Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Metro Beach banding report - October 2-11, 2014

Cooler and drier conditions prevailed during this two-week period (4 days of banding), allowing the banding area to dry out a bit, though there is still plenty of mud. Warblers are clearly not finished yet, with some surprising and somewhat late captures. And sparrows were increasing, but not building yet to the large numbers expected by this time. Thrushes continued in rather low numbers, while kinglets are late getting started.

Many thanks to the following volunteers for making banding possible on these four days: David Flak, Randy Kling, Dave Lancaster, Steve Mangas, Ann McKlinsky, Jeff Silence, and Blanche Wicke.

Highlights of the 39 birds banded on Thursday, October 2 included the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird captured at this location during October. More interesting was that it had originally been banded here 7 days before, on September 25. And even more interesting, it weighed 2.7 grams when banded, and 5.0 grams today, nearly doubling its body weight in a week!
Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird















The first Wood Thrush of the fall was somewhat late, but a nice capture as typically only one or two are banded each fall.
Hatch-year Wood Thrush















And a rather late, but not the latest, Northern Waterthrush was banded today. Another was observed in the banding area later, lacking any bands, so clearly there were two around.
Hatch-year Northern Waterthrush















Interesting birds observed but not banded included a calling Virginia Rail near the Field Nets, and somewhat late Black-and-white Warbler and American Redstart, and a flyover Pine Siskin.

Highlights of the 33 birds banded on Saturday, October 4 included an interesting adult Black-capped Chickadee.
After hatch-year Black-capped Chickadee














It was interesting because it showed the tail pattern that is shown in the Pyle Guide for adult (after hatch-year) chickadees. The reason this is unusual is that despite my having recaptured many known adult chickadees over the years, almost none actually show this pattern. Notice in the photo below how the white on the outer webs of the tail feathers wraps around the tips to the inside of the feather.
After hatch-year Black-capped Chickadee














Most adult chickadees I've handled have worn tail feathers that are pointy, and white only on the outer webs, like hatch-year birds. I don't know if other banding stations have experienced this.

The first Winter Wrens of the season were captured today.
Hatch-year Winter Wren














And a late Ovenbird was a bit of a surprise, after a season with fewer than normal.
Hatch-year Ovenbird















Interesting birds observed but not banded included a flyover Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Peregrine Falcon perched in a tree on the shoreline feeding on a Blue Jay (thanks Paul!), a calling Sora in the marsh, both species of kinglet, and Tennessee, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, and Blackburnian (very late) Warblers.

Highlights of the 106 birds banded on Thursday, October 9 included the first kinglet of the season, a male Golden-crowned.
Hatch-year male Golden-crowned Kinglet















A single Swainson's Thrush among the many Hermits was somewhat late. The retained buff-spotted juvenile greater secondary coverts clearly indicate this bird is a hatch-year.
Hatch-year Swainson's Thrush














Just about on schedule, the first Yellow-rumped Warblers of the fall were banded today.
Hatch-year female Yellow-rumped Warbler















Not terribly late, but not many are banded in October here, was an American Redstart.
After hatch-year female American Redstart















And yet another Northern Waterthrush was banded today, this one a record late for banding. Another Ovenbird today was also late, but nowhere near the record (Oct 22, 2009).
Hatch-year Northern Waterthrush














An unusual species for us to catch in the marsh is Field Sparrow, and we had one today, which may be the only one we get though last fall we had an amazing 10, which broke the previous record of two!
Hatch-year Field Sparrow














Hatch-year Field Sparrow















An unusual White-throated Sparrow found its way into the nets; it had orange spots in front of the eyes instead of yellow, and the feathers at the bend of the wing which are usually pale yellow were peach-colored.
After hatch-year White-throated Sparrow














After hatch-year White-throated Sparrow















Interesting birds observed included flyover Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks, and a very curious Red-tailed Hawk that perched on a branch only about 10 yards away from where I was banding the birds!
Red-tailed Hawk















