Northwest Austin Backyard 2017-07-29 - Migrations

This morning I spent about 30 minutes sitting in my backyard, starting at 7:50. Twice previously this week while out on jogs in the neighborhood I'd noticed dragonflies flying south, and there were more this morning. I counted 183 dragonflies, all flying south over my backyard. I reported this as a migration event on The Migratory Dragonfly Partnership web site. I think they were 99% Spot-winged Gliders with just a few saddlebags mixed in. Keep your eyes open for dragonfly movements like this. They can be much more numerous and dramatic, and only seem to happen in the fall. We don't know much about where and when dragonflies migrate yet, but both The Migratory Dragonfly Partnership and Pond Watch have simple protocols people can follow to collect data and help us learn more.

Interesting bird observations included a heard-only Upland Sandpiper flying high overhead somewhere, also on its way south. There was a small bird in the live oaks I couldn't get a good look at but I suspect it was a Least Flycatcher. A bird with a red breast and belly and dark head flew over low, heading south. I think it was a Painted Bunting but I wasn't sure. And after I'd already ended my eBird checklist I heard a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

Here's my eBird checklist.

Afterwards I swept my patio and found a tiny tail feather from a Carolina Chickadee. (See the attached observation.)

These days we are experiencing triple digit temperatures in Austin, but that early in the morning it was quite pleasant sitting out back with my cup of coffee, observing birds and dragonflies and whatever else I could see and hear. This short thirty minutes of nature connection got me through spending the rest of the day indoors just fine.

Posted on 29 July, 2017 22:27 by mikaelb mikaelb


Photos / Sounds


Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)




July 29, 2017 10:25 AM CDT


I found this tiny feather on one of my patio chairs in my backyard. I think it's a tail feather from a Carolina Chickadee. Unfortunately the USFWS Feather Atlas doesn't have this species, but it has the very similar Black-capped Chickadee tail feathers:

Scale is centimeters.


I saw 2 dozen or more black-saddlebags on the corner of braker and metric on 7/22/17 swarming around in circles very low to the ground.

Posted by blubayou almost 7 years ago

Neat! That sounds like what I've heard called a feeding swarm. I bet there was a concentration of small flying insects there that they were preying on. Keep your eyes open for directed flights which could be migration.

Posted by mikaelb almost 7 years ago

@gcwarbler here's my journal entry for the dragonfly migration event we chatted about last night.

Posted by mikaelb almost 7 years ago

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