There have been many reports of Red-breasted Nuthatches well south of their range with some high counts recorded at Cape May. Red-breasted Nuthatches are most easily found by listening for their high-pitched tin-horn-like ank-ank-ank-ank. You will often find them in spruce plantations and around other conifers.
Red-breasted Nuthatch video by Katie Andersen
[Ontbirds] Long Point Update – September 3. Red-breasted Nuthatch and Purple Finch irruption into southern Ontar… http://t.co/5UlWNbUB
— Ontbird_Tweets (@ontbirds) September 4, 2012
It seems that Ontario has also been experiencing a Purple Finch irruption. I haven’t heard much mention of this species in the Northeast but we may start to see signs of it as the weather gets colder and we approach their typical migration period.
— Tim Schreckengost (@tdschreck) September 6, 2012
The most exciting species for me will be Red Crossbills. I have not seen many Red Crossbills in my life, and the most recent sighting was of a small flock flying past me at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary when I was a hawk counter one fall. Red Crossbills have popped up in random locations across Pennsylvania and New York, including a small flock in Central Park in NY where they haven’t been reported for decades (I believe, don’t quote me on this). It seems that the irruption is made of of mostly Type 3 Red Crossbills which are the smallest billed of the Reds. Type 3 Red Crossbills also have a high-pitched jip-jip-jip flight call which may be confused with White-winged Crossbill calls. Type 3’s are hemlock specialists but during irruption years can be found foraging on a broad spectrum of conifers.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and find some irruptives and be sure to use eBird so we can chart out this years irruption.