Fall Migration has begun! 8-23-20

August 23, 2020  •  2 Comments

Perhaps you've noticed an uptick in the number of

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in your yards?

 

That cool front brought in more birds. They are being seen sipping nectar from every available source, chasing each other mercilessly and getting in other birds' faces, too. What a fun time to watch them as they exercise those wings to be ready to move on.

 

8-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

8-16-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-16-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 8-16-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-16-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

8-17-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-17-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 8-18-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-18-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 8-18-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-18-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

A long-distance migrant that has nested in our neighborhood is the Mississippi Kite. They are graceful, acrobatic flyers, catching insects like dragonflies, and even bats, on the wing. We've had them land in the very tops of our trees and they've been difficult for us to see there, let alone photograph. I have been hearing them call "Phee-phew!" and found this immature bird in our neighbor's tree. The banded tail is what tells us this is a young bird. They're beautiful, pearly gray, small raptors and are now on their way to South America. Look closely in the last photo to find the tell-tale silhouette.

Learn more here:  Mississippi Kite

 

8-17-20 Mississippi Kite immature8-17-20 Mississippi Kite immature 8-17-20 Mississippi Kite immature8-17-20 Mississippi Kite immature 8-17-20 Mississippi Kite immature8-17-20 Mississippi Kite immature 8-16-20 Mississippi Kite 'kiting' overhead8-16-20 Mississippi Kite 'kiting' overhead

 

American Goldfinches, on the other hand, will be here all year. They have been gorging on the Purple Coneflowers and feeding their brood of fledglings. The youngsters are now learning their way around.

 

8-11-20 American Goldfinch8-11-20 American Goldfinch 8-11-20 American Goldfinch8-11-20 American Goldfinch 8-19-20 American Goldfinch immature8-19-20 American Goldfinch immature 8-19-20 American Goldfinch immature8-19-20 American Goldfinch immature 8-19-20 American Goldfinch immature8-19-20 American Goldfinch immature

 

Carolina Chickadees and Carolina Wrens also are resident birds. They run the place, in case you didn't know. They show the migrating birds by their cheerful calls that they find everything they might need, right here in our Sanctuary.

 

8-8-20 Carolina Chickadee8-8-20 Carolina Chickadee 8-16-20 Carolina Wren8-16-20 Carolina Wren

 

Eastern Phoebes and Common Grackles have also been seen. The Phoebes will move a bit further south for the winter while the Grackles will be in and out all winter. All the birds are getting new feathers in now, being in their summer molt. 

 

8-12-20 Eastern Phoebe immature8-12-20 Eastern Phoebe immature 8-18-20 Common Grackle immature8-18-20 Common Grackle immature

 

 

The first two warblers came in on 8-16-20 and a Black-and-white Warbler followed two days later. They'll be trickling in for the next two months or so. They don't sing like they do in the spring, but they're just as hungry and must eat 35-50% of their body weight in caterpillars and other small insects at each 'rest stop'.

 

8-18-20 FOS Black-and-white Warbler8-18-20 FOS Black-and-white Warbler 8-18-20 FOS Black-and-white Warbler8-18-20 FOS Black-and-white Warbler

 

Monarchs are also in the garden almost daily as they nectar and lay eggs. I found a good-sized caterpillar this morning, munching away on its only food, milkweed leaves. The species that does the best here for them is the Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata).

 

8-9-20 Monarch at Marsh Milkweed8-9-20 Monarch at Marsh Milkweed

8-9-20 Monarch at Marsh Milkweed8-9-20 Monarch at Marsh Milkweed
8-23-20 Monarch Caterpillar on Marsh Milkweed8-23-20 Monarch Caterpillar on Marsh Milkweed

8-23-20 Monarch Caterpillar on Marsh Milkweed8-23-20 Monarch Caterpillar on Marsh Milkweed

 

Enjoy Nature's diversity in these waning days of summer.

 

 


Comments

Hummer Haven UnLtd.
Jean Ann, thanks so much. So many worries we all have, and taking care of this planet is one of mine. You are so good to remind us all that we have many, many people trying to take care of these things right now, under the stress of too many crises at once. Please stay safe and well, everyone.
Margy
Jean Ann Funk(non-registered)
Your blog provides beauty and views of nature that help us temporarally forget the violence, forest fires,
politics, Covid, hurricanes and other disturbing elements going on now
in the USA. It is greatly
appreciated by many.
Bless the first responders, health care workers,
mayors, investigaters, law
enforcers and reporters who
may be in danger while trying
to keep the peace and inform
the citizens.
Keep staying safe.

Thanks, Shady Oaks
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