[CT Birds] Bluff Point 10/23 - amazing flight

Glenn Williams gswilliams9 at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 23 12:17:44 EDT 2011

from Glenn Williams:
10/23 - Groton, Bluff Point State Park -- late PHILADELPHIA VIREO, DICKCISSEL, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, 7 PURPLE FINCH  An estimated 31,000 birds, predominantly sparrows and kinglets.  

Some standout numbers: 105 Hermit Thrush, 10,000 White-throated Sparrows, 3000 juncos, 1600 kinglets  Complete list is below.

As for the numbers - it was a little overwhelming from 7am until 7:50am.  The birds came in a relentless and unabated stream with waves of single species flocks.  It was a constant conflict - just put the binoculars down and get a handle on the big picture, or keep scanning for individual goodies.  I tried to do both.  Even counting by naked eye, it was hard to keep track.  The White-throated Sparrows and Hermit Thrushes came out very low, juncos generally behind or at me,
 and kinglets through the trees.  Some birds were very high or going down the main road.  I was almost hit by birds twice and the hot corner flora shook with bird-life at times.  A typical one minute sample was about 400 birds.  Over the 50 minutes of heavy activity, that comes out to 20,000 birds.  A good flight continued for 55 more minutes.  During that period, a random one minute sample had 400 White-throated Sparrows alone, and they continued to stream steadily for ten minutes after that - and this was during declining numbers.  About 1000 birds were in and around the hot corner after 9am - mostly White-throated Sparrows, but there were still birds leaving through the "hot corner" at10:30am.  About 10,000 birds are unaccounted for between my estimate of 31,000 and the approximate 21,000 below.  I suspect the individual species numbers are under counted.

50 species (+3 other taxa)

Canada Goose  65
Mute Swan  9
Mallard  3
Common Loon  1
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  60
Osprey  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Herring Gull  45
Mourning Dove  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  7
Northern Flicker  8
Eastern Phoebe  12
Blue-headed Vireo  6
Philadelphia Vireo  1
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  7
Tree Swallow  12
Black-capped Chickadee  8
Tufted Titmouse  5
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Carolina Wren  3
House Wren  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet  700
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  500
kinglet sp.  400
Eastern Bluebird  2
 Thrush  1
 Thrush  105     55 doing morning flight, 50 more inside the north part 
of the park.  They were actually in small flocks.  I saw 11 at one time 
at the "hot corner", 15 together inside the park, and several groups of 5-10.
American Robin  85
Gray Catbird  2
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  40
Common Yellowthroat  2
American Redstart  1
Northern Parula  1
Blackpoll Warbler  1
Black-throated Blue Warbler  1     adult male
Palm Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  260
warbler sp.  10
Eastern Towhee  8
Chipping Sparrow  7
Savannah Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  40
Swamp Sparrow  45
 Sparrow  10000     undercounted - random one minute samples included 
400-500 birds and numerous waves went through during morning flight
Dark-eyed Junco  3003     numerous waves of 50-125 birds, only 3 found in the park after morning flight
sparrow sp.  6000
Dickcissel  1
Red-winged Blackbird  5
Purple Finch  7

Glenn Williams

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