In the marsh, Sora and Marsh Wrens were heard and a Wilson's Snipe was seen and heard. Two Great Horned Owls were calling first thing in the morning, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was heard after daybreak. A Fox Sparrow was the first of the season, and there was a flyover Pine Siskin later in the day. Butterflies were seen today, includign a Monarch, Red Admiral, Question Mark, and a nice Mourning Cloak that perched on a tree right next to the banding station. This individual is likely to overwinter in leaf litter and emerge again early next spring.
Mourning Cloak
Highlights of the 52 birds banded on Saturday, October 11 included the very early capture of an Eastern Screech-Owl. As it turns out, it was already banded...last fall as a hatch-year bird. It is interesting that although its facial feathering suggests it is a gray morph, there are quite a few brown feathers on its upper parts.
After hatch-year Eastern Screech-Owl















After hatch-year Eastern Screech-Owl















After hatch-year Eastern Screech-Owl














Three Downy Woodpeckers were captured today, all of them showing an interesting peach-colored stain (?) on their foreheads and throats. Possibly some type of pollen?
Hatch-year male Downy Woodpecker














Typically a later migrant, the first Blue-headed Vireo of the season turned up today as almost the last bird of the day.
Hatch-year Blue-headed Vireo













A bit overdue, but usually banded in small numbers, Orange-crowned Warblers were captured and banded today. In fact, all three were in the Field Edge net on the same net run. There were also at least 3-4 others flying around in the weedy fields near there.
Hatch-year male Orange-crowned Warbler














Note in the photo above that the undertail coverts are the brightest part of this bird, being bright yellow. Also, the face pattern consists of a broken eye ring and a dull darkish eye line. Having three of these birds at once provided us an interesting chance to compare the variations in face patterns, with some birds showing more of a pale eye line than others.
Hatch-year male Orange-crowned Warbler














Hatch-year female Orange-crowned Warbler















Another hatch-year female Orange-crowned Warbler
















Not particularly late for this species, this nice male Black-throated Blue Warbler was only the 8th one this fall. The previous 9-year average is 15. Where are they? Note also the large white wing patch on this individual, which some would use in the field to call it an adult. But this bird clearly had an incompletely ossified skull, confirming it as a hatch-year.
Hatch-year male Black-throated Blue Warbler















Common Yellowthroats have been banded here as late as October 30, but by mid-month they are getting sparse. So, the three today was notable, and brought the season's total to 77, which is a bit above average.
Hatch-year Common Yellowthroat














Interesting birds observed but not banded included a little bit of hawk migration in the form of 3 Sharp-shinned and 2 Cooper's Hawks, a calling Eastern Phoebe, a good number of Golden-crowned and a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a somewhat late American Redstart, the first Eastern Towhee,  Dark-eyed Junco, and Rusty Blackbird of the season. Two Pine Siskins flew over, showing no interest in the thistle feeders, which seem to have been abandoned by the goldfinches too.

============================
Banding Data
-------------------------------------
THURSDAY, October 2, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:30
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 59-70
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind: NNE-ESE @ 3-5-10 mph
Barometer:  29.39-29.35
Precipitation: None. Fog in a.m.
No. Banded: 39 (plus 12 recaptured, 4 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 16
Capture Rate: 59.8 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.0 hours, 5:00-14:00): Randy Kling, Dave Lancaster, Blanche Wicke.

[Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1 recaptured]
[Tufted Titmouse - 1 recaptured]
Swainson's Thrush - 3
Wood Thrush - 1
Gray Catbird - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 5
Nashville Warbler - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Song Sparrow - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2
Swamp Sparrow - 2 (plus 4 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 12 (plus 3 released unbanded)
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
[Northern Cardinal - 2 recaptured]
American Goldfinch - 6 (plus 3 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)

-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, October 4, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:33
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00 (rain delayed full opening)
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:30 (rain & wind forced early close)
Hours Open: 6.5
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 71.00
Temperature (F): 46-48
Cloud Cover: 100-95-100%
Wind: WSW @ 5-7-15 mph
Barometer: 29.98-29.03
Precipitation:  Rain in a.m.
No. Banded: 33 (plus 16 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 17
Capture Rate: 70.4 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Ann McKlinsky, Jeff Silence (7.0 hrs), Blanche Wicke.

Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Winter Wren - 2
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Wood Thrush - 1
Nashville Warbler - 2
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
Palm Warbler - 2
Ovenbird - 1
[Northern Waterthrush - 1 recaptured]
Common Yellowthroat - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 8 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 2
White-throated Sparrow - 3
White-crowned Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 4 (plus 7 recaptured)

-------------------------------------
THURSDAY, October 9, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:38
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:15
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.0
No. of Nets: 6.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 45-61
Cloud Cover: 50-20-50%
Wind: WSW-W @ 3-5-7 mph
Barometer: 29.36-29.43
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 106 (plus 13 recaptured)
No. of Species: 25
Capture Rate: 129.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.5 hours, 5:00-15:30): David Flak (9.5 hrs), Steve Mangas, Blanche Wicke.

Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Tufted Titmouse - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Brown Creeper - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Hermit Thrush - 17
Gray Catbird - 2
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 3
Palm Warbler - 7 (record day)
American Redstart - 1
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 2
Field Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 9 (plus 3 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 38 (plus 2 recaptured)
[White-crowned Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Northern Cardinal - 1
Indigo Bunting - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 1
American Goldfinch - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)

-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, October 11, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:40
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 6.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 39-59
Cloud Cover: 20%
Wind: NNW @ 5-7 mph
Barometer: 29.53-29.59
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 52 (plus 11 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 21
Capture Rate: 70.7 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): Steve Mangas, Ann McKlinsky, Blanche Wicke.

[Eastern Screech-Owl - 1 recaptured]
Downy Woodpecker - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Blue-headed Vireo - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 2
Tufted Titmouse - 5
Brown Creeper - 1
Winter Wren - 1
Hermit Thrush - 6 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 3
Nashville Warbler - 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 2
Palm Warbler - 2
[Ovenbird - 1 recaptured]
Common Yellowthroat - 3
Song Sparrow - 6 (plus 5 recaptured)
[Lincoln's Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 4 (plus 1 released unbanded)
White-throated Sparrow - 9
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 1
American Goldfinch - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Metro Beach banding report - September 18-27, 2014

The last half of September saw the weather dry out some, but so also did the migration. There were some warblers initially, but later in the month there was a shift to the later stage of migration with the arrival of some of the sparrows that will dominate banding during October.

Thanks to the following volunteers for making banding on these four days possible: Mary Buchowski, Terri Chapdelaine, Jacob Charlebois, Randy Kling, Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack, and Blanche Wicke. 

Highlights of the 98 birds banded on Thursday, September 18 included 3 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and 3 Marsh Wrens. The only new species banded for the fall was a Gray-cheeked Thrush.
Hatch-year Gray-cheeked Thrush














The lack of a strong buffy eye ring and supraloral stripe, and grayish cheeks, of course distinguish this species. There is another character that I see on some of these Gray-cheeked Thrushes that might be useful in the field. Notice the white patch below the cheek on this individual. Not all Gray-cheeks appear to have it, but on Swainson's Thrushes it is not white, but buffy and not so contrasting. Check it out on the Swainson's Thrush below.
Hatch-year Swainson's Thrush














Warbler species banded included Tennessee, Nashville, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Ovenbird, and Common Yellowthroat. Nearly half the birds banded today were American Goldfinches.

Interesting birds observed but not banded included flyover Northern Harrier and Cooper's Hawk, and a Solitary Sandpiper heard briefly out in the marsh that may also have been a flyover. Two adult Great Horned Owls were calling from two widely separated areas, and a young bird was giving a begging call from yet another area; all well before sunrise. An Eastern Wood-Pewee and a Northern Waterthrush were both calling most of the day, but avoided the nets.

Highlights of the 30 birds banded on Saturday, September 20 included 5 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, which is a good number for this date, although numbers banded so far are on pace to be perhaps the second or third lowest ever at this station.
Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird















And on this rather slow day, again about half the birds banded were American Goldfinches, including the 200th of the season.
Hatch-year male American Goldfinch














Interesting birds observed but not banded included an immature Cooper's Hawk that hung around the banding area for too long in the morning, perhaps limiting our catch, a lingering Eastern Wood-Pewee, and a Wood Thrush that popped up right next to our cars. The first White-throated Sparrow of the fall was observed, but failed to find the nets.

