[CT Birds] Morning Flight and Bluff conclusion

David Provencher davidprovencher at sbcglobal.net
Sun Aug 29 21:27:12 EDT 2010

Not all species do Morning Flight. Most Warblers do. Ovenbirds don't as an
example. But as in all things natural, that is not an absolute. Orioles do,
Tanagers do, R-b Grosbeaks do. Red-breasted Nuthatches do, etc. The period
that it happens at Bluff peaks in the first hour and a half of daylight but
continues in a desultory way through late morning. If you get there after
the sun has been up for an hour though, you'll have missed 90% or more of
it. The birds come out fast and most will get by unidentified. It is damn
near impossible to id 30 birds flying 20 to 200 feet over head all at once,
You get about 4 or 5 seconds at most to do it. Sometime the movement is
insane. After 10 days of rain in 1994, we had a day when many tens of
thousands of birds went through, including over 4,000 Northern Flickers.
That was probably the biggest movement I have ever seen there. The birders
present were actually flinching as bird flooded right between us like
feathered darts aimed at our heads! If you go on a good day it can be
overwhelming. I have seen many birders just walk away from it because it was
too much to deal with and they weren't able to actually look at any of birds
for more than seconds. And if it is too windy, the birds come out very high
and are almost entirely unidentifiable to species. I have seen thousands fly
out on such days and been only able to call a minute fraction. Those are
frustrating days indeed. On a good day it is something to behold though, and
it makes you wonder what it would have been like a hundred years ago, when
there were so many more birds.


I hope some of this is useful, I tried to be brief and I could have gone
into a great deal more detail but I don't have time right now and I suspect
many of you are glad of that!   Good birding everyone.


Dave Provencher

Naturally New England


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