Monday, June 5, 2017

Lake St. Clair Metropark - last week of spring banding

Spring migration typically continues into the first week of June most years, so banding efforts are conducted to try to capture the latest and last migrants. This week we were able to band on two days, June 1 and 3. We had to reschedule banding on June 4 to June 3 because of rain, which is somehow a fitting end to this very wet spring season. Only 58 birds were banded on these two days, but included most of the expected late migrants and a couple of surprises. At the end of the detailed results for these two days, I have provided a general summary of the entire spring's banding results.

Highlights of the 38 species of 23 species banded on Thursday, June 1, included a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, 2 Alder and 3 Willow Flycatchers. Most years at the Marsh station we captured Swainson's Thrush in the first couple days of June, and today was no exception.
After hatch-year Swainson's Thrush

















We captured the expected late migrating warblers, including American Redstart, Mourning Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, and Canada Warbler. Second-year male American Redstarts are often mistaken for females, but most will have some black on the head or especially on the face, as on this individual, which females never show.
Second-year male American Redstart
















Late migrating warblers are often females, but there were still male Wilson's Warblers in the park today indicating that more females were yet to come through.
Second-year male Wilson's Warbler

















The "necklace" on female Canada Warblers is less distinct than on males, and they have less black on their foreheads.
After second-year female Canada Warbler

















Interesting birds observed but not banded included singing Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and Orchard Oriole.

Highlights of the 21 birds of 17 species banded on Saturday, June 3, included a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the 18th of the season. The record in spring at the Marsh station was 13 in 2008. In fall we band many more hummingbirds. There were also Empidonax flycatchers in evidence today, and the only one that we banded keyed out to Alder Flycatcher.

The brownish back, white throat, very narrow (sometimes nearly absent) eye ring, and slightly grayer head will get your ID to either Willow or Alder, but in the field the bird needs to vocalize to confirm the identification. In-hand, maybe 50% of them will key out to one species or another, and there is some skepticism that they keys I(based on various measurements of specific wing feathers and bill length) are correct. Some Willow and Alder Flycatchers, including the one in this photo, show wing bars that are subtly different in color with the one on the median coverts richer buff and the one on the greater coverts paler buff.
After hatch-year Alder Flycatcher
















This Warbling Vireo was the 1300th species banded this spring. The best spring at the Marsh station was 997 banded in 2012. The presence of a brood patch allowed her to be sexed as female.
After hatch-year female Warbling Vireo

















Two Swainson's Thrushes today confirmed that their migration was not yet over.
After hatch-year Swainson's Thrush

















This Gray-cheeked Thrush was a bit of a surprise (though one was heard singing just two days ago), and is the latest ever banded in the park.
After hatch-year Gray-cheeked Thrush
















Another surprise, though not later than they occur here, was the 3rd Blackpoll Warbler of the spring. We almost never catch any of these in spring, with only one in 10 years at the Marsh station, though we averaged 17 per fall season there.
After hatch-year female Blackpoll Warbler
















After hatch-year female Blackpoll Warbler

















Interesting birds observed but not banded included a flyover Green Heron, and singing Tennessee Warbler and American Redstarts.

Perhaps a fitting final photo for this spring's banding is this Leopard Frog sitting in the middle of the net lane.
Northern Leopard Frog
















Banding could not have been done on these two days without the help of the following volunteers: John Bieganowski, Stevie Kuroda, Dave Lancaster, Bruce Watson, and Blanche Wicke.

Detailed Bird Banding Results

June 1, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:15
Hours Open: 6.75
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 4:57
Net Hours: 73.0 (only 11.5 nets open; not enough volunteers)
Temperature (F): 55-72
Cloud Cover: 40-0%
Wind Direction: NE-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-12
Barometer: 30.08 - 30.13
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 38 (plus 15 recaptured)
Species Captured: 23
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 72.6
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Dave Lancaster. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird -1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 2
Willow Flycatcher - 3
Blue Jay - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 1
American Robin -  1
[Gray Catbird - 3 recaptured]
Cedar Waxwing - 1
Yellow Warbler - 3 (plus 5 recaptured)
American Redstart - 3
Mourning Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 4
Canada Warbler - 1
[Song Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Common Grackle - 1
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 2 (plus 3 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 2
-----------------------------------------------

