Well, that was fun! We had a delightful and productive fall visit to one of our favorite seasonal locales today.
GREAT BLUE HERONS and PINE SISKINS stole the show today. First, the herons: there were 4, but one was foraging in a pasture only about 20-30 feet away. Discussing the foraging strategy of seeking voles in the uplands, we watched in anticipation. We got quiet as the heron stopped, stalked, and waited. Seconds later it struck and snagged a MEADOW VOLE by its neck. The struggle - yeah, it was a little tough to watch as we were close enough to see the expression on the vole's face - ended in a few seconds, and the heron quickly gulped down its hearty breakfast.
As for the siskins: they're here! As we have recently predicted, they are starting to arrive, and today, we had a number of large flocks zipping by, and a handful landing in the farm for a few weed seeds before continuing on. With flocks between 10 and about 75, we tallied an impressive 259. Hopefully some will start hanging out at feeders!
Earlier, a nice view of a RUSTY BLACKBIRD helped kick off the outing, with another highlight being a tardy NASHVILLE WARBLER. Four AMERICAN PIPITS flew low overhead, and a few NORTHERN FLICKERS were in visible migration as they hugged the shoreline.
But despite all of that excitement, we were really here for sparrows, and they did not disappoint either! In all, we estimated about 100 SAVANNAH SPARROWS and 60+ SONG SPARROWS, teasing out at least 4 SWAMP SPARROWS, 1 CHIPPING SPARROW, and enjoyed a great look at a single LINCOLN'S SPARROW. Later, we heard at least one WHITE-THROATED SPARROW to add to the list.
A single GRAY CATBIRD is getting late, while 2 lingering LAUGHING GULLS are more usual here. 8 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS included a few overhead in Morning Flight, 2 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS worked the fields, 2 active RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS had their usual challenge in sitting still, a COMMON RAVEN soared overhead, and a lone KILLDEER lingered at the water's edge.