Tuesday, September 16, 2008

FOF or Arrival of First of Fall Migrants

Today (September 16) is Independence Day in Mexico, and I celebrated the day by birding a bit. My route took me to the road between Santa Clara del Cobre and Zirahuen. I'd been on the road once or twice but those trips didn't allow for stopping. I got a late start - 11:00 AM - so my expectations weren't high. Nonetheless, it was a good day in the field. The list of 34 species seen/heard is at the end of this note.
This Cooper's hawk started my day!
My first bird of the day was a juvenile Cooper's hawk sitting about 10 feet from the road in clear view. I wasn't going fast and managed to stop for several long minutes of binocular viewing head to toe and front to back. Other than Turkey vultures, I don't see many raptors here so this was a pleasant start to the day. Made me wonder if migration was underway....

About 3 miles from Santa Clara, there are several pullouts in the pine-oak forest. The hillside drops on one side of the road, allowing for closer views into the canopy. When I find spots like this, my neck is everso grateful.

By the end of the day, I marked two other birds as FOF - First of Fall migrants. In the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, spring is a time for rejoicing the return of birds for the breeding season. Sighting reports on AKBirding and Tweeters are often noted as "FOS" for First of Spring.
Today I rejoiced in the return of birds that visited and bred in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Because I haven't been able to get my hands on data about the status and distribution of birds in the Lake Patzcuaro area, I am keeping my own records. My new acronym is FOF. Migration here is a reversal of how I experienced migration up north. Today was springtime in autumn.
The two additional FOF birds were:
Black-throated Gray Warbler (Dendroica nigrescens)

Sketch by Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927) American ornithologist and illustrator

Townsend's warbler (Dendroica townsendi)

Species seen/heard (not in taxonomic order):

Cooper's hawk (first bird seen

Turkey vulture

Loggerhead shrike

Lesser goldfinch

Mexican jay

Canyon towhee

Yellow-eyed junco

Vermillion flycatcher

Eastern bluebird

Cassin's kingbird

Rufous-capped brushfinch

Olive warbler

Acorn woodpecker

Slate-throated redstart

Berylline hummingbird

White-eared hummingbird

Magnificent hummingbird

Blue-throated hummingbird

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Allen's hummingbird (orange-red central throat spot seen, wings shorter than tail) - female

House sparrow

Chipping sparrow

Curve-bill thrasher

Collared x Rufous-sided towhee

Botteri's sparrow

Barn swallow

Bullock's oriole - female

Greater pewee

Black-throated Gray warbler

Inca dove

Rock dove

Great-tailed grackle

Northern flicker

Townsend's warbler (last bird of the day)

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