Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Highlights for the Week of September 9th- 15th

This week saw an increase in bird species and volume from the weeks prior. The presence of a series of cold fronts from the northwest resulted in excellent migration in the Great Lakes. Higher numbers of thrushes, and Blackpolls (BLPW) and Tennessee Warblers (TEWA) headlined along with 21 other species of warblers including: Golden-winged (GWWA), Nashville (NAWA), Chestnut-sided (CSWA), Magnolia (MAWA), Cape May (CMWA), Black-throated Green (BTNW), Black-throated Blue (BTBW), Myrtle (MYWA), Blackburnian (BLBW), Western Palm (WPWA), Bay-breasted (BBWA), Blackpoll (BLPW), Black-and-white (BAWW), American Redstart (AMRE), Ovenbird (OVEN), Northern Watertrhush (NOWA), Connecticut (CONW), Mourning (MOWA), Common Yellowthroat (COYE), Wilson's (WIWA), Brewster's and Canada (CAWA). What a list! It was the first for this fall for the Western Palm, Golden-winged, Brewster's, and Myrtle Warblers. 

As promised from last week, here is a review of Brown Thrush ID for those species at their peak now. Veery (VEER), Swainson's (SWTH) and Gray-cheeked Thrushes (GCTH).

A few key field marks for identifying the brown thrushes are the appearance of eye ring, the spotting on the chest, and the color of the back. 
Left bird has a visible eye ring.  The right bird does not.
Bird on left is the only bird with an eye ring in this photo.
Note the differences in overall color as well. 
Then note the coloration of the head, back, and tail. Is it olive brown or reddish brown?
Back coloration of these birds are both olive brown
Back coloration on these birds are left olive brown and right reddish brown. Notice the markings of the secondary coverts on the bird on the right, this indicates a hatching-year bird and can give the appearance of a wing bar on some individuals.
Compare spotting on these and look for eye rings. Bird in center has blurry spots. Also appears more reddish brown than the other two.
Left to Right: Swainson's Thrush, Veery, and Gray-cheeked Thrush. 
Of the two olive-brown backed thrushes, one has an eye ring and one does not. The one with the eye ring has an "i" in its name: Swainson's. Also a Swainson's has a "buffy " eye ring and buffyness to its chest. The other olive brown thrush with no eye ring is the Gray-cheeked Thrush (GCTH).
Guess which ones are here:
Birds from left to right: SWTH VEER GCTH
For those who would like to see some of these fall migrants up close, we will be holding a free public banding demonstration at the Observatory this weekend, both Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM in conjunction with Midwest Birding Symposium.

Also check online for the update on the banding totals for this fall.  http://www.bsbo.org/passerine/pdf/passerinebandingfall2013navarre.pdf

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