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Monhegan Migration Report No. 2

A Gentle Rain of Cape May Warblers (and Actual Rain)

September 25, 2018  |  by Bryan Pfeiffer  |  no comments yet  | 

No birdwatcher has any business denigrating Yellow-rumped Warblers. In their time and place, which is nearly anytime and anyplace here in Monhegan Island, “rumps” bring us buttery joy. But there comes a time every fall when “butter-butts” overrun the place.

That day will come soon. Until then, however, we shall rejoice at our finding more Cape May Warblers than Yellow-rumped Warblers on Monhegan. Never have I seen more Cape Mays during fall migration. They’re feeding mostly in white spruce, like that male above at Burnt Head, with the sea below rather than the sky above as the blue backdrop.

One tip for birders out here is to learn how not to look at a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Ignore the dry chip and the sweet seep. Resist pointing your binos to that warbler in plain sight. That bayberry shrub full of warblers? Yeah, they’re all yellow-rumps.

To be sure, you’ll find your share. And you dare not disregard them. But when you learn to judiciously avoid yellow-rumps, you’ll find the other warblers, the precious warblers — Prairie, Blackburnian, Palm and Mourning, for example — which are now on Monhegan now in low numbers. (Even some of the Cape Mays left town today.)

Meanwhile, other highlights include Yellow-billed Cuckoo at the Ice Pond, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher at the Underhill Trail, a Yellow-breasted Chat by the brewery and lots of Sharp-shinned Hawks this morning (plus a few Cooper’s Hawks). Overall, it’s fairly tranquil here, with gentle rainfall this evening. We’ll get more birds once the winds turn in our favor — out of the north or northwest — probably on Thursday.

Until then, I’ll do what I love on Monhegan: wander, think, and chat with residents and some of the other interlopers like me. Oh, and I’ll forever enjoy the Monarchs here in migration, along with those that do not yet have their wings. Click any image for a bigger view. And find all the Monhegan updates atop my blog.

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