Not to get too technical, but a fallout — when it comes to migratory birds — occurs when there are no birds one day and birds are thick the next. It’s affected by weather conditions, or perhaps by magic.
A fallout of birds is quickly followed by a fallout of birders.
That’s what all those people with spotting scopes were doing on Park Point over the weekend — they came in rapid response to a windblown warbler fallout in the Duluth area.
A gentleman from Olmsted County posted on the Minnesota Ornithology Union listserv that he had seen 24 species of warblers in 2 1/2 hours at Park Point on Sunday. Not 24 warblers, 24 species. I would consider that an extremely good year. Actually, it would be unprecedented for me.
To see that many kinds of warblers, you have to really be looking, and you have to really know what you’re looking for.
But at a time like this, you might spot a warbler or two without even trying. That happened to me yesterday, when I was walking home from the West Duluth Menard’s. Just outside of the store, I saw a little bird flitting along the ground. I knew right away it was a warbler, and I also knew that I didn’t know what kind of warbler it was. But I got a real good look. Not all that many warblers have yellow breasts with black streaks. The gray upper parts and the white splotches over the eyes also were “diagnostic,” as the birders say. When I looked it up at home, I was certain I’d seen a magnolia warbler — a “lifer” for me.
Over near Holyoke, Minn., Michelle Weegman and her husband have been seeing American redstarts, which are lifers for them. Here are Michelle’s pictures, first of a male and then of a female:
“We had several pairs of American redstart on our dock between dipping into the lake and for flying bugs,” Michelle writes. “They were so friendly landing on my husband’s fishing reel while he was fishing and sitting near our feet.”
Michelle isn’t sure what it is, and I’m not either, but I’m thinking eastern towhee.
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