The fall migration of North American birds roughly occurs from July through November. However different species or families of birds migrate at different times during this rather wide window of time. In terms of diversity of species September represents the peak month of the fall migration. The focus of this trip will be on three significant groups of birds that are at, or near, peak at this date. They are 1) neo-tropical passerines (especially warblers), 2) raptors (especially Broad-winged Hawks, accipiter’s and Ospreys and 3) shorebirds (sandpipers et. all).
While these species may be found in many locations throughout our region, the Brookville Lake area can be an excellent place to find a diverse representation of all three groups at this season. Of course weather and water levels the day of our trip will play a large part in just how good the birding will be. But if conditions are favorable an outstanding day can be expected. Even if conditions are unfavorable we still expect to find a diversity of birds in this outstanding area. This field trip has become an annual event and never disappoints.
The plan is to start the day birding the woodland edges around Brookville Lake looking for warblers, vireos, flycatchers, grosbeaks, thrushes and many other songbirds. Around 10:30 AM, as temperatures rise (and if it’s not raining) updrafts along the ridges of the Whitewater River valley will create thermals that are used by migrating hawks. We expect to see Ospreys, Broad-winged, Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks as they move south. Peregrine Falcons and Merlin’s are possible and have been seen on past trips. Bald Eagles and other resident hawk species are also expected throughout the day. Towards mid-day we will check the north end of Brookville Lake, which can be an excellent place to find numbers of shorebirds, terns, herons and egrets if water levels are low enough to expose mudflats.
This trip will run well into the afternoon. We will caravan to the Brookville Lake area and then do some driving from spot to spot, interspersed with lots of stops and some easy walking. Bring your lunch and drinks. Restrooms are available. One important note; Indiana State Parks charge a daily per car entrance fee ($5 resident, $7 non-resident). At this time of year there is about a 50/50 chance that there will not be a fee charged.
We will meet at 8:00 a.m. at the park & ride lot, located at the I-74/I-275 Miamitown exit # 7 for SR 128. The Park & Ride is wedged between the exit ramp and the expressway. We will caravan from here to the Brookville area, about a 25-minute drive. Contact Jack or Jay if you have any questions.