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With Reports noting 2 Oceans and 3 of the Great Lakes

Thousands of Red Crossbills, and Millions of Red Admirals

Armas Hill has presented the "Birdline", originally from Philadelphia, on the phone and internet for over 3 decades, and on the radio in Delaware for about 10 years.


A List & Photo Gallery of North American Birds, in 6 Parts

A List & Photo Gallery of North American Mammals  

A Chronological List of Upcoming FONT Tours     Other Birdlines/Naturelines

These photos are of some bird & butterfly species referred to in this August 31, 2012 edition of the Birdline/Natureline:

Late August is a good time 
on the western Atlantic for 
White-faced Storm-Petrel
This photo from a FONT pelagic trip,
off New Jersey, some years ago.

Below, the Lark Sparrow in New Jersey
referred to this time in the Birdline.
(photo by Howard Eskin)

A Red Admiral Butterfly in 2012
(photo by Rise Hill)

The Birdline & Natureline for August 31, 2012:

Last weekend, there were pelagic birding trips out to sea, offshore from both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the US. There were, on both the Atlantic and the Pacific, some good finds:

Offshore from Hyannis, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, birds included 7, yes a lucky 7 WHITE-FACED STORM-PETRELS, 9 BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETRELS, a RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD, a BRIDLED TERN, and 3 AUDUBON'S SHEARWATERS.

Offshore from Maryland (mostly) and Delaware, last weekend, a TRINDADE PETREL was seen. The species has also been called the HERALD PETREL, but that name is now generally with the Pacific population, and TRINDADE with that of the Atlantic. The bird, on August 25, was the first for Maryland.
Most North American sightings of the species have been off North Carolina.
That petrel, by the way, is not from Trinidad off Venezuela, but rather Trindade Island, much further east, off northeastern Brazil.  
Up to 5 BLACK-CAPPED PETRELS were seen offshore from Delmarva. Previously, Maryland had 2 accepted records.
Most North American sightings of the species have been off North Carolina.
And, yet more of note:
1 WHITE-FACED STORM-PETREL, nearly 60 LEACH'S STORM-PETRELS, and, incredibly, about double that, just over 120 BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETRELS.
Also incredibly, more BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETRELS were reported than WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS. With just 85 of the latter.

As to where some of the seabirds just mentioned come from, a quick summary:
The BLACK-CAPPED PETREL breeds on Caribbean islands, mostly Hispaniola, on mountaintops.
The WHITE-FACED STORM-PETREL breeds in the eastern Atlantic Ocean on the Selvagens and Cape Verde Islands (the latter off the west coast of Africa). 
The BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETRELS of the North Atlantic are of two types: the GRANT'S and the MADEIRAN. They nest on the Selvagens, and the Madeiran, Canary, and Azore Islands in the eastern North Atlantic.

On the other side of North America, offshore from Half Moon Bay, California, last weekend:
a HAWAIIAN PETREL was among the birds seen. The first for that county of San Mateo. That bird, by the way, was about 2,500 miles from Hawaii, where the species nests.
Like the TRINIDADE and the BLACK-CAPPED PETRELS, the HAWAIIAN PETREL is in the Pterodroma genus, with "Pterodroma" meaning "winged runner". In other words, "fast-flying".

There were, as there often are, hundreds of ASHY STORM-PETRELS.
But there were also, more unusually, nearly 50 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS. That's a high number there, as that species is not nearly as common off the West Coast of North America as it can be off the East Coast.

From the oceans off the coasts of North America, let's now go inland, way inland, to Minnesota, where a most impressive irruption of RED CROSSBILLS has been happening.
At the hawk watch, at Hawk Ridge, in Duluth, birds other than hawks are counted.
Back on August 19, a total of 365 RED CROSSBILLS were counted as they flew by. That was a record high daily count.
But more were to come.
On August 23, up to 603 RED CROSSBILLS,  
And then, on August 24, there were 1,252 RED CROSSBILLS that flew by Hawk Ridge, that one day! They were in 23 flocks, with an average size of 54 birds in a flock.  
The next day, August 25, there were 705 RED CROSSBILLS there.
As of August 29, as many as 3,748 RED CROSSBILLS were counted during the month at Hawk Ridge in Duluth, Minnesota.
Actually, most have been moving just below Hawk Ridge, by the shore of Lake Superior, rather than higher up on the ridge.   
But so many - Where do they go? What do they seek?

To put in perspective, previous high daily counts in the Duluth area were, prior to 2012:
215 on October 22, 1988,
205 on October 12, 1994,
125 on January 13, 1968,
and 106 on a Christmas Bird Count on January 1, 2006.
Never before in August have there been so many - as there have been this month.

