Browsing Bliss Awaits You

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— Bryan

yellow-headed-blackbirdHE FLASHED YELLOW like an autumn sugar maple. When he launched from the meadow, the sun rose a second time over Monhegan Island. And as we left the island Monday for a wild boat ride, this star of fall migration – a young male Yellow-headed Blackbird – was still flying sorties and issuing his kuh-duck flight calls to the departing birdwatchers.

So ends another Monhegan Migration season for me and the birders I escorted to this island off Maine’s midcoast. During my visit from September 13-29, the north winds never brought us big fallouts of warblers. Not once did I spot a shearwater off Monhegan’s rocky high spots. The Minke whales we had been seeing in the middle of the month have become scarce.

No matter. Any autumn visit to Monhegan features perfection of moment. We saw it in a sunrise of flaming peach and orange. We heard it in the eerie howl of a gray seal off the island’s north end. We tasted it in the autumn ales of Monhegan Brewing Company, the coffees at the Black Duck Emporium and the elegant meals at Monhegan House. More than anything, we enjoyed every step across this island in the good company of migrating birds.

It isn’t over, of course. Change came Monday with northeast winds that gave us with a crashing ferry ride back to Port Clyde. Those winds swept away the most pleasant fall warmth I’ve enjoyed in 18 years of birding Monhegan. But with change comes more birds. You can count on it. When the crisp north winds push the next wave of migrating songbirds to Monhegan, I’ll be back here with my students at the University of Vermont.

Below is my bird list: 120 species. It includes 22 warblers, and I missed a few: Blue-winged Warbler, Cerulean Warber (which is big for Monhegan) and Blackburnian Warbler (go figure). One of my rarest finds (besides a Connecticut Warbler) was what was almost certainly a Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina) in flight at Lobster Cove. This southern dragonfly rarely gets to Maine. I’ve found it once before on the island. Oh, the other news is that Monhegan was lousy with Monarchs this fall. Many thanks to Don Reimer, Bill Thompson, Josh Lincoln and Linda Maley for some of these images. Read all my Monhegan Migration updates here.

  • Canada Goose
  • American Black Duck
  • Mallard
  • Blue-winged Teal
  • Wood Duck
  • Common Eider
  • Black Scoter
  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Common Loon
  • Northern Gannet
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Great Cormorant
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron
  • Osprey
  • Bald Eagle
  • Northern Harrier
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • American Kestrel
  • Merlin
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Virginia Rail
  • Semipalmated Plover
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Solitary Sandpiper
  • Greater Yellowlegs
  • Laughing Gull
  • Bonaparte’s Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Black Guillemot
  • Mourning Dove
  • Yellow-billed Cockoo
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Northern Flicker
  • Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
  • Alder/Willow Flycatcher
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Philadelphia Vireo
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Yellow-throated Vireo
  • Blue Jay
  • American Crow
  • Common Raven
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • Brown Creeper
  • Carolina Wren
  • House Wren
  • Winter Wren
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Swainson’s Thrush
  • Veery
  • American Robin
  • Gray Catbird
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Brown Thrasher
  • European Starlings
  • American Pipit
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Tennessee Warbler
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Northern Parula
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Cape May Warbler
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Black-throated Green Warbler
  • Pine Warbler
  • Prairie Warbler
  • Palm Warbler
  • Bay-breasted Warbler
  • Blackpoll Warbler
  • Black-and-white Warbler
  • American Redstart
  • Northern Waterthrush
  • Ovenbird
  • Connecticut Warbler
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Wilson’s Warbler
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Clay-colored Sparrow
  • Lark Sparrow
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Song Sparrow
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Dickcissel
  • Bobolink
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Rusty Blackbird
  • Common Grackle
  • Yellow-headed Blackbird
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Purple Finch
  • American Goldfinch
  • Pine Siskin

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