Wolfe's Neck Center has been good to us this fall, so we went back this morning. At the very least, sampling the same "patch" on a weekly basis gives a good perspective on the ebbs and flows of the migration season. That was definitely the case today, as there was a considerable turnover from the past weeks' visits.
One difference was the steady stream of southbound blackbirds overhead today. Some of the 47+ RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS stopped in the garden to feed, but all of the 210 COMMON GRACKLES and the flock of 40+ mixed blackbirds continued on. However, the highlight for most today were the two blackbirds that were not on the go: a pair of snazzy RUSTY BLACKBIRDS that cooperatively fed in the open, often in full sun.
The "sparrow garden" had many fewer birds today than in past weeks, as expected, but we improved our totals behind the barns. In all, we tallied 100+ SONG SPARROWS, 9 SAVANNAH SPARROWS, 6 SWAMP SPARROWS, and 2 CHIPPING SPARROWS, with sums of 19 DARK-EYED JUNCOS and 16 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS mostly along the wooded edges as usual.
19 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were in the various fields, joined by 2 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. One AMERICAN PIPIT flew over us, but continued on. The HORNED LARK landed, but we never did relocate it. Two RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS and a few BLUE JAYS put on a show in the morning sun as they foraged on acorns crushed by vehicles on the campground road. 10 AMERICAN ROBINS were consuming Multiflora Rose.
A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD stood guard, while two GREAT BLUE HERONS stalked fish in the creek. 9 BONAPARTE'S GULLS foraged along the incoming tideline, while 2 LAUGHING GULLS were still lingering on the mudflats with HERRING and RING-BILLED GULLS.
Meanwhile, the waters are becoming much more active. After last week's single BUFFLEHEAD, at least 40 were present today. Two RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and our first two HORNED GREBES of the fall had arrived, with AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS increasing to 18.