Skywatch Friday With Migrants

Hey, have you sent in your comments regarding the proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act yet? Don't let it slip away (and yes, I'm gonna be a pest about this).

Well, it's Skywatch Friday again. You can visit their site and click to all the links to every one's photos of sky and if you wish, you can participate by creating your own blog entry with a photo of sky, adding the Skywatch Friday link to your post and then adding your link to their site. As you can see, the vivid blue skies still continue to enhance the gorgeous fall colors at Carpenter Nature Center.

I tell ya', with the all the negatives adds (on all sides) of the upcoming election and news of the economy it's hard not to get down. If you are anywhere near Hastings, MN make a trip to Carpenter, the colors do not disappoint and the grounds full of birds and a few bees give you peace of mind that money just cannot buy. And if you have a few bucks, now is the time to load up on apples from their orchard--Honeycrisps are in and they have apple cider made right on site (I'm enjoying some now as I type this entry).

The bright blue sky, mixes with the changing reds and yellows of the trees to make the perfect back drop for photographing or just enjoying birds. Not that downy woodpeckers are fugly to begin with, but their black and white coloration is oh so enhanced with the fall colors. I don't know if anyone needs a cleansing downy woodpecker, but here you are.

Later, I'll blog more about the banding bonanza that we had at Carpenter today--I banded a lot of birds and I don't think I worked with the same species twice, it was a parade of sparrows, finches, and warblers and note the bird above: I took my first junco (aka snowbird) of the season out of the nets today. I call this my first junco of the season, but it really is not. I have heard there chip notes in the bushes on the bike trail and I have chosen to ignore the blatant sign of winter.

But if we are talking sky, it's only appropriate that we talk about migration and birds that are pouring out of the skies on their journey south. Carpenter was loaded with white-throated sparrows today (like the bird above) so watch for sparrows lurking under your feeders--and it wouldn't hurt to put out a bit of white millet for them. One of my favorite things about the fall are the nights up at Frank's hawk banding station in Duluth and you can hear white-throated sparrows chipping to each other overhead as large flocks head south. Some of my favorite moments in life have included listening to night migrants with friends...I remember laying on a bench in Cape May, NJ a few years ago do that same thing WildBird on the Fly. Good times.

Here's a tan morph of white-throated sparrow. Look at those gorgeous rufous feathers mixed in with other shades of brown on its back--what a classy little brown bird! Speaking of migration, blog reader Tammy sent over this news link from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about night migration:

"Right around sunrise Tuesday morning the NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan radar (MKX) showed some curious circular reflectivity returns. The echoes developed suddenly and then grew in size between 6:45 AM and 7:30 AM. The MKX staff suspects these to be birds taking off right at sunrise. Some of the echoes initially show returns as high as 30 dBZ, which would equate to a decent shower if the returns were made of rain drops. These are likely dense clusterings of geese heading out early to feed in the fields."

You can read the full story and see the radar images here.

So, keep your eyes and your ears to those fall skies!