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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ever see a bird in the moon?

When I first heard that you could see migrating birds at night by training your scope on the moon, I was hesitant to believe it. The moon only covers a few degrees of the overall sky, so what are the chances that the flight path of any given nocturnal migrant will pass through it? Plus, will they even be visible if they do? Well, tonight for the first time, I witnessed this amazing phenomenon. Better yet, I digiscoped 2 video clips of what are probably Swainson's Thrushes or Gray-cheeked Thrushes flying across the path of the moon. Here they are:
video video
The migration tonight is VERY heavy, as it's been very warm here the past few weeks. I have a feeling this cold front has "opened the floodgates". In probably 15 minutes of listening I heard the following (approx. counts):

Swainson's Thrush- 50
Gray-cheeked Thrush- 20
Warbler/sparrow spp- 20
Wood Thrush- 2
Green Heron- 1

If you've not witnessed a nocturnal migration event, get out and do it. And to help you learn the calls, buy the incredible Evans and O'Brien nocturnal flight calls CD-ROM. What a resource!

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