A TYPICAL FALL DAY AT LIGHTHOUSE POINT
Yesterday was hazy, hot and uncomfortably humid. Last night it turned very windy and this morning by sunrise it was only 47 degrees. Weather patterns like this produce wonderful displays of migration from September through November. Lighthouse Point in New Haven is one of the best migration hotspots in New England and that is where I headed. Two small falcons, American Kestrels darting across the field were the first birds I saw as I entered the park. They were soon followed by Harriers, Sharpshins, Merlin and Osprey. But hawks were not the only birds migrating by the Point. Flocks of Bobolinks and Cedar Waxwings flew high overhead as well as an occasional hummingbird at eye level. One unbelievable day in early September an amazing 450 hummingbirds were counted passing through! Warblers also pass through the Point especially early in the morning, still moving after a night of migrating. Their journey is equally as impressive if not as conspicuous as the larger hawks. Take the Blackpoll Warbler that weighs less than a half ounce. As Scott Weidensaul puts it “You could mail two of them for the cost of a first class stamp”. The Blackpoll we see may have already migrated 3000 miles across Canada from its streamside thicket home in Alaska and that just may have been the easy part. Many of them will strike out over the open ocean from our coast here on a journey that will carry them southward at altitudes of 5000 feet or more. They will pass over Bermuda and not touch ground till they reach Venezuela some 2000 more miles away!!
Blackpoll Warbler ©JimZipp.com
As I watch the hummingbird hover over the feeder on my porch I try to imagine that tiny bundle of feathers weighing little more than a penny flying nonstop for over 600 miles across the Gulf of Mexico. A simple change of wind direction or weather could spell disaster.
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird ©JimZipp.com
Join us for one of our trips to witness this falls migration at Lighthouse Point. See our calendar of events for details.