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Checklist S46116491

 
Location
Observatoire d'oiseaux de Tadoussac--Dunes, La Haute-Côte-Nord County, Quebec, CA ( Map ) ( Hotspot )
Date and Effort
Mon May 28, 2018 5:45 AM
Protocol:
Traveling
Party Size:
6
Duration:
9 hour(s), 41 minute(s)
Distance:
0.8 kilometer(s)
Observers:
François-Xavier Grandmont List , Ian Davies , Sarah Dzielski List , Thierry Grandmont List , Tim Lenz List , Tom Auer List
Comments:
[text by Ian Davies]
Today was the greatest birding day of my life.

Southwest winds overnight had led to high hopes for the morning, compounded by dawn rain in the area. Our first stop had been fruitless, with a handful of warblers moving, but nothing notable. We decided to head for the Tadoussac dunes anyways.

On our arrival (545a), it was raining. A few warblers passed here and there, and we got excited about groups of 5-10 birds. Shortly before 6:30a, there was a break in the showers, and things were never the same.

For the next 9 hours, we counted a nonstop flight of warblers, at times covering the entire visible sky from horizon to horizon. The volume of flight calls was so vast that it often faded into a constant background buzz. There were times where there were so many birds, so close, that naked eyes were better than binoculars to count and identify. Three species of warbler flew between my legs throughout the day (TEWA, MAWA, MYWA). For hours at a time, a single binocular scan would give you hundreds or low thousands of warblers below eye level.

The flight line(s) varied depending on wind direction and speed. All birds were heading southwest. When calm, birds were high, often inland or farther out over the river. High winds (especially from the W, or SW), brought birds down low, sometimes feet from the ground and water. Rain also lowered birds, and the most intimate experiences with migrants occurred during a rain squall and strong wind period. Hundreds of birds stopped to feed and rest on the bare sand, or in the small shrubs.

Counting birds and estimating species composition was the biggest challenge of the day—balancing the need to document what was happening with the desire to just bask in the greatest avian spectacle I’ve ever witnessed. A significant effort was made to estimate movement rates throughout the day, and those rates combined with species-specific movement estimates were used for the below totals. See the full checklist for species-specific notes.

Movement rate estimates were made by looking through binoculars at a flight line, and counting the number of individuals passing a vertical line in that field of view, per second. This was repeated multiple times for each bin view, and repeated throughout the sky so that all flight at that moment was accounted for. The average birds/second was then used for that time period, until another rate estimate showed a different volume of movement. Non-warblers were counted separately. I took a couple attempts at video, which are listed below under ‘warbler sp.’ These videos only hint at the magnitude of the spectacle.

These were my warbler rate estimates:

6:29-6:43 8/s — 6720
6:44-7:02 3/s — 3240
7:03-7:14 15/s — 9900
7:15-8:02 30/s — 84600
8:03-8:27 10/s — 14400
8:28-9:12 15/s — 48600
9:13-9:31 12/s — 12960
9:32-9:48 15/s — 14400
9:49-1038 25/s — 73500
10:39-11:03 40/s — 57600 (during and after a rain squall)
11:04-11:52 30/s — 86400
11:53-12:17 20/s — 28800
12:18-12:37 15/s — 17100
12:38-12:48 25/s — 15000
12:49-1:13 50/s — 72000 (winds switch to strong WSW)
1:14-2:36 30/s — 147600
2:37-2:56 20/s — 22800
2:57-3:04 10/s — 4200
3:05-3:14 3/s — 1620
3:15-3:18 1/s — 180
Total number of warblers: 721,620

To our knowledge, the previous warbler high for a single day in the region was around 200,000, which was the highest tally anywhere in the world. Other observers in the area today had multiple hundreds of thousands, so there were likely more than a million warblers moving through the region on 28 May 2018. Thank you to the Observatoire d’Oiseaux de Tadoussac (http://www.explosnature.ca/oot/) for monitoring these movements for decades, and sharing the wonder of this place with the global birding community.

There’s no place like Tadoussac.
Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 1.7.4
Species
108 species (+3 other taxa) total
230
Snow Goose

flocks moving north throughout day; largest ~60

ML102939801

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
ML102939921

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

Note warblers migrating the other way

2
Brant
34
Canada Goose
2
Mallard
25
American Black Duck
450
Common Eider
30
Surf Scoter
12
White-winged Scoter
250
Black Scoter
15
Long-tailed Duck
1
Common Goldeneye
20
Red-breasted Merganser
3
Common Loon
45
Double-crested Cormorant
ML102934661

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
9
Great Blue Heron
1
Northern Harrier
2
Sharp-shinned Hawk
2
Bald Eagle
2
Semipalmated Plover
3
Least Sandpiper
1
Short-billed Dowitcher
1
Spotted Sandpiper
2
Solitary Sandpiper
1
Lesser Yellowlegs
2
Black Guillemot
5
Black-legged Kittiwake
45
Bonaparte's Gull
40
Ring-billed Gull
60
Herring Gull
1
Iceland Gull (Iceland)
20
Great Black-backed Gull
1
Mourning Dove
3
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
5
Downy Woodpecker
1
Hairy Woodpecker
3
Northern Flicker
4
Merlin
5
Olive-sided Flycatcher

**high; all in active movement, 3 overhead and 2 teeing up on spruces before continuing to move SW.

ML102491701

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

Note warblers migrating over treetops

ML102491921

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
250
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

*high; almost entirely moving low through the scrub on the dune slope. A few overhead in flight as well.

