IN THE BACKYARD : Philadelphia early-September
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September is peak time for many of our breeding warblers to pass through the Philadelphia area. On the back of a several days with north winds, we witnessed a feeding frenzy on the 15th with 9 warbler species – Black-and-white, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Cape May, American Redstart and Northern Parula, all flitting about amongst the winterberry, chokeberry, cranberry bush, mulberry, maple and oaks.
Other migrants included Red-eyed Vireo and two flycatchers, an Eastern Wood-Pewee along with the briefest look at was almost certainly a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, a first record for the yard, number 123. As often happens, it occurred during a brief flurry of warbler activity that included a sighting of our second record of Blue-winged Warbler.
Over the last month we have certainly had a good number of immature Ruby-throated Hummingbirds pay a visit to the yard. At times as many as four that could be separated by patterns on the throat, and as expected, by the middle of the month the numbers had dwindled. One evening a couple of Common Nighthawks were seen at dusk, these like the Ruby-throats are some of the last of their species to move through our area, as they head south for the winter months.
A number of our residents are molting, this being most evident amongst the American Goldfinches, Carolina Wrens and Northern Cardinals some of which look very scruffy. Juvenile House Sparrows, Mourning Doves, Northern Cardinals and Song Sparrows are still being fed by busy parents.
With plenty of sunshine, butterflies including Monarch, Common Buckeye, Silver-spotted Skipper, Red-spotted Purple and a few skippers enjoyed fluttering about the yard and feeding on the sedum and buddliea.
updated Sept 1-15, 2020