Early November at Turkey Point
For many U.S. birders, November is considered “rarity month”. It’s a month that consistently produces high numbers of rare vagrants that find themselves off course, sometimes by thousands of miles. “High numbers” and “rarity” might sound contradictory here, but the number of rarities is a collective total consisting of many species. The possibilities seem endless at this time of year!
One exciting rarity that showed up here in early November was an Ash-throated Flycatcher. This species is typically found in arid environments in the western US, but they occasionally stray eastward. This was both a first for the count and a first for Cecil County, Maryland!
Golden Eagles were another highlight of early November. A pair of them showed up at Turkey Point on the 6th, putting on a show as they soared higher and higher before departing southeast. These magnificent beasts are always a treat to observe. Another Golden was seen on the 13th as well.
A few warblers lingered into early November including Nashville, Cape May, and Tennessee Warblers. Also late was a Northern Rough-winged Swallow that was hanging around during the first week of November. With its exposure to the sun and updraft from the cliffs, Turkey Point is an excellent site for lingering Swallows to find insects flying late into the season.
One of our most conspicuous non-bird migrants we track – Monarchs – were also seen in early November. In 2021, 999 Monarchs were tallied and 591 were tallied in 2022. This season’s total of just 247 is notably lower than the previous two seasons. Unfortunately, Turkey Point was not the only count site where this seemed to be the case as both the Dans Rock count and Cape May, New Jersey also saw fewer numbers this fall.
We saw what was likely the last Dickcissel of the season on the 4th. This brings the season total to 11 – not too shabby for a species that was essentially extirpated east of the Appalachians a few decades ago. Dickcissels have made a big comeback over the years, but they are not a common breeder in Maryland. We tend to see more on the East Coast during fall migration, presumably of a midwestern origin. Their comeback as breeders in the east is likely due to this west-east migration.
Two additional species new for the count were Long-tailed Duck and Sandhill Crane. Both species appeared on November 13th. The first fifteen days of November alone surpassed all months yet this season with a total of 31,297 birds!
Birding aside, November has also brought colder temps and beautiful skies! Many mornings have started with a beautiful sunrise such as this one on the 6th.
It has been a pleasure to spend this fall at Turkey Point and I look forward to seeing what the remaining days of the season will bring along! If you’re local, consider making a visit to the Point or follow Trektellen for live updates. You never know what will turn up!
Thanks for reading,