Thanks to founding Naturalist's Notebook team member and expert birder Pat Johnson for alerting us to a remarkable series of photos taken this week at the lighthouse on Machias Seal Island, near the Maine border with Canada. As sometimes happens during mass bird migrations, bad weather caused large numbers of exhausted birds to drop from the sky. Often the birds crash into the water and die. In this case many birds of a dazzling range of varieties landed by or on the lighthouse and rode out the storm.
The lighthouse keeper, Ralph Eldridge, who took the photos, said that at one point he saw 15 warblers perched in a row—and they included 11 different species. Some of the exhausted birds landed on him. "They feel odd when they cling to your beard or cozy down to sleep in your hair," he wrote in an e-mail. “A Blackburnian Warbler and Yellow Warbler squabbled for several minutes to see which would perch on my right index finger, both oblivious to the finger's movements as I took photos and made camera adjustments. Eventually, both the warblers lost the apparent prime perch to a male Common Yellowthroat. That fellow kept his position for nearly a half hour, interrupted only briefly when I had to reach into my pocket a couple times."
Here's the link to click on. Make sure to go through the whole slide show: http://www.pbase.com/lightrae/image/135054460/original
No time to write more today—just too busy. I'll be back soon with more Notebook News (and the answers to the Puzzlers from the last post).