What’s been seen: It was a quiet month for bird sightings on the beach proper, for a variety of reasons, including heavy human usage (we finally got some beach days) and the remnants of a hurricane. (Note to the wannabe birder: The aftermath of a storm is a great time to look for vagrant, wandering, or otherwise displaced birds.) Reports of stray shorebirds came in, but for the most part the action was around the southern part of the town. Straits Pond continued to stay busy as egrets and other waders began to mass for migration south early in the month, with as many as four great egrets and eight snowy egrets reported at any given time. Five blue-winged teals arrived on Aug. 18, migrant ducks slightly out of range, but the big numbers were in the semipalmated sandpipers, small, relatively nondescript shorebirds making their way south. Sixty-one appeared on Aug. 18, 32 on the 24th, mirroring (or perhaps mixing with) 58 seen on the Weir River Inner Estuary on the 25th. That site also hosted a passing American kestrel on the 13th, a once regular visitor now in major decline in the East.
What to expect this month: If you haven’t seen an osprey along the Weir River this summer and want to, it’s now or never for 2021. By Sept. 15, the remaining family members – dad and the kids – will start to find their way south. The youngsters may linger for a few days, as they figure out this whole “winter here – summer there” thing, but will soon be on their way. The same goes for ruby-throated hummingbirds. If you continue to see hummingbirds at your feeders after Oct. 1, check them closely; they may be birds that got lost on migration. And that word – migration – is the buzzword for September. Everything will be in motion for the month, ducks, geese, songbirds, shorebirds, raptors, and more, making the fall a great time to get out and explore the beautiful peninsula we share with these marvelous creatures.
Caption: Double-crested cormorants like this one will soon give way to their larger “cousins,” great cormorants, as fall migration gets underway. (John Galluzzo photo)