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Autumn Migration Season in 3 Parts.

November 17, 2012

I like to divide autumn migration up into 3 parts.  This is rather simplistic, but there’s a general pattern to the waves of migrants that come through Ohio.

Part 1 – September Warblers

Of course there’s much more than Warblers heading south early in the season.  Some birds are already on the move in August.  But to me, Warblers are rather noticeable and are a highlight of any migration season, even if they’re not quite as colorful as they are in the spring.

Tennessee Warbler

Bay Breasted Warbler

Black Throated Green Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

This Common Yellowthroat Warbler was curious when I made some soft squeaking noises to draw it out

This Yellow Throated Warbler is more often seen in the treetops

An adult male Redstart was quite colorful

A female Redstart, mate of the previous male

Prothonotary Warbler

A Ruby Crowned Kinglet, often seen with Warblers

This Golden Crowned Kinglet was in the Maple Tree out front one morning when I stepped out my door

A female Rose Breasted Grosbeak, another non-Warbler migrant passing through

Part 2 – October Sparrows

As the season moves along, birds that are able to tolerate colder temperatures start coming through.  Sparrows are fairly prominent in October, and most of them eat seeds as well as insects, so they aren’t in such a big hurry as Warblers for example.  They’re not as flashy and they often like to hide out in thickets.

See black and white stripes?  Both White Throated Sparrows and White Crowned Sparrows winter in the US after raising young in Canada in the summer

This Fox Sparrow prefers thickets to hang out in

This Tree Sparrow was my first of the season

This Dark Eyed Junco hangs out across the street from my front door, brightening up the winter for me

This bird may look like a Sparrow at first glance- but it’s a Yellow Rumped Warbler, which is often seen later in the season than other Warblers, often wintering over in Ohio

Part 3 – November Waterfowl

As the season draws to a close, various waterfowl flee the coldest northern weather and appear on bodies of water.  Since I don’t often use a spotting scope or a tripod-mounted camera, waterfowl can be a challenge to get decent pictures of.  There are certain locations where it’s easier to see them, and I’ll check out what types I can spot without a telescope.  I hope to get better photos of these birds to show here one day!

Waterfowl (such as these Ring Necked Ducks and a Pied Billed Grebe) are often seen at a distance

This Black Scoter showed up on a nearby lake after hurricane Sandy- it’s a fairly rare visitor here, migrating from the subarctic to American coastal waters

Autumn seems to be over with fairly quickly.  I wished it stayed around longer!

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2012 1:49 am

    Your photos are lovely! I admire your ability to photograph the small birds! I know that the small species of birds migrate, but at least here it is a very subtle thing, compared to, say, the geese which are big and loud and sometimes seem to fill the sky.

  2. November 18, 2012 11:42 am

    Very nice post. This is our first fall to really spend more time looking at what wildlife passes through Ohio during migration. We’re amazed at how many types of warblers we’ve seen. Expected them to be more challenging to ID this time of the year.

    • November 18, 2012 9:56 pm

      Thanks Robert! Warblers are the highlight of my birding year- I’m glad I see them in both the spring and the autumn (and a few species all summer).

  3. November 18, 2012 1:40 pm

    Just beautiful! What a lovely variety of bird photos, tenderly and respectfully photographed. This shows such patience and skill on your part. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Donna permalink
    November 18, 2012 8:32 pm

    Love all the bird pictures. Being an avid birder, I know that this had to take some time to find and then take the pictures. Thanks for sharing!

    • November 18, 2012 9:59 pm

      Thank you, Donna- so many good bird shots are missed by a split second, I’ve gotten used to it now and only mutter to myself occasionally about the injustice of it all 😉

  5. November 18, 2012 9:57 pm

    Autumn seemed to hurry by this year. You have a great assortment of warblers and sparrows. Three white-throated sparrows arrived here recently. Looking forward to the dark-eyed juncos. Saw my first-ever red-breasted nuthatches this weekend. 🙂

    • November 18, 2012 10:00 pm

      That’s great news, Patti! Those Red-Breasted Nuthatches are great fun, aren’t they! One of life’s pleasures is seeing a new species of bird for the first time 🙂

      You’re right, autumn seems to always go by too fast…

  6. keekeepod permalink
    November 20, 2012 12:32 am

    Thanks to your blog, I know what warblers generally look like 🙂 But, I’m still not good at identifying specific varieties. In September, I found out warblers were migrating when I saved one. The wildlife rescuer said it was a female American Redstart. She was pretty feisty with a broken wing. Obviously, she would miss migration. The upside is she will be kept safe until spring.

    • November 23, 2012 6:56 pm

      That’s great that you took her to a wildlife rescuer! I’ve done this with various and sundry creatures as well. Give them a fighting chance to get better!

  7. November 20, 2012 11:33 am

    A welcome burst of late autumn sunshine. Lovely warblers, too!

  8. November 21, 2012 8:22 am

    Very nice–I don’t think I’ve ever seen some of these birds. Have a great Thanksgiving!

  9. November 24, 2012 6:40 pm

    I like seeing those warblers!

  10. November 25, 2012 11:06 am

    Tracy, you shoot such great photos of birds, always enjoyable!

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