Highlights of the 59 birds banded on Thursday, September 25 included the first arrivals of some of the later migrants, like the first Brown Creeper of the season.
Hatch-year Brown Creeper















Palm Warbler is a later migrant than some other warblers, and we had our first of the fall today.
Hatch-year Palm Warbler













And the first two, of many more to come, White-throated Sparrows found their way into our nets today.
Hatch-year White-throated Sparrow














An interesting recapture was a Swamp Sparrow that was originally banded in 2010. Conventional wisdom is that only juveniles have streaks, which sometimes are retained into their first spring. Clearly, this 4 year old bird is retaining some faint streaks.
5th year Swamp Sparrow














Interesting birds observed but not banded included a Sora calling out near the Field Nets, single Eastern Screech and Great Horned Owls, more than 100 Blue Jays flying south over the banding area, and two more arrivals that indicate we're in the second half of migration; single Winter Wren and Golden-crowned Kinglet. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak was heard near the cars.

Highlights of the 67 birds banded on Saturday, September 27 included the first Blue Jay of the season, which is always nice to see, and especially to share with visitors despite how common they are.
Hatch-year Blue Jay













An unusual capture, for us, was a Tufted Titmouse. This was the 5th one this fall, which is a record number for the station. They are not terribly common in the park, with limited habitat, and don't often find their way back to the swamp woods where the station is located.
Hatch-year Tufted Titmouse















A Marsh Wren captured today was the 19th of the season, which is the most since 2004 (Ellie Cox had three fall seasons with more than 20 each. This was a very fresh hatch-year, with "dandruff" in the form of white specks of feather sheaths visible on its crown and back. The plumage they have just after leaving the nest is duller, with much less prominent black back feathers with white centers.
Hatch-year Marsh Wren















Usually, the first Hermit Thrushes of the fall are seen before they are captured, but today the opposite was true, as the only one seen was hanging in the nets.
Hatch-year Hermit Thrush














Right on schedule, the first two White-crowned Sparrows of the fall were captured today, also just seen in the nets, not around the banding area.
Hatch-year White-crowned Sparrow














Probably the most nondescript bird of the day was the most unusual, a female Indigo Bunting. The average number of Indigo Buntings banded at this station is less than 1 per season.
After hatch-year female Indigo Bunting














Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a flyover Northern Harrier, a single Ruby-crowned Kinglet near the cars, a calling Wood Thrush, a somewhat late Northern Waterthrush, and a flyover Pine Siskin in the early morning.

============================
Banding Data
-------------------------------------
THURSDAY, September 18, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:15
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 52-61
Cloud Cover: 0-100-70%
Wind: NW-NE @ 3-5-10 mph
Barometer:  29.40-29.52
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 98 (plus 31 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 19
Capture Rate: 141.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack (5.5 hrs), Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Downy Woodpecker - 2 recaptured]
[Black-capped Chickadee - 2 recaptured]
Marsh Wren - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 2
[Gray Catbird - 1 recaptured]
Tennessee Warbler - 2
Nashville Warbler - 3
Magnolia Warbler - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
Ovenbird - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 12 (plus 4 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 8 (plus 10 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 8
American Goldfinch - 48 (plus 7 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)

-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, September 20, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:17
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 11:45 (wind forced early close)
Hours Open: 5.75
No. of Nets: 4.0-10.0 (shortage of volunteers = fewer nets open)
Net Hours: 54.00
Temperature (F): 56-73
Cloud Cover: 70-40%
Wind: SW-S @ 3-5-15 mph
Barometer: 29.36-29.25
Precipitation:  None.
No. Banded: 30 (plus 14 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 9
Capture Rate: 83.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 8.5 hours, 5:00-13:30): Mary Buchowski (3.0 hrs), Jacob Charlebois, Tom Schlack (2.5 hrs). 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
Marsh Wren - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Nashville Warbler - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 3 (plus 3 recaptured)
[Song Sparrow - 3 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 16 (plus 5 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)

-------------------------------------
THURSDAY, September 25, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:23
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 59-73
Cloud Cover: 20-30%
Wind: S-SE @ 3-5-7 mph
Barometer: 29.71-29.70
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 59 (plus 10 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 16
Capture Rate: 76.1 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Randy Kling, Dave Lancaster, Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 7
Tufted Titnouse - 1
Brown Creeper - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 3
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 2
Palm Warbler - 1
Blackpoll Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 6 (plus 2 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 1
American Goldfinch - 27 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)

