All out fall out at the home patch!

After the severe thunderstorm last night, I headed over to El Franco Lee Park hoping something may have dropped in. The soccer fields were flooded when I arrived and I made a quick stop to check for shorebirds. In a nearby puddle I spotted a lone Solitary Sandpiper (redundant) along with several Least Sandpipers. I scanned some fields further away and was blown away by what I saw, in the distance, one of the soccer fields seemed covered with birds. After a quick drive over I wasn’t disappointed. About 400 shorebirds were actively feeding in the grass, remember these are just flooded soccer fields. A quick scan revealed most of them to be Pectoral Sandpipers with two Buff-breasted Sandpipers (new park bird) mixed in. On closer inspection there were many White-rumped Sandpipers, several Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, one or two Baird’s along with a single SHort-billed Dowitcher. In the ditches Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs were present with a few Stilt Sandpipers. Nearly a dozen Wilson’s Phalaropes bobbed about, some females in full breeding plumage. At first I was disappointed I didn’t bring my scope, but shouldn’t have worried, the birds were as approachable as starlings. A lone Spotted Sandpiper added to the mix and a single Dunlin was found on the way out.

If the fields were this good I wondered what the forest held. In the first brush I stumbled upon Yellow and Canada Warblers and yes it was busy. The overall tally included (rough numbers) Yellow (10), Magnolia (12), Chestnut-sided (15), Blackburnian (8), Black-throated Green (6), Bay-breasted (5), Black-and-white (3), American Redstart (14), Tennessee (10) Warblers, Northern Waterthrush (1), Kentucky (1), Mourning (1), Canada (10) Warblers, Common Yellowthroat. Other migrants included large numbers of flycatchers with Yellow-bellied the most numerous Empid (10), Least (2), Willow/Alder (1), Olive-sided (1), and lots of Eastern Wood-Pewees. Eastern Kingbirds were everywhere. Two female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks dropped in and a single Summer Tanager was present with a few Yellow-billed Cuckoos. Lots of Indigo Buntings and other odd and ends included Philadelphia Vireo (2) (new park bird) and Red-eyed Vireo, plus Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Overhead Judy Behrens and I picked up ten Black Terns and a handful of Franklin’s Gulls (new park bird) mixed in with Laughing. Overall a fantastic day.

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