Saturday Morning Birdwalks returned this morning with a bang! On the first day of the return to the old format, we immediately took advantage of the flexibility afforded by meeting at the store at 8:00am instead of a pre-arranged location. And on day one, we entered "Sandy Point Protocol" as there was a very good Morning Flight underway after a strong overnight migration.
So as per protocol, Jeannette met the group at 8:00 at the store, and delivered the caravan arrived at Sandy Point for me to take over. In the next 2 hours, we had a nice sample of the three "types" of birding here: morning redetermined migration overhead, migrants pausing around the brush of the parking lot, and we finished with a very active mixed-species foraging flock that had settled into the woods.
AMERICAN REDSTARTS (20+) and NORTHERN PARULAS (10+) led the way, as they did during the course of this morning's flight. Between birds zipping overhead, foraging in the brush, and encountered here and there as we wandered, we quickly tallied over 40 species. RED-EYED VIREOS (11) were one of the most common birds in the woods, while GRAY CATBIRDS (30+) were downright abundant in the powerline cut. RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES (5) continued to grow our hopes of a big "winter finch" year. A BROWN THRASHER at the edge of the powerlines was unexpected here and it's also nice to get a good look at a BAY-BREASTED WARBLER.
Our list of birds on this very busy morning also included: 4 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 3 surprisingly well-seen SWAINSON'S THRUSHES, 3 LEAST FLYCATCHERS, 3 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS, 3 OSPREYS, 3 MERLINS, 2 EASTERN PHOEBES, 2 YELLOW WARBLERS, 2 RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS, and at least one of each of the following migrants: PHILADELPHIA VIREO, WARBLING VIREO, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, VEERY, BLACKPOLL WARBLER, CHIPPING SPARROW, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, EASTERN KINGBIRD, BLUE-HEADE VIREO, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, and a PINE WARBLER.
Not too shabby!