-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, September 27, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:25
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.50
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 94.00
Temperature (F): 54-75
Cloud Cover: 20-0%
Wind: Calm-SE @ 0-3-5 mph
Barometer: 29.66-29.65
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 67 (plus 15 recaptured)
No. of Species: 17
Capture Rate: 87.2 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Mary Buchowski, Terri Chapdelaine, Blanche Wicke. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Northern Flicker - 2
Blue Jay - 2
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
Tufted Titmouse - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Marsh Wren - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 2
Hermit Thrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 12 (plus 4 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 6 (plus 4 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 12
White-crowned Sparrow - 2
Indigo Bunting - 1
American Goldfinch - 18 (plus 3 recaptured)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Metro Beach banding report - September 4-13, 2014

The rain continues! Although we managed to squeeze four days of banding in during the first half of September, rain was either just finishing before we arrived at the park, started after we took the station down, or both! On one day, we were delayed setting up by two hours. But with all this inconvenience, the birds came in, including lots of warblers. Of the 345 birds banded on these four days, 108 were warblers.

Thank you to the following volunteers for making banding possible on these days. Jean Gramlich, Caden Gramlich, Dave Lancaster, Steve Mangas, Tom Schlack, Sarah Toner, Blanche Wicke, and Sue Wright.

Highlights of the 56 birds banded on Thursday, September 4 included the first Swainson's Thrushes of the fall. Many years, they arrive before mid-August, but not this year.
Hatch-year Swainson's Thrush














A few warblers were banded, including the first Magnolia Warbler of the fall. Normally this fairly common migrant is first captured in late August here, so another late initiation of migration perhaps.
Hatch-year Magnolia Warbler














And the first female Black-throated Blue Warbler of the fall was captured. This individual had a very inconspicuous white patch at the base of the primaries, which is not a rare situation with hatch-year females of this species.
Hatch-year female Black-throated Blue Warbler














So it always pays to have a backup field mark. On female Black-throated Blues, the dark gray cheek with short white line over the eye, and white arc under the eye are all distinctive.
Hatch-year female Black-throated Blue Warbler














Another Red-winged Blackbird was captured today, expanding my personal experience with the molt of this species. It appears to me that this is a hatch-year male, but I am willing to be persuaded that it might be a second-year.
Hatch-year male Red-winged Blackbird














Hatch-year male Red-winged Blackbird















Interesting birds observed but not banded included two flyover Green-winged Teal, a couple of Virginia Rails out near the Field Nets, and a Belted Kingfisher with a Ruby-throated Hummingbird chasing it just a foot behind! Other aerial maneuvers were observed today too, provided by the U.S. Navy's aerobatic team, the Blue Angels. They were practicing their routines for the air show coming up on Saturday, distracting us a little from the birds, and giving great photo opportunities.
The Blue Angels













The Blue Angels















The Blue Angels going straight up














The Blue Angels going straight down













The Blue Angels flying upside down












The Blue Angels beginning their starburst maneuver














The Blue Angels starburst maneuver














Highlights of the 98 birds banded on Saturday, September 6 included two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds; very appropriate since today was the Nature Center's "hummingbirds and monarchs" program. Unfortunately, both were captured, banded, and released before 8 a.m., and the program wasn't scheduled to start until 10 a.m. In past years, I've taken advantage of the surroundings to show the intimate relationship during fall migration between hummingbirds and Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), which is abundant in the banding area.
Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird
feeding on Jewelweed















The first Yellow-bellied Flycatcher of the fall was banded today. While all Empidonax flycatchers inf all can have yellow bellies, the Yellow-bellied is the only one with yellow on the throat. They also tend to be greenish-olive all over, with a distinct narrow eye ring that is often pale yellowish.
Hatch-year Yellow-bellied Flycatcher














Hatch-year Yellow-bellied Flycatcher














The first Red-eyed Vireo of the fall was unusual in that it was an adult, with a bright red eye.
After hatch-year Red-eyed Vireo














An adult Marsh Wren in fine plumage was the 13th of the fall, a very good number for so early in the season. The blaak-and-white streaking on the back is much more prominent in adults.
After hatch-year Marsh Wren