June 3, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  4:57
Net Hours: 113.75
Temperature (F): 52-77
Cloud Cover: 20-0%
Wind Direction: WSW-SW
Wind Speed (mph): 1-3-7
Barometer: 30.13 - 30.13
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 32 (plus 18 recaptured)
Species Captured: 17
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 34.3
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 2
Tree Swallow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
[Tufted Titmouse - 1 recaptured]
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 2
American Robin - 3
Gray Catbird - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Yellow Warbler - 1 (plus 9 recaptured)
Blackpoll Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 2
Canada Warbler - 1
[Song Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

Spring 2017 Bird Banding Results

1301 individuals of 74 species banded, both records based on data from the Marsh station. Totals are shown with capture rate (number per 100 net hours) in brackets [ ], and number of returnees from previous years in parentheses. Species in bold text are considered unusual based on banding efforts at the Marsh station, but they may turn out to be more frequently captured as banding continues at this Meadow station. Additional comments are provided in italics.

Solitary Sandpiper - 1 [0.05] - Third ever in park
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 18 [0.86] - Record number
Downy Woodpecker - 6 [0.29] (+1 returnee)
(Hairy Woodpecker - 2 returnees)
Northern Flicker - 6 [0.29] - Record number
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1 [0.05]
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 4 [0.19]
Alder Flycatcher - 6 [0.29]
Willow Flycatcher - 15 [0.72] (+1 returnee) - Record number
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 16 [0.77] - Record number
Least Flycatcher - 9 [0.43] - Record number
Eastern Kingbird - 2 [0.10] - Record number
Warbling Vireo - 13 [0.62] (+4 returnees) - Record number
Philadelphia Vireo - 1 [0.05] - Tied record number
Red-eyed Vireo - 1 [0.05]
Blue Jay - 15 [0.72] - Tied record number
Tree Swallow - 16 [0.77] (+ 1 returnee) - Record number
Black-capped Chickadee - 5 [0.24] (+10 returnees)
(Tufted Titmouse - 2 returnees)
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1 [0.05]
Brown Creeper - 6 [0.29]
Carolina Wren - 1 [0.05] (+1 returnee)
House Wren - 15 [0.72] (+2 returnees) - Record number
Winter Wren - 2 [0.10]
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 18 [0.86]
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 47 [2.25] - Record number
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 4 [0.19]
Veery - 15 [0.72] - Record number
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 11 [0.53] - Record number
Swainson's Thrush - 22 [1.05] - Record number
Hermit Thrush - 14 [0.67]
Wood Thrush - 2 [0.10]
American Robin - 41 [1.96] (+2 returnees)
Gray Catbird - 42 [2.01] (+ 5 returnees) - Record number
Brown Thrasher - 2 [0.10]
European Starling - 8 [0.38] (+1 returnee)
Cedar Waxwing - 8 [0.38] - Record number
Tennessee Warbler - 1 [0.05] - Tied record number
Orange-crowned Warbler - 2 [0.10]
Nashville Warbler - 6 [0.29]
Yellow Warbler - 62 [2.97] (+26 returnees)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 2 [0.10]
Magnolia Warbler - 41 [1.96] - Record number
Cape May Warbler - 1 [0.05] - First in spring
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 2 [0.10]
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 22 [1.05] - Record number
Black-throated Green Warbler - 1 [0.05]
Blackburnian Warbler - 1 [0.05]
Palm Warbler - 11 [0.53] - Record number
Blackpoll Warbler - 3 [0.14] - Record number
Black-and-white Warbler - 5 [0.24]
American Redstart - 21 [1.01] - Record number
Ovenbird - 9 [0.43]
Northern Waterthrush - 10 [0.48]
Connecticut Warbler - 1 [0.05] - 3rd in spring
Mourning Warbler - 8 [0.38] - Tied record number
Common Yellowthroat - 78 [3.73] (+2 returnees) - Record number
Wilson's Warbler - 24 [1.15] - High
Canada Warbler - 8 [0.38]
Yellow-breasted Chat - 1 [0.05] - 7th in spring, 10th ever in park
Northern Cardinal - 7 [0.34] (+7 returnees)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 3 [0.14]
American Tree Sparrow - 8 [0.38] - Low
Fox Sparrow - 1 [0.05] - Low
Song Sparrow - 40 [1.91] (+12 returnees) - Record spring number
Lincoln's Sparrow - 32 [1.53] - High
Swamp Sparrow - 21 [1.01]
White-throated Sparrow - 29 [1.39] - Low
White-crowned Sparrow - 2 [0.10]
Dark-eyed Junco - 1 [0.05] - Low
Red-winged Blackbird - 263 [12.59] (+22 returnees) - Record number
Common Grackle - 13 [0.62]
Brown-headed Cowbird - 13 [0.62] (+2 returnees) - Record number
Orchard Oriole - 2 [0.10] - 2nd and 3rd ever in park
Baltimore Oriole - 23 [1.10] (+4 returnees)
House Finch - 2 [0.10]
American Goldfinch - 118 [5.65] (+7 returnees) - Record spring number
House Sparrow - 9 [0.43] - Record number

