I am now taking my morning walk with Dog a good 45 minutes before sunrise, long before even the eastern pewees are up. Occasionally, as on this morning, we startle some sleeping bird as we walk past where they are roosting. This morning it was a killdeer who was startled and responded with their familiar call.
The lack of morning light affects my birding in other ways too. I have records going back a good many years of the dates when different species arrive in the spring. But my records of when they leave in the fall are pretty bad. Right now I'm just leaving the cabin and heading to work when I first hear the morning pewees call. In another week I will be leaving before they call. When do they head south? I won't know they are gone until some weekend when they aren't around. It's a shame that work has to interfere with good birding.
Last evening I saw the season's first large group of common grackles, several hundred at least. That's actually not a large group, but large enough. Down in Maryland and sometimes in this area, the flocks will be in the thousands, perhaps even the tens of thousands. In addition to the noise, the mess is pretty extreme as well. In this area, the birds hang out in one area for a few days or a week and then move someplace else. In Maryland and further south, sometimes the flocks hang together in the same area all winter. I hope I never have to see that near me.