Here we go! The fall migrants are becoming more and more frequent at Stratford Point as the days go on. Some of the early arriving and common warblers, such as Yellow and Common Yellowthroat, are moving already. Both were seen off and on this week when conditions were conducive for movement. The four common swallow species are still moving, and Purple Martins are even stopping by. I observed several of them going in and out of our new gourd tree, perhaps exploring it for colonization next spring. With the number of birds that have gone by I would be surprised if we did not have a bunch of breeding pairs. You can see them hawking insects all over the place right now. As I always suggest to visitors if you cannot find them or other swallows flying about check all of the power lines. They may be inconspicuously sitting there watching you.
Bobolink continue to show up in small groups of around two to five individuals. There was even an adult male here this week. Bobolink migration through Stratford Point is still two to three weeks earlier this year than last. Shorebirds are also becoming common once again. Least and Semipalmated Sandpiper are now usually found on the beach or in front of the lighthouse. Semipalmated Plover have returned as well. I saw a the first returning Sanderling all alone in with a group of the three previously mentioned species on the beach during high tide on July 21. The highlight of the week, in my opinion, was coming to the Point early in the morning on July 22 and finding two American Kestrel. They were hunting and being harassed by the locals. Raptor migration will soon be fully underway, though a few have definitely begun to move.
Photo © Scott Kruitbosch