KC area birders:
Tested my "birds getting blown off the great plains flyway by W/NW winds during the passage of a cold front" theory this morning at Smithville Lake (Clay County, MO). The cold front moved through last night, in a NW to SW direction through our state. This morning, N/NE winds at 5-10 mph had me thinking that it might be an average day, birdwise, at the lake. As far as gulls and terns, that proved to be the case. 70 Ring-Billed Gulls, 8 Caspian Terns (including 1 juv. that was not present on Thursday), and 10 Forster's Terns were seen at the Little Platte Marina.
I decided not to check Camp Branch, Crows Creek and the main body of the lake. Got to thinking that the N/NE winds might have brought some migrant passerines in, so I stopped at the Smoke and Davey Trailhead near the Hwy.. W bridge. Indeed, a nice little mix of migrants were working the wooded area along the first 1/2 mile of the trail. Highlights:
Least Flycatcher-2
Prothonotary Warbler-1 (female, seems late for this species)
Canada Warbler-1 (1st fall female)
Blackburnian Warbler-1 (female)
Northern Parula-3 (drab birds with no breastband, 1st fall females?)
Wilson's Warbler-1 (female)
Yellow Warbler-1 (adult female)
No male warblers here at all...strange mix. Had the female Yellow and female Wilson's in the same view many times for interesting comparisons.
Access #15 kept me entertained for a while (again, strange ratio of female to male birds...wonder if this is typical for late August?):
Least Flycatcher-1
Olive-Sided Flycatcher-1
Nashville Warbler-1 (adult female)
American Redstart-1 (very drab; 1st yr. female)
Magnolia Warbler-1 (another 1st yr. female)
Wilson's Warbler-2 (1 female, 1 male)
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird-10 (enjoying the thistle)
A family of Eastern Wood-Pewees were very active and vocal here. Juvenile Field Sparrows and Eastern Towhees kept things interesting, while the variable plumages of immature Indigo Buntings made me glad that I knew their callnotes...
Nice morning and it felt good to get on some songbirds for a change.
Good Birding,
Doug Willis
Liberty, MO
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