Here in Bedford, my bird bath has really been busy with some surprising visitors:

On 10/1 thru 10/3, a flock of 20+ Yellow Warblers invaded the fountain. They took advantage of the Chinese Maple that has a few branches hanging over the fountain. The flock arrived on all three days at about the same time of day (10 AM.) Then they disappeared in my neighbor's yard which has several overgrown hedges. This is the third year that I have seen a flock of this size fly through in early October. Could it be the same family-unit?

A birder from Cleburne emailed our webmaster asking about a very large flock of raptors spotted near her home after that cool front on Sept. 28th. She asked if they could have been Broad-wing Hawks. I replied that they were most likely Broad-wings based on knowledge that only Broad-wings migrate in large groups. Most of the other raptors that migrate through or to our north Texas area are usually individuals or in small groups of 2 or 3. Over the last several years I have heard about very large flocks of Broad-wing Hawks being seen west of Fort Worth. A Game Warden I know told me about a ranch near Spring, TX, where hundreds of Broad-wings roost in their field during migration almost every year.

I thought the last observations of my resident Black-chinned Hummingbirds were on September 28th when that same cool front blew through. I had five this year (2 males and 3 females) at the feeders almost every day since early May. I would see the females at one feeder that I placed out of line-of-site from the main feeder the males used. But on the Friday morning after the front, no sign of any of them. And no sightings for the next 4 days. Then last Wednesday (October 4th) a very large hummingbird buzzed pass the feeders several times during the day. He stayed around all weekend, but never landed on the feeder (that I saw). I change the nectar every 4 to 5 days, so he must have only been attracted by the red color. I also am not sure what species it was. The privacy screen and the shade from the eve did not allow me to see any markings. He was plumper than the Black-chins...

On October 2nd I had a new yard bird sighting when I went out to check my feeders after the rain. A small bird was flitting about in a crepe myrtle. What stood out about the olive brown bird was a very distinctive eye-ring and two bright wing bars. Its size was a little plumper than the house finches that visit the feeder daily. This bird had no interest in the seed, it was only interested in insects. I researched the bird and determined it was an Acadian Flycatcher. I was able to watch the bird from less than 10 feet. I could see its mostly whitish underparts and a slight olive-wash on the sides under the wings. (I ruled out the possibility it was a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher because of the more whitish underparts.) The wing bars were also more clean-looking than those of the Yellow-bellied and Least Flycatchers (another possibility that I considered.)

The Eastern Screech Owls are still roosting directly across the street from the owl box I put up. They must not like the idea of moving indoors on these hot days we are having. The folks who own the home put up a 12-foot inflated lighted dragon with motorized flapping wings for Halloween directly underneath the owls. It probably has the owls wondering what-the-heck?

And as a last note, Bewick's Wrens were able to raise three broods this year. They are fun to watch. Their early spring nest is in a pottery-type cardinal ornament that hangs near the fountain. I always worry that in direct sunlight the nestlings will be baked. But they fledge so quickly, and the adults seem to chase them away because I usually don't see them 2 to 3 weeks after they fledged. The Bewick's June nest is in a hedge, and the August nest is in a hanging planter. This pair have been residents for almost 4 years now. The resident Carolina Wrens seem to put up with the Bewicks, the Carolina Wrens nest over in the neighbors hedges and shrubs, but sit up on the fence singing away and visiting my feeders.