I spent a few days this early this week sailing with my brother on
the east side of south Biscayne Bay and going ashore on some of
the islands in Biscayne National Park, nothing unexpected on the
islands, lots  of Ovenbirds and a scattering of the usual warblers, a
few White-Crowned Pigeons, and lots of Chuck-will's-widows.  The
main show was in between the islands where on Wednesday 9/24 I
must have seen at least a  dozen Merlins heading south or
searching for prey.  We were anchored in a  bay on the northwest
corner of Sands Key late Wednesday afternoon where I had
observed at least six Merlins crossing the bay east of our location.
I heard a Bobolinks flight note behind me and  turned around to
look for it, it was about a hundred and fifty feet  above the water a
couple of hundred yard west of us headed  towards the western
part of Sands Key witch was several hundred yards ahead of it, a
Merlin was speeding  toward it head on.  The Merlin struck the
Bobolink knocking off a  couple of feathers but the it recovered and
continued gamely towards the safety of the wooded island.  The
Merlin circled back and made a couple of  un-successful passes at
the Bobolink before striking it again, this time Bobolink fell to within
ten or fifteen feet above the water but recovered and continued
struggling towards land, now obviously injured and fluttering.  It
took the Merlin about three more passes before striking the
Bobolink for a final time knocking it into the water, the Merlin
circled around and plucked the Bobolink off the water and carried
it's prize back towards Sands Key.

It's been about a month since my last posting about fall migration
so I'll try to catch up on the high points and first sightings for this
Fall since late August.

8/27 - Kentucky Warbler  (North Pine Island Ridge)
9/3 - Ovenbird (Secret Woods)
9/7 - Summer Tanager (Greenleaf Cemetery)
          Veery (Greenleaf Cemetery)
9/9 - Yellow-throated Vireo (North Pine Island Ridge)
9/10 - Bobolink (Robbins Park)
9/11 - Cape May Warbler (Markham Park)
            Empidonax sp. (Markham Park)
            Eastern Wood-Pewee (Markham Park)
9/12 - Hooded Warbler (Markham Park)
            Kentucky Warbler (Markham Park)
9/14 - Prothonotary Warbler (Birch State Park)
            Blackburninan Warbler (Greenleaf Cemetery)
            Chestnut-sided Warbler (Greenleaf Cemetery)
          Baltimore Oriole (Greenleaf Cemetery)
9/15 - Merlin (Lucky Hammock)
9/17 - Cerulean Warbler (North Pine Island Ridge)
9/21 - Wilson's Warbler (Birch State Park)
         Scarlet Tanager (Colohatchee Park)
9/26 - Tennessee Warbler (North Pine Island Ridge)
         Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (North Pine Island Ridge)

 There has also been an increase in the usual number of Snail
Kites in the water conservation area west of Markham Park to at
least a dozen, the center of activity is about a mile west along the
south levee.  Worm-eating Warblers have been unusually regular
this month, I saw or heard (one day) this warbler every day for 14
days between 9/7 and 9/21 in most of the places I birded regularly.

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