[Tweeters] Battle Ground Night Flight - great fun!

Jim Danzenbaker jdanzenbaker at gmail.com
Sat Sep 6 11:33:44 PDT 2008

Hi Tweeters,

This is the morning that I had been waiting for all season. Last night and
specifically early this morning, the floodgates let loose for Swainson's
Thrushes over my yard in Battle Ground, Clark County. Conservatively, I had
the following:

Swainson's Thrush 375+*
Yellow Warbler 6
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 1
warbler/vireo 6
sparrow 3

The Swainson's Thrushes started at about 9:30 last night and I had about 75
by 10:30. Between 5:20 and 6am this morning, they were flooding over at
about 50 calls per minute. I estimated an individual bird would call once
every 8 seconds (I somehow figured that out last year). Therefore,
250 birds passed over during that 40 minute period. I think the conditions
were perfect last night with clear skies followed by low clouds coming in
before 5am. Who knows how many flew over between midnight and 5am. If one
assumes that they fly over at a constant flow, then add about 650. My main
question about this speces is - do they call more often when descending in
the morning?

However, the fun was not over by sunrise. Given the overcast skies, birds
were dropping in - all morning. Here are some estimates from 3 hours of
back deck birding (35 species total):

American Crow 212 (leaving the local roost)
Pileated Woodpecker 1 (only the third time this year)
Red-shafted Flicker 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
American Robin 45 (many juveniles - the first flock of the fall)
Swainson's Thrush 1 (landed on the deck!)
Willow Flycatcher 1 (attacking a House Finch this time)
Cedar Waxwing 125 (amazing - flocks everywhere - covering treetops)
Warbling Vireo 2
Black-throated Gray Warbler 5 (a daily high count)
Orange-crowned Warbler 3
Yellow Warbler 4
Common Yellowthroat 2
Western Tanager 4
Black-headed Grosbeak 2 (both sub-adult males)
Purple Finch 4
Pine Siskin 4
American Goldfinch 45
Evening Grosbeak 6 (in the waxwing flocks)

For the first time, birds were coming to my water feature:

Black-headed Grosbeak 2
Western Tanager 2
Black-throated Gray Warbler 2
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
American Robin 10
American Goldfinch 6

Keep your eyes and ears skyward.

Jim Danzenbaker
Battle Ground, WA
jdanzenbaker at gmail.com

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