North Star Birding Series Species List | August 13, 2018
Tuesday, August 13, 2018, 7:30AM - 9:30AM
Location: James Smith Open Space
Great Blue Heron
Bursts of bird activity characterized this morning's outing, with Black-capped Chickadees feeding in small flocks, Warbling Vireos in family groups with begging fledglings, and adult Chipping Sparrows with fledglings. Singing has virtually stopped for most species, making finding and identifying birds a little more challenging. Swallows may have just departed from the upper valley for the season, as none were noted this morning. Yellow Warblers were feeding among the willows, and were one of the few birds still singing at this point in summer. Two Great Blue Herons flew in and perched in the trees where the formerly active nesting colony was located, simply resting and then flying on. An exciting highlight of the morning was a sighting of a male Lazuli Bunting in excellent morning light, followed by another briefer look at the bird on a closer perch. We also saw two different species of Empidonax flycatchers, one most likely a Gray Flycatcher while the other, very briefly seen, remains a mystery. We discussed the challenges of Empid identification, which is particularly difficult when they stop singing for the season. It was a great chance to study subtle field marks and look for other cluse such as tail slicking style and primary projection. As we walked back to our vehicles, a frenzy of begging revealed a family of Warbling Vireos as well as a female Black-headed Grosbeak in the same cluster of willows. Young birds and dispersing or migrating individuals were a particular highlight today. Join us next Tuesday at Hallam Lake, 7:30am - 10:30am, for more exciting late summer birding!
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong