May 20-21: Hammonasset State Park in Madison, CT is one of the most visited birding venues in Connecticut year-round, and a place I visit often as it is just 15 minutes from my house. Since arriving back from Florida two days earlier, on May 20 I thought I’d check it out for migrants after three solid days of rain. There were a moderate number of warblers and others, the best being this female Blackburnian, but nothing compared to the next day. I’ve never before had the experience of a true “fallout,” but today there were so many warblers on the Willard’s Island trails, in virtually every oak tree and even some of the conifers, that there was no way to accurately count them all and even difficult to stay on any single bird with the camera. I counted eleven warbler species, but there were undoubtedly more. Most numerous were American Redstart (estimated minimum 75 seen), Magnolia (minimum 50 seen) and Black & White (minimum least 25 seen). I spent most of the time concentrating on those species that I don’t see often – especially a pair of Bay-breasted Warblers which were lower down in the trees than most of the others except for the Black & Whites, and several Canada Warblers. Other species included a cooperative Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Orchard Oriole, Scarlet Tanager (female), Great Crested Flycatcher, and a number of Eastern Wood-Pewees.
Except for possibly May 14, 2010 at Magee Marsh in Ohio, one of the best spring migration hot spots in the U.S., and September 10, 2012 at Bluff Point in Groton, CT during fall migration, today had the highest number of warblers I have ever seen in one place at the same time.