Opening week to Dan’s Rock Morning Flight Count! – 8/01/2022
After successfully launching the Turkey Point Bird Count last year, MD Biodiversity Project is back at it this fall with another new migration count in MD, this time in the Appalachians on the Allegany Front in western Maryland. Dan’s Rock sits 2,900 feet up on an eastward-facing cliff face overlooking a valley below. It’s going to be interesting to watch this count through the season and compare data to Tukey Point 150 miles to the east.
August 1st kicked off with temps in the mid-60s and the mountaintop shrouded in with fog. Winds were stiff out of the west and did provide a trickle of migrants. Yellow and Tennessee Warblers flew south past the rock along with a handful of southbound Barn Swallows and Chimney Swifts. The highlight of the day came a little later in the morning when an Upland Sandpiper called twice up in the fog. Winds had a more northwesterly component the following morning with no fog bringing more migrants past the rock. 3 Tennessee Warblers, 2 Black-and-white Warblers, 2 Black-throated Green Warblers and an Ovenbird made a nice showing throughout the morning. It’s still early for this number of Tennessee Warblers, but in recent years numbers of adults have started moving south as early as late July. This is likely a sign of a strong nesting season and it should be another excellent fall for Tennessee Warblers.
August 3rd brought more northwesterly winds and another light push of migrants. Tennessee and Black-throated Green Warblers made a nice showing once again along with the 5 American Redstarts and the season’s first Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and 2 Worm-eating Warblers. A Cerulean Warbler zipped over the rocks later in the morning making it the first of the season. For a species that is a scarce migrant most anywhere, Cerulean Warblers might be fairly regular past the rock in the early season given the mountainous location of Dan’s Rock.
The following two days brought winds out of the west and southwest with fewer migrants. A few warblers still trickled by along with steady numbers of southbound Cedar Waxwings, Barn Swallows, and Chimney Swifts.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were also on the move up at the rock with several mornings tallying up to 4 birds. Interestingly, many were flying north along the ridge compared to the southbound path of other species. It’s hard to know for sure, but this could be some sort of northbound dispersal as young or adult birds move north briefly in search of better feeding areas before migrating south in a couple weeks’ time.
Be sure to check back for more updates from Dan’s Rock as the count continues.
Thanks for reading!