Monday, August 27, 2012

Fall migration begins at Trout Brook Valley

I spent some time hiking through the Aspetuck Land Trust's Trout Brook Valley Preserve yesterday, covering all of the orchard and nearby wooded areas. While the previous night featured only light to moderate migration on mostly calm winds far from any cold front (the night after such a frontal passage being a great flight time), we are entering the time of year where many passerines are on the move even in only satisfactory conditions. This includes the swallows, swifts, and raptors flying through the skies as thermals build each day, or the warblers and sparrows moving through that darkness.

Considering all of that, the late August date, and the fact I was looking at leps and odes as well, my bird list of 54 species was impressive:

Double-crested Cormorant  6
Turkey Vulture  6
Osprey  1
Northern Harrier  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  2
Broad-winged Hawk  4
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Mourning Dove  2
Chimney Swift  8
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  1
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  1
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Eastern Wood-Pewee  3
Eastern Phoebe  4
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Eastern Kingbird  2
Red-eyed Vireo  2
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  3
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2
Tree Swallow  6
Barn Swallow  22
Black-capped Chickadee  5
Tufted Titmouse  4
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
House Wren  3
Carolina Wren  1
Eastern Bluebird  3
American Robin  3
Gray Catbird  3
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  2
Cedar Waxwing  1
Common Yellowthroat  5
American Redstart  1
Yellow Warbler  1
Chipping Sparrow  1
Field Sparrow  2
Savannah Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  4
Swamp Sparrow  2
Scarlet Tanager  1
Northern Cardinal  1
Indigo Bunting  1
Bobolink  11
Red-winged Blackbird  4
Common Grackle  1
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Baltimore Oriole  1
House Finch  2
American Goldfinch  9

It reflects some of the high-quality habitat the preserve contains, with the orchard being an especially wondrous place in the fall season. I am excited to see what I can dig up there in September and October (again) after some great results last year and knowing the grasslands, farm fields, and edge habitat will be extremely productive for likely well over 100 species of birds. If you enjoy sparrow season in the next couple of months, or just picking through hundreds of individual birds for a few hours, I definitely recommend you take the hike there. I am going to have to target a couple of elusive conservation priority species not yet detected (Grasshopper Sparrow anyone?), and if you see anything rare or unusual there please let us know.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

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