ML102491451

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
ML102513451

© Tom Auer

Average Quality
3
Alder Flycatcher
400
Least Flycatcher

*high; almost entirely moving low through the scrub on the dune slope. A fair number (~40) overhead in flight as well.

ML102514441

© Tom Auer

Average Quality
300
Empidonax sp.

likely similar LEFL/YBFL breakdown as the full-species reports above

5
Eastern Kingbird
50
Blue-headed Vireo

none seen in sustained flight; all moving through scrub on dune slope

80
Philadelphia Vireo

almost entirely moving through scrub on dune slope; a few flying at eye level, but none overhead

ML102513621

© Tom Auer

Average Quality
5
Red-eyed Vireo

4 flying at eye level past platform, 1 moving through scrub. None overhead.

5
Blue Jay
8
American Crow
2
Common Raven
4
Tree Swallow
9
Bank Swallow
1
Cliff Swallow

moving SW

9
Black-capped Chickadee
5
Red-breasted Nuthatch
1
Winter Wren
1
Golden-crowned Kinglet
1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
4
Veery
1
Bicknell's Thrush

Photographed; photos coming.

ML103566511

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML103566521

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
425
Swainson's Thrush

Mostly moving low through dune scrub; mostly in morning. Usually stayed within 1-2m of ground.

3
Hermit Thrush

One singing; others moving low along same path as SWTH

100
Catharus sp.

Likely mostly SWTH

6
American Robin (migratorius Group)
24
American Pipit
830
Cedar Waxwing
ML102492631

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

#flight #migration

3
Ovenbird

all in overhead flight

2
Northern Waterthrush

one singing; one seen in overhead flight

25
Black-and-white Warbler

likely more in the masses of 'spuh', but not enough seen to be able to get a reasonable estimate

72200
Tennessee Warbler

***HIGH; estimated 1 in 10 birds moving overhead was a TEWA (10% of all warblers today). This final count was obtained by taking 10% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 100.

ML102429371

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102513301

© Tom Auer

Average Quality
ML102513771

© Tom Auer

Average Quality
ML102517601

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
90
Orange-crowned Warbler

potentially more; these were numbers seen by entire party both in flight and moving through low

ML102491141

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
500
Nashville Warbler

***high; Estimate of birds moving through; mostly low. Not too many seen in overhead flight, where TEWA dominated

ML102491221

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
9
Mourning Warbler

4 seen in overhead flight; 5 seen moving through dune scrub. Likely more in the masses of 'spuh', but not enough seen to be able to get a reasonable estimate

4
Common Yellowthroat

moving through dune scrub

50500
American Redstart

***HIGH; estimated 1 in ~15 birds (7%) of all overhead birds were AMRE. Not too many moving through low; seemed to almost entirely be overhead. This final count was obtained by taking 7% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 100.

ML102934821

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

#flight

ML102936391

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

Shaking water off like a dog!

ML102938611

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

#flight

108200
Cape May Warbler

***HIGH; incredibly abundant today. Estimated 1 in ~7 (15% of all overhead migrants) At all times you could hear several CMWA calling overhead, and they were abundant from the sand to the highest overhead migrants. This final count was obtained by taking 15% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 100.

ML102429431

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102429441

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102429471

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102429511

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102517121

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102517131

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102517441

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102718821

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102718831

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102718841

© Ian Davies

Average Quality

#flight

3600
Northern Parula

***HIGH; estimated 1 in every 200 birds. Few females seen for birds that were seen well. This final count was obtained by taking 0.5% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 100.

ML102718901

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
108200
Magnolia Warbler

***HIGH; estimated 1 in ~7 (15% of all birds overhead). In the morning (e.g., through 10a), this species was as much as 30-35% of the movement. By midday, the ratio had dropped much lower, being dominated more by BBWA and CMWA. This final count was obtained by taking 15% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 100.

ML102429481

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102429741

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102513351

© Tom Auer

Average Quality
ML102718951

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102718961

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102933901

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
ML102943601

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
ML102995541

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
144300
Bay-breasted Warbler

***HIGH; estimated 1 in 5 (20% of all birds overhead). Absolutely indescribable numbers of these birds today. A single scan of the sky could turn up 2-300 at a time. Sometimes the area around the platform held up to a dozen on the sand and in the bushes. This final count was obtained by taking 20% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 100.

ML102429521

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102429531

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102514451

© Tom Auer

Average Quality
ML102517561

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102719151

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102719161

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102719171

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102719181

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102719451

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102719461

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
28900
Blackburnian Warbler

***HIGH; estimated 1 in 25 (4% of all birds moving). Great numbers mixed into the movement, plus the largest numbers of birds grounded on the sand. At times there were several dozen birds on the dune slope sand and on the wrack line down on the beach. This final count was obtained by taking 4% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 100.

