Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fall Migration Update: 200 and Up

With late July has come relief from the blistering heat of the first three weeks.  Ludlow G. doesn't take the heat well any longer, so he's in a fall mood.  Sure enough, we have had some fall-like days, and with them a first influx of shorebirds and dispersal of post-breeding egrets and ibis.  For two weeks now small groups of Least Sandpipers have been at Great Meadows, and all the ones I have been able to see up close have been worn adults.  This morning (July 30) I found three worn Leasts with a very tattered Pectoral, looking for all the world like their bigger brother.  Two Blue-Winged Teal have been seen my many, and a single immature Green-Winged has been spotted by a few.  Immature Black-Crowned Night Herons arrived last week, along with (briefly) an adult and an immature Glossy Ibis. Also last week, for two days small flocks of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs were using the shallow pools along the north side of the lower impoundment.  That is, until the water level rose.

Water levels at Great Meadows went down with the drainage almost two weeks ago, but the heavy rains last Friday seemed to have raised it back part way.  But there is another problem:  beavers have rapidly closed off the drainage to the lower impoundment, and the USFWS was going to clear it.  We'll see how that goes!

Incredibly, we had thought our initial goal of 200 species this year was ambitious, but even by the end of May it was looking easily attainable.  And indeed, as of July 30 Ludlow G. has crowd-sourced a list of 198 species.

You read it right: 198 species!  We still have real shorebird season to come (although my expectations aren't high for many rarities), sparrow and vagrant season, and a Concord specialty, errant geese.  I have been thinking it, but now I'll say it: I think we can beat the de-facto local checklist of 220 species.

So, an incentive for 200.  I will send whomever reports #200 their choice of either Ludlow Griscom's Birds of Concord or Griscom and Snyder's Birds of Massachusetts.  Share your birds, all of them, with "Ludlow G." on eBird.

Happy (early) Fall migration.

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