The Month in Birds, October 2014

Download Bob Spahn’s Noteworthies OCT 2014 table here.

To report your November (or future) records: When possible, please enter bird lists into eBird or post on geneseebirds. Otherwise, please send next month’s reports by the 5th of December to Lynn Bergmeyer. 107 Longridge Ave., Greece, NY 14616.


  1. October was a pleasant fall month, though there were many days with at least some light rainfall. After a warm few days, the 3rd brought the passage of a cold front and the rest of the month seesawed between mild late fall and early cool blasts. It was the 3rd warmest October in the past 30 years, with two days reaching 80° and records set on the 14th and 28th. There were patches of frost on the 11th, 12th, and 27th but no killing freezes in Rochester. Though light rain fell on 21 days, there was only one period with over ½ inch in 24 hours. Temperatures averaged 53.9°F, 3.3° above normal, and precipitation totaled 1.89”, 0.83” below normal.
  1. Continuing the pattern since April, the number of species reported was well above the recent 10-year average and near record high going back to 1974. Fall arrivals reported this month were nearly all in the 1st quartile or interquartile range of their historical arrival distributions, with King Eider and Purple Sandpiper record early. Apparent departures were nearly all in the interquartile range or 4th quartile of their distributions, with three record late relative to the old distributions, but all of those with several later yet sightings in intervening years. We need to update the data! Any volunteers to help. For most species, numbers generally seemed low aside from a very few dates. This is apparent in the maxima in the noteworthy table and the BBBO banding summary.
  1. Waterfowl, loon, and grebe numbers in our Region were generally low other than the peak counts in the noteworthy table, even for reports from the NMWMA. There was only one day with good Brant numbers and no big days for Common Loon. The 19th was the best day for several waterfowl species. A Ross’s Goose arrived early and a few Cackling Geese were present through the month. A record early King Eider passed Hamlin Beach on the 13th. A Cattle Egret in the NMWMA continued the recent trend of late fall appearances of the species.
  1. The fall raptor picture remained slow. Again no Black Vulture or Northern Goshawk and no early arrival of irruptive species. An immature Golden Eagle was a rare find for fall.
  2. Shorebird variety held up well, with 22 species reported. However, there were no really big counts in our Region, and the only rarer species reported was Hudsonian Godwit and that is annual in small numbers often into November. Record early Purple Sandpiper at Sodus Point was another highlight; hard to tell if one bird lingered or more than one stopped over the two weeks of reports.
  1. There were some interesting observations among the jaegers, gulls, and terns. There were eight jaeger reports, only a single of Pomarine Jaeger, all on or before the 19th. There were lots of Bonaparte’s Gulls around at various mudflats, but counts of birds passing Hamlin Beach were low. Five adult Little Gulls, a Franklin’s Gull at Northrup Creek, and half a dozen Lesser Black-backed Gulls were the most interesting gull reports. Caspian, Common, and Forster’s terns were reported into the month but not to especially late dates.
  1. Among the non-passerine landbirds, there was again no concerted banding of N. Saw-whet Owls this fall, mainly due to no reports of any major movement from points north. Also no early arrival reports for Short-eared Owl. The only Chimney Swift report was on the 1st and there was only a single Ruby-throated Hummingbird report; is this a lack of later birds or of reports.
  1. Among the passerines, numbers seemed down almost across the board but especially for warblers. Yet the overall species list was very good and looking at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory banding records there was a typical mix of numbers banded up and down relative to recent past fall data. A sampling of the more interesting (to me) for numbers and dates are in the noteworthy records table. Higher numbers banded were for Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, and White-throated Sparrow plus Dark-eyed Junco, Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch on single dates. Low numbers banded included: Black-capped Chickadee (an irruption starting to the north did not make it by BBBO’s season end), Red-breasted Nuthatch (no irruption), Gray-cheeked and Swainson’s thrushes (peaked earlier), and Blackpoll Warbler (back to more normal numbers and late date for here). Missing species were all birds whose departure date distributions indicate only occasional years of presence into October. Rarer records included: an immature Northern Shrike banded, Fish Crows continuing, eight Orange-crowned Warblers with two banded, Connecticut Warbler, and Nelson’s Sparrow. No Cave Swallow made it by month’s end, but looking at the eBird map of records for this fall there are only a few sightings in Cape May much north or east of Texas. There were no winter finches reported other than Pine Siskin.
  1. There were about 10,534 eBird records for the month from 111 observers and another 53 notes posted to geneseebirds with some overlap.



Jim Adams, Janet Akin, BBBO (Betsy Brooks), Jim Barry, Mitchell Barry, Sue Barth, Don Bemont, Lynn Bergmeyer, Barry Bermudez, John Boettcher, Michael Bochnik, Phillip Bonn, Bruce Cady, Brad Carlson, Donna Carter, Jill Church, Linda Clark-Benedict, Kelly Close, Andrew Consler, Doug Daniels, Willie D’Anna & Betsy Potter, Steve & Brenda Donohue, Andrew Dreelin, Joe Fell, Wayne Fidler, Daena Ford, George Ford, Kurt Fox, Andy Garland, Jeff Gerbracht, Jay Greenberg, Michael Gullo, Judy Gurley, Andrew Guthrie, Anita Gwara, Ethan Gyllenhaal, Helen & Chris Haller, Kim Hartquist, Jim & Allison Healy, Doug Holland, Dick Horsey, Carolyn Jacobs, Ryan Kayhart, Tom Kerr, Jim Kimball, Kathy Kirsch, Hans Kunze, Tom Lathrop, Leona Lauster, Greg Lawrence, Tim Lenz, Joan Lindberg, Peggy Mabb, Mary Magistro, Cindy Marino, Pat Martin, Jay McGowan, Matt Medler, Jim Miles, Celeste Morien, Roy Morris, Brian & Brooke Morse, Allen Nash, Ann Nash, Mike O’Brien, Andrea Patterson, Jim Pawlicki, Jay Powell, Carolyn Ragan, RBA Field Trips, Wade & Melissa Rowley, Jesse Rubenstein, Jennifer Rycenga, Livia Santana, Mickey Sclingo, Shirley Shaw, Dominic Sherony, Robert & Susan Spahn, Dave Spier, Chris Stanger, Joseph Stevenson, Jim Tarolli, Steve Taylor, Mike & Joann Tetlow, Lee Ann van Leer, Mike Wasilco, Bill Watson, David Wheeler, Joe Wing.

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