ML102429541

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102514241

© Tom Auer

Average Quality
ML102719221

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102995721

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
3
Yellow Warbler
1450
Chestnut-sided Warbler

***high; estimated 1 in 500 (0.2% of all birds moving). Not seen too often, but frequently detected by distinctive flight call. Most of the birds seen were moving low, with not too many noted in overhead flight. This final count was obtained by taking 0.2% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 50.

ML102429831

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102517691

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102719261

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
950
Blackpoll Warbler

***high; estimated 1 in 750 (0.13% of all birds moving). Very few in the morning (e.g., 50 before 10a), with many more in the flight after the MAWA ratio dropped, and the BBWA ratio increased. Very few females noted. This final count was obtained by taking 0.13% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 50.

27
Black-throated Blue Warbler
ML102719271

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
1
Palm Warbler
72200
Yellow-rumped Warbler

***HIGH; estimated 1 in 10 (10% of all birds moving). As always seems to be the case, MYWA were present in quite large numbers. They were flightier than other species on the ground, and seemed to keep to the air more. This final count was obtained by taking 10% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 100.

1
Prairie Warbler

*rare; seen overhead in flight. Slimly-built warbler with bright yellow underparts, black streaks on flanks, tail without MAWA tail pattern.

2900
Black-throated Green Warbler

***HIGH; estimated 1 in 250 (0.4% of all birds moving). More present in the morning (e.g., before 10a) than in the afternoon. This final count was obtained by taking 0.4% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 100.

ML102491651

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
ML102938431

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

#flight

14400
Canada Warbler

***HIGH; estimated 1 in 50 (2% of all birds moving). Incredible numbers of this delightful warbler. Before two days ago, I'd never seen this species in overhead flight before. They tended to keep lower than most of the other warblers, with good numbers moving through the duneside scrub, as well as flying at eye level. Much more abundant in the morning than in the afternoon (probably 75% of numbers today were before 11a). This final count was obtained by taking 2% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 100.

ML102429891

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102429901

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102719351

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102719361

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102719371

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102719381

© Ian Davies

Average Quality
ML102938131

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

#flight

3600
Wilson's Warbler

***HIGH; estimated 1 in 200 (0.5% of all birds moving. Like Canadas, WIWA tended to keep lower than most of the other warblers, with good numbers moving through the duneside scrub, as well as flying at eye level. Also like Canada, more abundant in the morning than in the afternoon (probably 80% of numbers today were before noon). This final count was obtained by taking 0.5% of the total warbler count and rounding to the nearest 100.

109555
warbler sp. (Parulidae sp.)

***HIGH; this is the remainder of 'spuhs' out of the 721,620 estimate that didn't fit into the species that we felt comfortable estimating totals for. Many of the under-counted species likely have hundreds or thousands more individuals here, and the bulk likely fits into the other primary flight species (e.g., BBWA, MAWA, CMWA, MYWA, TEWA, AMRE).

Click HD for these videos to see them in full-res.



ML102627921

© Tom Auer

Average Quality

Non-bird. Screenshot of RADAR at the time of the flight, around 11:20 am. Around the center of the RADAR bioclutter can be seen and was observed moving west in an animation of the RADAR, whereas the blobs of rain were moving northeast.

ML102934191

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
ML102935421

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

MAWA?

ML102937031

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

NAWA?

ML102937461

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

TEWA?

ML102940651

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

female CMWA?

ML102995861

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

OCWA?

ML102996201

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality

COWA?

14
Chipping Sparrow
4
Dark-eyed Junco
1
White-crowned Sparrow

major difference from the past two days!

7
White-throated Sparrow
5
Savannah Sparrow
2
Song Sparrow
1
Lincoln's Sparrow
3
Scarlet Tanager

all flying SW

2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

males

6
Indigo Bunting

flight calls overhead

1
Dickcissel

*rare; giving flatulent brrt calls overhead.

4
Bobolink

all calling overhead

1
Baltimore Oriole
5
Red-winged Blackbird
1
Rusty Blackbird
19
Common Grackle
21
Evening Grosbeak
ML102937681

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
ML102937971

© Tim Lenz

Average Quality
11
Purple Finch
17
White-winged Crossbill
750
Pine Siskin

estimate of birds moving overhead throughout count period, in groups from 1-22

18
American Goldfinch
Additional species seen by Tim Lenz:
50
Brant (Atlantic)
2
Mallard (Northern)
12
White-winged Scoter (North American)
9
Great Blue Heron (Blue form)
2
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Northern)
1
Solitary Sandpiper (solitaria)
60
Herring Gull (American)
5
Downy Woodpecker (Eastern)
3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
1
Horned Lark
6
American Robin
70000
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
4
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)
5
Savannah Sparrow (Savannah)
2
Song Sparrow (melodia/atlantica)
5
Red-winged Blackbird (Red-winged)
19
Common Grackle (Bronzed)
11
Purple Finch (Eastern)
10
passerine sp.
1
bird sp.
 

Are you submitting a complete checklist of the birds you were able to identify?

Yes