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IN THE BACKYARD : Philadelphia early-October

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Oct 19, 2020 | by Adrian Binns

Fall migrants continue to wing their way through our Philadelphia backyard over the first half of October. I noted the first arrivals of wintering species – Dark-eyed Junco, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and White-throated Sparrows. Irruptive species were projected to show well this winter, and have not disappointed – Purple Finch and Red-breasted Nuthatch came in to feeders, and a flock of Pine Siskins landed briefly to drink from our ground-level pond.

Pine Siskin

Thrushes favor a shadowed corner of my yard, attracted by midges that live in the compost bin sited there. Swainson’s, Gray-cheeked and Wood Thrush all appeared in that corner, cautiously moving out into the open.

Warblers seen early in the month include Tennessee, Black-throated Blue, and Black-throated Green, Common Yellowthroat, and several Northern Parulas. Mid-month migrants included a Nashville and Blackpoll Warblers, American Redstart and a colorful Pine Warbler foraging hungrily on the peanut feeder a few hours one day.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Other species moved through my yard, potentially my last sightings of the year for Red-eyed Vireo, Eastern Phoebe, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Brown Thrasher. Eastern Towhee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Yellow-rumped Warblers should continue for a while.

White-throated Sparrow

I was intrigued by an interesting-looking White-throated Sparrow that sported a white collar, as a result of partial leucism. It spent a day picking millet from the base of the feeders, and I did not see it again.

updated Oct 1-15, 2020

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