But it was the warblers that stole the show today, with most species representing firsts for the fall, including Nashville, Tennessee, Chestnut-sided, Blackpoll, and Black-and-white.
After hatch-year female Tennessee Warbler













Hatch-year female Nashville Warbler














Hatch-year male Chestnut-sided Warbler
(note single chestnut feather on breast)















Hatch-year Blackpoll Warbler
(note the bright white undertail coverts, and
yellow feet)















Hatch-year male Black-and-white Warbler















Hatch-year male Black-and-white Warbler















Some of the more special (i.e., less frequently captured) warblers included a very nice hatch-year male Blackburnian Warbler, not one but three Mourning Warblers, and a single Canada Warbler.
Hatch-year male Blackburnian Warbler














Hatch-year male Blackburnian Warbler















Hatch-year Mourning Warbler














Hatch-year male Canada Warbler














Interesting birds observed but not banded included a flyover Semipalmated Plover, continuing Virginia Rails near the Field Nets, a Black-throated Green Warbler, and flyover Indigo Bunting and Bobolink.

Highlights of the 97 birds banded on Thursday, September 11 included 9 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds; the most on a single day so far this fall (but far from a record), and 4 Eastern Wood-Pewees, which might be a record. But once again it was the warblers that were the highlight, but among the 15 individuals of 7 species, only the Bay-breasted Warbler was a first for the fall. Nearly half of the birds banded today were American Goldfinches!
Hatch-year Bay-breasted Warbler














Note the general buffy tones on the underparts, including on the undertail coverts (compare with the Blackpoll Warbler above). On hatch-year Blackpoll Warblers, usually only the soles of the feet are yellow, making leg color very difficult to deterimine (and other warblers have yellow feet too!).
Hatch-year Bay-breasted Warbler














Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a Cooper's Hawk that bounced out of the Field Nets, a Common Nighthawk very early when setting up nets, both Yellow-bellied and Least Flycatchers, a Philadelphia Vireo, a somewhat late Yellow Warbler, and an Ovenbird.

On Saturday, September 13, it was raining when we arrived at the park at 6 a.m., so we waited it out while looking out at rainy Lake St. Clair and Huron Point in the distance. By 8 a.m. the rain had stopped and we were able to band for the rest of the day.
Huron Point, viewed from ~0.4 miles SE of the banding station















Highlights of the 94 birds banded included another Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and three Least Flycatchers. The Red-eyed Vireo captured today was the expected age, hatch-year, with brown eyes.
Hatch-year Red-eyed Vireo














Among the 5 Tennessee Warblers banded was an interesting individual that I am certain would be misidentified in the field by many as an Orange-crowned Warbler, a species that is extremely rare (almost nonexistent actually) in most of Michigan before September 15. This individual did not have as prominent a pale supercilium that most Tennessee's show, and there was a faint suggestion of streaking on the breast probably caused by feather shadows. But this bird did not show the prime field mark for Orange-crowned, the bright yellow undertail coverts (some Tennessee's can have buffy there!). If you look closely, the undertail coverts are clean, bright white, which is shown by Tennessee and not by Orange-crowned. And there are other differences...
After hatch-year Tennessee Warbler














The prize of the day, as we don't catch very many (some years none), was the Northern Parula.
Hatch-year female Northern Parula














Hatch-year female Northern Parula















Hatch-year female Northern Parula















Bay-breasted Warblers are Spruce Budworm specialists (along with others, like Cape May Warbler). In the past, numbers of these warblers showed "boom and bust" cycles, with lots of them in some years. In recent decades, spraying to control this native predator on conifers has flattened out this cycle, so that we have had only low numbers for quite some time. So it was nice to get FIVE of them on one net run, including two young males, one showing chestnut on the crown, and the other showing chestnut on the flanks. Note that neither bird shows a pale neck patch described in some field guides...perhaps that is a character more often seen in adults.
Hatch-year male Bay-breasted Warbler













Hatch-year male Bay-breasted Warbler















It is always nice to catch an after second-year American Redstart, as kind of an early reminder of Halloween!
After second-year male American Redstart














Hatch-year Magnolia Warblers cannot reliably be sexed in-hand (despite what some field guides say!). But the adults are less problematic. The adult (after hatch-year) below can be told by its large square tail spots, all-black upper tail coverts, black centers to the green back feathers, and bold flank streaking. These characters should translate to hatch-year birds in some way, but there is a bewildering number of combinations of these characters on hatch-year birds.
After hatch-year male Magnolia Warbler














Probably my favorite Michigan sparrow is the Lincoln's, and today we had our first of the fall. It is a subtly beautiful bird, with tons of field marks!
After hatch-year Lincoln's Sparrow














Interesting birds observed but not banded included a Least Bittern (along the boardwalk, a little ways away from the banding area), a continuing Virginia Rail, a briefly calling Great Crested Flycatcher, a Cliff Swallow in the morning swallow flock, a Black-throated Green Warbler, and two Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

============================
Banding Data
-------------------------------------
THURSDAY, September 4, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:01
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:15
Hours Open: 6.50
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 82.25
Temperature (F): 68-82
Cloud Cover: 10-60%
Wind: S @ 3-5-12 mph
Barometer: 30.07-30.06
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 56 (plus 13 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 14
Capture Rate: 85.1 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.0 hours, 5:00-14:00): Dave Lancaster, Blanche Wicke, Sue Wright.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3
Hairy Woodpecker - 1
Warbling Vireo - 1
Marsh Wren - 5
Swainson's Thrush - 3
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 8 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Song Sparrow - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 1
House Finch - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 22 (plus 6 recaptured)

-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, September 6, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:03
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 62-68
Cloud Cover: 100-70%
Wind: SW-NW @ 1-3-10 mph
Barometer: 30.02-30.13
Precipitation: Trace in a.m.
No. Banded: 98 (plus 20 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 29
Capture Rate: 129.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 11.0 hours, 5:00-16:00): Steve Mangas, Tom Schlack (5.5 hrs), Sarah Toner, Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Northern Flicker - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 2
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 2
Red-eyed Vireo - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 3
Marsh Wren - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 5
Gray Catbird - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 4
Nashville Warbler - 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
[Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1 recaptured]
Blackburnian Warbler - 1
Blackpoll Warbler - 11 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Black-and-white Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 1
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 2
Mourning Warbler - 3
Common Yellowthroat - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Canada Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 9 (plus 7 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 3 (plus 3 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 1
American Goldfinch - 32 (plus 7 recaptured)

-------------------------------------
THURSDAY, September 11, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:08
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:15
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 91.00
Temperature (F): 57-59
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind: WNW-N @ 10-12-7 mph
Barometer: 29.85-30.13
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 97 (plus 27 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 16
Capture Rate: 140.7 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): Dave Lancaster, Steve Mangas, Blanche Wicke,

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 9
Northern Flicker - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 4
Black-capped Chickadee - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 3
Magnolia Warbler - 2
[Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1 recaptured]
Bay-breasted Warbler - 1
Blackpoll Warbler - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 6 (plus 4 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 15 (plus 2 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Swamp Sparrow - 3 (plus 4 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 2
American Goldfinch - 43 (plus 13 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)

-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, September 13, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:10
Time Open (E.S.T.): 7:15
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 14:00
Hours Open: 6.75
No. of Nets: 4.0-13.0
Net Hours: 85.00
Temperature (F): 52-58
Cloud Cover: 100-70-100%
Wind: N @ 3-5-15 mph
Barometer: 30.13-29.64
Precipitation: Rain delayed opening
No. Banded: 94 (plus 26 recaptured, 4 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 27
Capture Rate: 145.9 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 11.0 hours, 5:00-16:00): Jean Gramlich (8.5 hrs), Caden Gramlich (8.5 hrs), Steve Mangas, Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Hairy Woodpecker - 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Least Flycatcher - 3
Warbling Vireo - 1
Red-eyed Vireo - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 2 recaptured]
Tufted Titmouse - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[White-breasted Nuthatch - 1 recaptured]
Swainson's Thrush - 3
Gray Catbird - 1
Tennesee Warbler - 5
Nashville Warbler - 11 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Northern Parula - 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 12 (plus 2 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
Bay-breasted Warbler - 5
Black-and-white Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 5
Common Yellowthroat - 5 (plus 2 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 4 (plus 3 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
[Swamp Sparrow - 2 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 2
American Goldfinch - 21 (plus 10 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)