Migration – Early Arrivals

This is a sampling of the first big wave of migrants and summer residents that arrived in the past 7-10 days. The previous post focused on the Kinglets. This post highlights the variety of birds we are seeing.

Piping Plovers are selecting nesting sites and restricted areas have been set up on the beaches to give them a safe place.

Two shorebirds that are passing through on their way to northern Canada to breed are Greater Yellowlegs (top) and Pectoral Sandpipers (bottom).

Joining us for the summer are the Eastern Phoebe (top) and Hermit Thrush (bottom). The Hermit Thrush is the State Bird of my native Vermont. Odd that they would pick a summer resident, or “Flatlander”, for the position. I would have suggested a tough, year-round resident!

We are on the northern edge of their year-round territory so we do see them all year. But we had a large influx of Northern Flickers moving north to their summer range as the population shifts. These photos are of a female, as indicated by the lack of a black cheek patch. The in-flight photo clearly shows the yellow shafts in the wing feathers. The eastern branch of this family of large woodpeckers is “yellow-shafted” and the westerners are “red-shafted”.

I managed to get this photo of an American Kestrel flying about 100 yards across the field from me. This is a small falcon that is about 10 inches (25 cm) long so it was a bit of a challenge. The gray in the wings and shoulders mark it as male.

An American Coot….

This last bird, the Brown Creeper, is a resident but is often hard to find. They creep (hence the name) up the sides of trees to look for insects and use that long, thin curved bill to dig them out of the crevices in the bark. They are small and blend in so well with their background that you can easily miss them. They appeared in extra large numbers during the past week as the population shifts north for the summer.

I hope I will be posting often over the next weeks since that will mean that migration season is very active!

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