Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 21: Flocks of Flickers

On this eve of the Autumnal Equinox, fall is making its arrival felt. For the first time I noticed a few patches of red amid the green carpeting the Mount Megunticook ridge. Mornings are chilly. And migrating flickers are everywhere. I think I saw or heard one every time I went out the office door. I heard them while enjoying lunch on a friend's porch in the lovely late summer sun in Rockport. I saw their white-patched rumps bobbing into the bushes here and there as I ran errands and watched one eating berries from a bush at one stop. And to top it off this flicker-full day, a friend sent me a beautiful photo he'd recently taken of a flicker:
Photo by Karl Gerstenberger: kegerstenberger.zenfolio.com
Derek Lovitch, a bird biologist based in Freeport, keeps track of migrating birds passing over Sandy Point, on Cousins Island in Yarmouth. He actually counts everything he sees each morning he's there. His previous high count of flickers on a single morning during fall migration was 105. This morning's total, during what Derek refers to as an "EPIC, Record-shattering Sandy Point Morning Flight": 1,092! Flickers made up the highest percentage of all the birds that flew over, with 334 cedar waxwings bringing up a distant second. So flickers are on the move en masse, and the falcons are right behind them... Can you feel that energy in the air?

Last day of summer.
Flocks of flickers flee the fall,
falcons on their tails.

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