Friday, June 2, 2017

Lake St. Clair Metropark banding report - May 19-28, 2017

Rain continued to challenge us during the last half of May, but we did not cancel any banding days. It just kept the banding area and net lanes muddy with a few puddles. Banding was very productive and interesting, however, with a total of 353 birds banded on 5 days of banding (May 19, 20, 26, 27, and 28). We surpassed the record spring season from the Marsh site we worked in from 2004-2014, which was 997 birds. This spring's total banded is now over 1200 birds.

Highlights of the 108 birds of 34 species banded on Friday, May 19, included 3 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and several Willow/Alder Flycatchers. The first Gray-cheeked Thrushes of the spring were banded today, which seems a bit late for their first arrival.
Second-year Gray-cheeked Thrush

















The eye ring on a Gray-cheeked is whiter, less buffy, than that of Swainson's and there is usually no pale line above the lores. The gray cheeks are often difficult to discern. In fact, Veery has more obvious gray cheeks than does the Gray-cheeked Thrush!
Second-year Gray-cheeked Thrush

















It was definitely a warbler day, with 48 individuals of 13 species banded. Not a rare species, we don't catch very many Tennessee Warblers in the spring. Likely they forage high enough that the avoid our nets, like a few other species do, though we usually catch plenty of young ones in fall. Perhaps the chilly conditions in the morning brought them lower down today.
After hatch-year male Tennessee Warbler
















It seemed a bit late in the spring to still be catching Palm Warblers, as they are earlier migrants, like Yellow-rumped Warbler (of which we banded 4 today!).
After hatch-year male Palm Warbler

















Providing quite a contrast, later migrating warblers were also captured today, including another species that usually forages above net level, in spring (but not fall) Blackpoll Warbler. I have banded very few in spring, and never two in one day...
After hatch-year male Blackpoll Warbler
















After hatch-year female Blackpoll Warbler


















Another expected later migrant that we do catch every spring, though in small numbers because they are a declining species, is Canada Warbler. So catching 4 today was a great day for the species.
After hatch-year male Canada Warbler

















One interesting aspect of this new Meadow banding site that was lacking at the older Marsh site, is the apparent annual presence of Orchard Orioles. Last year, and earlier this month, at least one and perhaps two were heard singing from a row of pines and a row of cottonwoods on the periphery of the banding area. Today, we caught one, a second-year male!
Second-year male Orchard Oriole

















This is only the second Orchard Oriole banded in the park; the first was a hatch-year female in August 2005.
Second-year male Orchard Oriole


















Interesting birds observed, but not banded today included a dozen Chimney Swifts flying around fairly low, a couple of Bank Swallows in the swallow flock following the park's lawn mowers, and a singing male Blackburnian Warbler. And finally, additional security was provided today by this Eastern Kingbird perching on one of the signs closing our net lanes to public entry.
Eastern Kingbird

Highlights of the 52 birds of 34 species banded on Saturday, May 20, included 3 more Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. A lot fewer warblers than yesterday nonetheless included some interesting highlights. It was hard to resist photographing another Canada Warbler, this male showing off its black "necklace" of spots nicely.
After second-year male Canada Warbler
After second-year male Canada Warbler
A real delight today was this brilliant male Blackburnian Warbler. 
After hatch-year male Blackburnian Warbler
Only a handful of these have been banded in the park in spring, and this is only the second or third male in spring. They seem to forage above net height in both spring and fall (only about a dozen banded in fall)
After hatch-year male Blackburnian Warbler
After hatch-year male Blackburnian Warbler


































