Bird Wave!

The last three days have been busy on Southeast Farallon Island! On October 1st, the weather suddenly changed, and birds have been raining from the sky ever since. We’ve been running to keep up with the migrant wave. What a change from last week!

In the last three days, 16 species of warblers arrived, including Magnolia, Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, Palm, Tennessee, Canada, Chestnut-sided, American Redstart, and Ovenbird. We’ve also had a Bobolink, Clay-colored Sparrow, and, rarest of all, an Evening Grosbeak this morning (the last one occurred here in 1979). We banded most of these birds, and I got a chance to play with my new macro camera lens.

It’s pretty weird to see these birds picking around on rocky cliffs or crammed together in one of the three trees on the island. They often land first on the lighthouse, on its railings, or even clinging to its vertical cement walls. Overall, about 60 species arrived in this wave. Most of them will probably be gone tomorrow: the wind shifted back north this afternoon, the clouds blew out, and we’re forecast for two days of slow conditions before another front hits on Wednesday.

3 replies
  1. Denise Hamilton
    Denise Hamilton says:

    Great pics of great birds (but do feel sorry for the birds ending up way out in the ocean!) Interesting about the Evening Grosbeak- there have been several reports from North Bay Birds about seeing some (can’t remember from past years if this is unusual or not.)

    Last year, I believe, there was a camera set out there on the island somewhere, that we could go online to watch through….and we were to report any birds that we had seen. Is that still up and working? Ever heard of such a thing?

  2. Moineau16
    Moineau16 says:

    Your pictures are amazing, thanks for sharing with us. I remember spotting the Farallons from Marin county a few years ago, and wondering what a different world it must be out there :)

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