Second Half of November at Dans Rock
And just like that, we have reached the finish line for the inaugural count at Dans Rock! A full report from the season will be written at some point, but for now, I will get on with summarizing the last two weeks of the count. It was a slow and cold end to the count as most of the migrants have already passed through as winter takes its hold on western Maryland. American Robins, Cedar Waxwings, European Starlings, and American Goldfinches were really the only species I could count on seeing most days down the final stretch.
The first winter storm came through the night of November 15th, bringing snow and ice to the mountains. The next few days saw some good numbers as birds seemed to be moving in response to the harsh conditions. European Starlings were the most numerous migrant during this period, with a record count of 1,659 coming on the 18th. Vultures were also anxious to start moving with the cold weather. The four Black Vultures that I saw on the 22nd were the first ones I decided to record as migrants this season, they would be the final species added to the season’s list.
Other raptor species have still been moving down the ridge with seven species recorded during the back half of the month. Golden Eagle is one of those species and it has been a treat to see them on multiple days, often being harassed by the resident Common Ravens. 12 Goldens were counted here this season with a high count of three on the 16th. Another highlight for the season that came on the 16th was a group of five Tundra Swans flying by the rock. It was a small family group with two crisp, white adults leading a line of three brownish immatures as they headed due East, presumably towards wintering grounds near the Chesapeake Bay.
It was an amazing opportunity to be the counter at Dans Rock this season and a real treat to be able to enjoy bird migration every day. Thank you to everyone who followed along, came and visited the Rock, and supported the project. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this count and how this season compares to future inland morning flight counts. For those interested, the count totals for the season can be found on Trektellen: https://www.trektellen.org/site/totals/3411/2022