The HMBC fall migrant field trip at The Albany Pine Bush Preserve this morning got off to a busy start. We had only just reached the trailhead when the group encountered a nice mixed flock of warblers. Cape May, Tenneessee, Northern Parula, Magnolia and Bay-breasted Warblers were among the birds foraging in birch and cherry trees. Thereafter, we alternated lulls and quick bursts of birds. A nice surprise for many, and a life bird for at least one participant, was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo hopping slowly through the upper branches of an oak tree.
The original plan of doing the full 3-mile loop trail around Karner Barrens East was abandoned about two hours into the trip, due to the time it took to sort through all the birds we were seeing- a nice problem to have! The group agreed to turn around when we reached the open area by the stump pond in the vicinity of the landfill. No sooner had we started to retrace our path than a second Yellow-billed Cuckoo was observed in the open, in excellent lighting, capturing and consuming caterpillars.
On the return journey we had occasional flurries of birds but things had quieted down for the most part. Pitch pine/scrub oak denizens such as Eastern Towhee and Red-breasted Nuthatch were quite vocal and visible. All the expected woodpecker species were present. Migrating vireos included Blue-headed and Red-eyed. The final warbler list consisted of:
Thanks to everyone that turned up this morning! We had good luck running into so many foraging flocks, and I heard several “warbler-neck” comments by the end of the trip. I hope to see you all on future HMBC trips!