Many More Migrants!!!
October 26, 2012
On the 7th, we captured an apparently pure Yellow-shafted Flicker female and at the same time a male Flicker Intergrade. On the Farallones, pure Yellow-shafted Flickers are a bit rarer than intergrades, but usually average about one a year. Note how the intergrade on the left has a bit of orange on the underwings, a red and black malar mark, and blue and brown on the face. The yellow-shafted has pure yellow underwings and an entirely brown face and throat.
This same day we captured a juvenile male Black-throated Blue Warbler, which was still present the following day. Check out those pointed rects (AKA, tail feathers)!
A nicely overcast day on the 11th and 12th brought lots of new birds, dominated mostly by a huge influx of Red-breasted Nuthatches and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. The vegetation around the mistnets was swarming with these guys and kept us all very busy. On the 11th we estimated there were at least 40 of these kinglets, and on the 12th, our estimate was 78!
The highlights of the day, though, were the island’s 3rd record of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and 6th record of Evening Grosbeak! Both birds were first seen at the lighthouse. The sapsucker was not seen elsewhere, but the grosbeak eventually flew into our mistnet. Luckily, a camera was handy at the lighthouse to document these birds as soon as they landed because you never know if they will be seen again. For the sapsucker, there was a bit of indecision at first as to whether it was a Yellow-bellied or Red-naped, because, despite the lack of red on the nape, we were uncertain as to whether a juvenile Yellow-bellied could begin its pre-formative molt this early. Thankfully, several sapsucker experts viewed the photos and concurred that it was a probably a pure Yellow-bellied. Furthermore, an article by Mlodinow et al. (Birding, 2006), pointed out that nearly all Red-naped Sapsuckers have a red nape by October 1st.
The Evening Grosbeak was an adult male!
We also found our first Purple Finches of the season. Here’s an adult male that was present with 4 streaky birds that were either females or immature males.
In addition to birds, we caught our 2nd Hoary Bat of the season!
Also nice to see was a late Ash-throated Flycatcher.
And our first Swamp Sparrow of the year was bopping about our yard:
On the 13th, the clouds broke and the winds started blowing out of the northwest, but we continued to get good numbers of birds and even a couple rarities showed up. During the morning pelican survey, we spotted an adult Brown Booby perched on Sugarloaf Islet. Apparently, this bird was seen the previous day at Pt. Reyes. The last person to see it said it was heading southwest, “perhaps in the direction of the Farallon Islands.” Nice guess! With the gannet on Sugarloaf too, we had a two Sulid day! How many times has that happened in California?
The 14th to the 16th saw many landbirds depart. A few lingering birds provided nice photos. Western Meadowlarks usually arrive during October and many can hang around to over-winter.
On the 17th, the weather began to improve and several more arrivals found the island. Brown Creepers are uncommon fall migrants on the island.
An Ovenbird was also a nice find.
Late in the day, this juvenile Brown Booby rode up to the island on a fishing boat. While it was approaching, we thought it might be a Red-footed Booby. The sharply cut hood across the breast and the white mottling on the underwings clearly identified this bird as a Brown Booby. Three species of Sulid in one day on the Farallones will have to happen some other day.
Lastly, on the 19th, the longspur that had been poorly seen the previous two days was photographed and identified as a Lapland.