in five trips


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