Sunday, September 11, 2011

Migrant madness--UPDATED!

Gretchen and I went to Scotia Barrens IBA between 1 and 3pm yesterday afternoon -- an odd time, and not normally a good time, but it turned out to be really good. We saw sooooo many warblers and flycatchers that we were overwhelmed, but we did our best to ID and even got some good snapshots.

We started off at the pond; the weather had cleared earlier so we didn't see much waterfowl. Still, look at this Pied-billed Grebe:
Nice catch!

We then went down the road and saw several little flocks of migrating warblers, some still in breeding plumage but most wearing their "confusing fall warbler" outfits.
Black-throated Green Warbler, always abundant at Scotia

one of the many Magnolia Warblers we saw

Gretchen got this great photo of my favorite warbler the Blackburnian:I would've written this off as a BTGreen--but look at the face. Crossley has a photo of a Blackburnian that looks just like this.

Our complete list, which contains three lifers (in bold) but I'm hesitant to count two of them. I feel good about the YBFL because I got good looks at it. However, the Philly Vireo and Acadian Flycatcher were ID'd solely by voice and not seen--I'll note this on my spreadsheet and in my margin to the right:

Pied-billed Grebe 2
Turkey Vulture 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Northern Flicker 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 1
Acadian Flycatcher 1
Philadelphia Vireo 1
Blue Jay 3
American Crow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 6
White-breasted Nuthatch 4
American Robin 1
Gray Catbird 6
Cedar Waxwing 32
Ovenbird 1
Northern Waterthrush 1
American Redstart 3
Magnolia Warbler 7
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 3
American Goldfinch 1
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2 (

That puts me at 310 -- 308 plus two heard-onlys. Hmph.

We also saw some good bugs and other creepy-crawlies:
some sort of damselfly--per John, a kind of spreadwing

is this the nymph stage of something, or a new kind of stinkbug?
Per John, it's probably the nymph stage of an actual stinkbug!

look at this beauty! I can't find this one anywhere in my moth book or online. Any help?
Per John, it might well be a Pyrrhia exprimens, or Purple-lined Sallow larva.
And it certainly does look like the photo on this web site.

And by the way, John mentioned a book that's sure to go onto my wish list: Caterpillars of Eastern North America by David Wagner. I loves the cats! Hello, Christmas present!

Red Darner? Nope -- probably a meadowhawk, per John. I thought perhaps a Ruby Meadowhawk, but they have black spots on the tips of the wings. Then I thought Red-tailed Pennant (a skimmer) but they aren't up here. So -- I just don't know enough! And if John couldn't give me an ID, then I might as well give up!

Thanks to John for all his ID help!

Of course I relieved my Warbler Neck issues with some flower-gazing:
this looks most like a Giant Sunflower, only it's not that giant and there are fewer petals on it. Probably a garden escapee.

Nodding Ladies' Tresses -- life flower!

my old favorite Butter and Eggs

This reminds me of Chamomile; can't find it in my flower guides. Any ideas?

We went back to Scotia this morning with a big group, one of the many guided fall walks scheduled for this month. I was thinking we'd see everything we saw yesterday and more, and all the big-time birders would ID everything we couldn't get yesterday. No such luck -- it was really dead out there; nothing on the pond, a random Blackpoll Warbler, a bunch of chickadees and Cedar Waxwings. We had a brief moment of excitement when we saw a tiny group of three BTGreens and an American Redstart. Pretty disappointing.

But at least we went out for breakfast afterwards, and I got some outdoor time before the rain came (again). It's been raining almost non-stop for the last week, remnants of TS Lee. There's severe flooding in several areas of the state, but we got lucky here and only had minor flooding one morning. The worst of it went south and east of us. It cleared up and the humidity blew out yesterday just in time for us to have a wonderful day outside. Today? Not so much.


John said...

It sounds like it was a fun walk! It's rained almost every day for the past week or so here, which makes for bad birding and migration conditions.

The damselfly is some sort of spreadwing.

The photo below that is a stinkbug nymph (I'm not sure which one).

The caterpillar might be a Purple-lined Sallow. From what I've read, those are highly variable, but the orange lateral stripe is the most consistent feature. I found it in Caterpillars of Eastern North America by David Wagner.

The dragonfly looks like a meadowhawk (not sure which one).

dguzman said...

John--totally. Wish you'd been there to help with the IDs! Thanks for the info on the other IDs -- will update accordingly. Oh--maybe Ruby Meadowhawk?

John said...

Meadowhawks are a tough group, so I'm not confident putting names on them, aside from a few special cases like Autumn Meadowhawk and Blue-faced Meadowhawk.