First, welcome back to BSES for the year!!! It has been an exciting few days as we've gotten the year off the ground. One thing I find funny about my chosen profession is that the beginning of school typically occurs when fall migration starts to pick up. Talk about a conflict of interest! Thankfully, we're blessed to have the Nature Trail at BSES so good nature is just a few short steps away for both students and staff.
Today marked my first weekly walk of the year. I try to venture out onto the Nature Trail at least once a week either Thursday or Friday morning before school to do a bird count on the trail. Through these walks, we can compile a running record of species occurrences, total numbers of each species, and arrival and departure dates of these species during migration. We can then analyze that data and compare this information over multiple years to learn more about the species that visit the trail and learn more about our ever-changing Nature Trail and ecosystem. All data is compiled and submitted to eBird.org where it goes into a global online database that can also be analyzed by scientists to field ornithologists around the world.
Even though it's only early September, fall migration has been underway for warblers! Now is a great time to get out and look for fall warblers as they glean insects from trees. They need to eat lots of insects (caterpillars in particular) as they prepare for their long and arduous migration! When looking for fall warblers, one must know that warblers mostly change their plumage in the fall. They look different in their fall colors, and in some cases, they are drastically different than their springtime colors.
Locally, there have been lots of reports of warbler species passing through the area. For whatever reason, I have been missing out on most of the warbler fun, but on Thursday evening before Back to School Night, I observed a Chestnut-sided Warbler on the trail. This observation is a first for the species on the Nature Trail, marking this species as the 121st for the property!!! A super exciting find that I didn't realize was significant until I looked back at my records just now.
Later in the morning, my class and I ventured onto the Nature Trail for the first time! On the playground, we observed an up-close male Eastern Bluebird gathering food for its babies. Then, when we arrived at the trailhead, we were drawn back out of the trail into the parking lot to witness three Red-shouldered Hawks circling high over the school. Immediately after we observed them, a low-flying Great Blue Heron passed right over the building!!!! Action was picking up rapidly and we hadn't even stepped onto the trail yet! Our first trail visit gave us views of American Robin, Mourning Dove, and we were able to hear the call of the Hairy Woodpecker as it followed us to the outdoor classroom!
All told, our first week of school and our first visit to the Nature Trail were both very exciting. Looking forward to more great times with the students on the trail in the 2017-2018 year!
eBird Lists for the Week:
31 Species this Week:
Great Blue Heron