Western Tanager, south of Weldon
- We have a Western Tanager in our yard this morning, 10 miles south of Weldon off of Kelso
Valley Road. Is it an early fall migrant or just down from the Piute Mtn fire area?
At 08:02 AM 7/24/2008, you wrote:
"We have a Western Tanager in our yard this morning, 10 miles south
of Weldon off of Kelso Valley Road. Is it an early fall migrant or
just down from the Piute Mtn fire area?"
We have had WETAs on past South Fork Kern River Valley Rapid
Assessment Summer Bird Counts. Those counts were held during the 5-12
July time period in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2007. I always
assumed the WETAs detected on those counts were "First of Fall"
migrants as there were no apparent factors like fire driving them
down-mountain from nearby areas. However, the fires this year almost
by definition must have had an impact on bird usage of the fire areas
and may have, even likely have, driven birds out of the fire area at
a minimum. So, I have no real answer except that I suspect the WETA
you observed in your yard this morning could have been either a
migrant (but, not an early migrant) or a bird displaced by fire
and/or flood impacts.
FYI: Matt Heindel's 2000 Birds of Eastern Kern County (available on
the Kern County page of Joe Morlan's California Birding Pages) lists
the span of fall migration THROUGH the east Kern desert as "...9 July
to 15 October with a peak from mid-August to mid-September."
Continued Happy & Productive Birding,
Bob Barnes, Ridgecrest
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