Thursday, August 4, 2016

Yellow Warblers- a key August migrant

Well, it may not seem like fall migration should be underway, since we are essentially in the hottest partof summer.True, most.of migration is still ahead of us- but for a few species, things get rolling earlier.  This is true for many shorebirds especially, but also for some other species, including some small land birds.

In our area, the Yellow Warbler is probably the most conspicuous song bird migrating this time of year.   Because the species often actively migrates in the early morning, and frequently calls while doing so, it is often possible to pick one out by its vocalizations, and with a quick look up, see it passing overhead.  Their flight note is a somewhat husky seet- not a sound that is likely to grab your attention, but one that you can notice if you stay aware.

Once in a while, you might get treated to a bunch of Yellows passing over the same spot in a short period.  Once such flight was reported by an observer in Marrero this morning- who reported 26 in an hour over his yard.  They were headed west for the most part, which is generally the most common direction for August Yellows in our area.  I have on two occasions over the years counted numbers around 100 in an hour, once on the Bucktown lakefront, and once in Old Jefferson.  Both times, most were headed west.  At the migratory concentration site on the lakeshore at South Point, when (infrequent in August) northeast winds occur, over a 1000 are possible.  Flights have been noted on the north shore of the lake as well, such as at Fontainbleau State Park, but their frequency and magnitude in St. Tammany have yet to be worked out.