The site was used for farming until its development as the northern terminus for the Eastern Shore Ferry , and the traces of that terminal area remain part of the park, at the western end of Kiptopeke Drive. The mix of habitats means that most migratory species, excepting those that favor mudflats, farm fields, or salt marsh, pass through and often rest here, particularly during autumn months, when many juvenile birds attempt to use the Atlantic coast rather than interior routes on their first southbound transit to wintering areas.
For 50 years, Kiptopeke area was the site of a bird-banding study, which concluded in More importantly, the study provided a mountain of data over , birds banded on the status of species here, most of them migratory. In addition, the park hawkwatch, established in and in annual operation since then by the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory , has counted more than , raptors of 20 species as of 30 November This friendly park has nature walks for children, including an owling excursion.
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Butterfly and dragonfly enthusiasts will appreciate the plantings around Taylor Pond as well. The earliest southbound migrants are shorebirds, especially those adults whose nesting attempts have failed in Arctic areas. Soon after the first shorebirds arrive, Neotropical migrants appear, some of which also nest locally: the first Black-and-white Warblers, Yellow Warblers, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers turn up in the last days of July and increase through August, along with other species of warbler, flycatcher, and a few orioles.
Because this early migration is not typically powered by strong cold fronts, and involves relatively fewer species, it is rarely evident aside from the occasional buzzy call note of a warbler passing high overhead. The migration trickle increases to a steady stream by the end of August, and both September and October days with cold front passage during the previous evening can produce a veritable flood of birds. Experienced birders know that to see the big numbers, one must rise early and be in place by dawn. Kiptopeke hawkwatch platform is a fine place to watch this flight and its many constituents: cuckoos, tanagers, warblers, vireos, catbird, thrasher, flycatchers, wrens, orioles, woodpeckers especially Red-headed Woodpecker and later Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
Thrushes mostly Catharus species are not often seen migrating but when seen, it is in the pre-dawn and very early dawn time.
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American Redstarts, Northern Parulas, and Black-throated Blue Warblers, counted here in the many hundreds or even thousands per morning, can be seen flying at a range of heights and are often easily identified with binoculars try photographing fast-flying migrants to confirm suspected identifications.
Day-migrating species such as Northern Flicker and Bobolink keep the skies lively as movements of warblers and flycatchers begin to slow. Though many uncommon or rare species appear later in the fall, some appear in September: keep an eye peeled for Olive-sided Flycatcher and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher observed here in late summer into September and even later for Scissor-tailed and other Tyrannus flycatchers. As the migration of most songbirds wanes in mid-morning, the raptors rise in migration, and many days produce counts of or more historically sometimes up to October is the month for those keen to see a Golden Eagle or Northern Goshawk or even a rare Rough-legged Hawk, and early November is also a fine time for them.
Ever-vigilant hawkwatchers regularly observe non-raptors passing overhead, including occasional flocks of Sandhill Cranes and American White Pelicans in autumn, along with rarer species such as Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 15 August , Roseate Spoonbill 1 October , Magnificent Frigatebirds 9 November , 4 October , Wood Stork 17 September On 26 October , a very rare Common Raven passed the watch.
Almost every day, an interesting bird or two is among the throngs of migrants, and patience is required to see the best variety: pack a folding chair, lunch, and plenty of drinks, and plan to spend most of the day scanning.
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Observers standing on the platform have kept a list of all species recorded there, which stands at species, plus Pink-sided Junco and Oregon Junco, two rarely documented subspecies of Dark-eyed Junco. Become a BNA Contributor. Introducing the New Birds of North America. A Note from the Editor…. Restructured Species Accounts Species accounts have been redesigned and the site is now faster, with new functionalities, maps, and rich media.
New Media from Macaulay Library Integration with Macaulay Library means that a wealth of new audio, images, and video are now incorporated into species accounts, as are tools that allow users to search the full archive of Macaulay media resources. Sign In Cooper's Hawk. Black Storm-Petrel.
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Young, and J. A Peregrine falcon at the Decorah North Nest! They have dark heads, pale cheeks, and a mallar stripe or mustache that extends downwards from their eye. Their breasts may be all-white or contain a buff, salmon, or peach color. Juveniles are brown and heavily marked, with vertical streaks instead of horizontal bars on the breast.
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