Sep 08 2011

Warbler Waves

Published by at 6:30 am under Migration

Every clear night brings a new wave of migrants to Mt. Desert Island. 

The warblers I see leaving Maine right now are running late.  They’ve flown south across Canada and are quickly fueling up before continuing their journey west.

West?  At Acadia the Maine coast is an east-west line at the Gulf of Maine.  When the birds reach Mt. Desert they island-hop westward until the coast curls south.

Some Canadian migrants don’t turn soon enough and end up on Nova Scotia.  Surrounded by water, they launch due west over the Gulf of Maine from Halifax to Bar Harbor. 

On the Whale Watch I’ve seen solitary robins and hummingbirds flying hard toward the Acadia mountains, dimly visible in the distance.  They’ve almost reached land by the time I see them from the boat near Mt. Desert Rock.  Only 25 miles to go.

Fortunately, most of the birds don’t travel over open water.  Instead they hug the coast in mixed flocks and make the journey in easy stages. 

Each warbler wave is here for a short while.  Soon they’ll all be gone.

(photo of a black-throated green warbler by Steve Gosser)

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