Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let the Migration Begin

With temperatures in the area still in the 90Fs, it is hard to think about winter weather at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest.  However, birds are already succumbing to the urge to fly south.  The first American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) of the fall season was spotted near #106, but the male remained hidden by the foliage and moved too quickly to be caught on camera.

Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) A012 is still foraging in the upland area near his swamp territory, but other unbanded Prothonotary Warblers are in the denser habitat at the swamp's edge near #114 on the boardwalk.  Being unbanded, it's not known if these birds have moved to the edge of the swamp from territories deeper in the swamp or if they are merely making Beidler Forest a stop on their way to Central America.

Prothonotary Warbler - Mark Musselman
Whether the Prothonotary Warblers were local residents or not, they were not welcomed by the resident Carolina Wren.  Both the male and female that we observed were aggressively chased by a vocal Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus).  As has been observed in many a household, only the individual at the bottom of the pecking order is without a target for their displeasure.  After receiving his scolding, the male Prothonotary Warbler made it his mission to chase a lone Louisiana Waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla) from the area.  Meanwhile, amid the noise of the Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) and the Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor), a Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) quietly foraged for a meal along a tree trunk.

Black-and-white Warbler - Mark Musselman
Elsewhere along the boardwalk, a Barred Owl (Strix varia) preened while perched on a branch near the boardwalk and a Banded Water Snake took advantage of the midday sun.

Banded Water Snake - Mark Musselman
Carolina Wren nest UPDATE:  During the night, an unknown predator made off with the five chicks.  Carolina Wrens have made a nest in the cigarette waste container in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2012.  Only the 2010 nest fledged chicks.  A 25% success rate sounds low, but birds can have multiple nesting attempts each breeding season and 4-5 chicks will fledge from a wren nest.  The adults only need two of their chicks (from any of their breeding seasons) to reach adulthood in order to replace themselves.  There are enough chicks to reach this goal and provide meals to other animals of the forest.

No comments: