Fall migration of birds continues to bring visitors into and through our area. Last weekend's cool front brought a number of migrants along with it, including red-eyed and white-eyed vireos and several warbler species, including Northern parula, Tennessee, pine, palm and common yellowthroat.
A quick trip recently to the Conway wastewater treatment ponds yielded pectoral, least and spotted sandpipers along with the omnipresent killdeer contingent. A lone snowy egret was observed, as were a few tree swallows and red-winged blackbirds.
Huntington Beach State Park continues to host roseate spoonbills with as many as six individuals reported around Mullet Pond last week. Other wading birds include good numbers of wood stork, great and snowy egrets, great blue, little blue, tricolored and green herons and white ibis. Shorebirds reported include black-bellied and semipalmated plovers, spotted, semipalmated and least sandpipers, red knot, sanderling, willet and greater yellowlegs.
Migrating passerines are also stopping off in the confines where I live in Conway. Several red-eyed vireos along with a Tennessee warbler have been observed taking advantage of pokeberries and American beautyberries. Flocks of red-winged blackbirds ranging in size from ten to more than fifty individuals have been visiting daily along with a few common grackles. A handful of gray catbirds appeared recently and have been taking advantage of nearly all the offerings including dried mealworms and peanuts. Along with the catbirds a pair of brown thrashers and a Northern mockingbird are also in residence, creating some confrontational situations as all three are mimic thrushes and in competition for the same resources.
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As is the case with many folks in our area, ruby-throated hummingbirds continue to visit my feeders, with two to three individuals observed terrorizing one another throughout the day. A number of other folks have been happy to report these tiny treasures continue in their yards as well. While the majority of these amazing Aves have already made their way through our area, stragglers will continue to come through until the end of October, and a few will choose to remain here throughout winter. It is completely untrue that leaving a hummingbird feeder up will keep the birds from migrating, leaving them stranded for the winter where they'll freeze to death. The biological imperatives that are responsible for their behaviors are much stronger than the allure of any food source, and if it ever gets cold enough in our area to kill a hummingbird, many other birds will have been dead long before a hummer succumbs.