Monday, August 25, 2008

Rocky Knob Migration, 24 August 2008

I watched for migrating hawks yesterday at Rocky Knob. One female American Kestrel flew south just above the trees at 11:55 EST. Other than that I saw no migrating raptors. There were a few local Black & Turkey Vultures, and three local Red-tailed Hawks.

Some other birds were heading south, too. These included several Barn Swallows and Chimney Swifts, three Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, one Black-throated Green Warbler and two Scarlet Tanagers.

Other migrants were two Cloudless Sulphurs, one Red Admiral, one Common Buckeye, one Monarch plus three species of dragonfly (28 Common Green Darners, mostly adult males, plus at least three tenerals; one Wandering Glider; five Black Saddlebags).

The most unusual sighting for the day was a plane piloted wildly over Panther Knob. The plane flew a few loopity-loops, a few complete rolls, and a couple of times sallied upside down, then headed east and northeast right-side-up, eventually beyond my view.

The whole area looks way too dry. I don't know how the ongoing drought will affect migration of dragonflies since many of the species heading southward past Rocky Knob are pond dwellers as nymphs.

The thistles in the field mostly look rather stunted except those nearest a shady area on the west side of the field. I saw zero honeybees, but at least two species of bumblebees were nectaring on the blossoms. Tiger Swallowtails, and Great Spangled Fritillaries were also nectaring on the thistle flowers. I found no species of grass skippers there; usually there are Sachems and Peck's Skippers.

One of the more common insects of the day was a species of "June Bug" scarab beetle ambling over the area. There were also a few Dog Day Cicadas.

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