In eastern North America, there have some RED CROSSBILLS noted recently in Pennsylvania and in Massachusetts where they have been in the areas of Barre, Gill, and north & south Quabbin.
But in the East, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES have begun an irruption of their own.
With reports this month throughout Pennsylvania, from Monroe County in the east to Cumberland, Clarion, Indiana, and Erie Counties, further west. Also at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, and in southeastern Pennsylvania at the Evansburg State Park.
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES have appeared in northern & southern Delaware.
At Cape May, New Jersey, during a morning flight, on August 29, as many as 374 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES were tallied, among 2,700 passerines, including nearly 1,000 WARBLERS of 24 species.

Both RED CROSSBILLS and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES have recently been in Georgia, by Lake Conasauga in Murray County.

Saranac Lake in upstate New York and the town of Rumney (not Romney) in New Hampshire have had something in common lately: EVENING GROSBEAKS.

Also in upstate New York

A BROWN PELICAN was along the waterfront of Lake Erie, in Buffalo NY on August 28.
And a FRANKLIN'S GULL was by Lake Ontario, at Wilson, back on August 17 only. 

Now, let's go back again by the 3rd of the Great Lakes mentioned here this time, Lake Superior, and back to Duluth:

Migrating NIGHTHAWKS have been noted, here & there, in eastern North America, but not in numbers like this:
At Hawk Ridge, Duluth, Minnesota on August 24, 2012: 6,877 COMMON NIGHTHAWKS (yes, very common NIGHTHAWKS)
and the next day,
On August 25, 2012 at Hawk Ridge, Duluth: 3,725 COMMON (yes, common) NIGHTHAWKS.

Not far from Duluth, in northern Wisconsin, north of its normal range was a WHITE-TAILED KITE at the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in Burnett County, north of Grantsburg, on August 19.
Also in Wisconsin, north of its normal range, was a BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCK on August 15, southwest of Madison at a place called Shoveler's Sink.

A European (or Asianbird species has been at a couple places in North America:

Single CURLEW SANDPIPERS have been in upstate New York at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge on August 23, and in northeastern Colorado at the Jackson Reservoir, in Morgan County, from that day, August 23 until at least August 29.

Also in Colorado: a SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER has been in Jefferson county at the Van Bibber Trail.

An American bird species has been in Europe:

An AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was found in Iceland, near Keflavik, on August 27.

The migration of HUDSONIAN GODWITS has been underway. Last weekend, birders on a kayak on the Susquehanna River in southern Pennsylvania, saw a flock of 15, first in flight, and then landing for a brief time on an island, before continuing on their way.
No, sometimes they don't linger, as they have a long way to go.
About 75 per cent of all HUDSONIAN GODWITS spend our (northern) winter in eastern Tierra del Fuego in far-southern South America.
About 25 per cent of all HUDSONIAN GODWITS spend that season on Chiloe Island, in south-central Chile.
A flock of 30 HUDSONIAN GODWITS was reported this past week in Delaware at the Bombay Hook Refuge.

OSPREYS have begun their migration. To see on maps the progress of some that have been radio-tagged in New England and New York, you can click the link below:

Among the 2,700 passerine birds noted above in the Cape May, New Jersey report, 2 were LARK SPARROWS.
Another LARK SPARROW from the western US was found yesterday, August 30, in New Jersey at the Brigantine (or Forsythe) Refuge.
Found by Harvey, and photographed by Howard, see it in the link below:


Very large numbers of BUTTERFLIES have occurred this summer in southern Canada, and further north than usual.

In July, the GIANT SWALLOWTAIL made its first appearance in Quebec. In eastern Canada, it usually is restricted to southern Ontario.

Also, the PAINTED LADY usually travels as far north as southern Ontario. This summer, it has been in large numbers further north in Quebec. 

Earlier this year, the RED ADMIRAL arrived almost a month ahead of tis normal schedule, and in larger numbers than usually seen.
On April 13, a RED ADMIRAL was observed in Quebec. Previously, the earliest specimen there was dated May 12, 1896.
Numbers of RED ADMIRALS this year, from Windsor, Ontario east to the province of New Brunswick are said to be in the MILLIONS, at about 10 times what would be there during a typical year.       

Earlier here, mention was made of Hawk Ridge in Duluth, Minnesota, and the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in northern Wisconsin.
A Focus On Nature tour is scheduled from October 17 to 27 to include both of those places, along with visits in Wisconsin to the International Crane Foundation, a renowned "Birds in Art" exhibition, and including a wild area in northern Wisconsin, where we will meet with people from the Timber Wolf Alliance in an area where those wild animals live.
For information about this tour, and others upcoming to places such as Brazil, Chile, various Caribbean islandsGuatemala and Costa Rica, please click the link below:


The Birdline (and the Natureline) are affiliates of Focus On Nature Tours.

Armas Hill has presented the Birdline, originally from Philadelphia, on the phone and internet for over 3 decades, and on the radio in Delaware for 10 years.

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