About a week ago, a male Yellow-breasted Chat was reported singing from the Meadow Loop area, so it was not entirely unexpected that we caught one today, although the species is generally rare in the state, and declining.
After second-year female Yellow-breasted Chat

















What is most intriguing about this is that it appeared to be a female, based on the more restricted blackish on the face, and what appeared to be a brood patch (MAPS code 2). There have been no additional sightings, so it seems unlikely that there is a breeding pair in the area. This is only the fourth Yellow-breasted Chat I've banded in the park since 2004, and only the 10th since 1989.
After second-year female Yellow-breasted Chat

















Today we banded the 50th Yellow Warbler of the spring - 68 were banded last spring. So this is typically the most numerous warbler species we band. Telling their age is done using subtle plumage characters including what is termed "molt limits" often in the primary coverts. The individual in the photo below was showing more contrast between the newer inner coverts and retained juvenile outer coverts than normal. This break (limit) is shown by the arrow with older feathers above and younger feathers below.
Second-year male Yellow Warbler

















Interesting birds observed, but not banded included singing Tennessee Warblers, a somewhat late Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a singing Blackpoll Warbler.

Highlights of the 57 birds of 27 species banded on Friday, May 26 included another 3 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Two species of expected late migrants turned up today for the first of the spring. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Mourning Warbler (2 males). It was also a good day for Willow/Alder Flycatchers.
After hatch-year Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
















Second-year male Mourning Warbler

















The retained juvenile tail feathers (outermost) on this male Baltimore Oriole allows it to be aged as a second-year bird.
Second-year male Baltimore Oriole

















Interesting birds observed, but not banded included a singing Red-eyed Vireo, a late-ish Veery, singing Tennessee, Blackpoll, and Canada Warblers, and a briefly seen Lincoln's Sparrow.

Highlights of the 54 birds of 28 species banded on Saturday, May 27, included two more Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and one of the male Eastern Kingbirds that have been flying around in the meadow for the past week or so.
After hatch-year male Eastern Kingbird

















Both sexes have a red-orange crown patch that is most often hidden, so that cannot be used to determine their sex.
After hatch-year male Eastern Kingbird


















The length of the notching in the outermost two primaries is more than 8 millimeters in male Eastern Kingbirds, and less in females. This is more pronounced in some other species of kingbird.
After hatch-year male Eastern Kingbird
















A late migrant that is banded here in very low numbers, especially in spring, is the Philadelphia Vireo.
After hatch-year Philadelphia Vireo

















Four Cedar Waxwings found their way into the nets today; some years we don't catch any. One of them was a bit unusual in that it had yellow dots on the tips of four of its primaries (one dot was duller yellow than the others). It made me wonder if it might have some Bohemian Waxwing genes.
After hatch-year male Cedar Waxwing with yellow dots on primaries

















The first Chestnut-sided Warbler of the season was banded today, which was much later than they typically arrive in this area, so earlier arrivals clearly avoided our nets.
Second-year male Chestnut-sided Warbler

















Two more Mourning Warblers were banded today, this time both females.
Second-year female Mourning Warbler















Second-year female Mourning Warbler

















And a surprise was the second Orchard Oriole of the week, but only the third ever in the park. Another second-year male, this one seemed unusual with chestnut on the throat, since adults have completely black heads.
Second-year male Orchard Oriole

















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included singing Eastern Wood-Pewee and Great Crested Flycatcher, singing Bay-breasted and Blackpoll Warblers, and a flyover Scarlet Tanager.

Highlights of the 82 birds of 29 species banded on Sunday, May 28, included one Ruby-throated Hummingbird. This brought the season total to 16. The most ever banded in spring back at the Marsh site was 12 (but the average in fall was about 65). It was another good day for flycatchers, with two Yellow-bellied and eight Willow/Alders. Another Eastern Kingbird was captured. This photo shows the structure of the tongue (click on it to enlarge), with backward-facing barbs on the rear of the tongue that help push insects (and fruit when on its Amazonian wintering grounds) down its throat.
After hatch-year male Eastern Kingbird

















The first Red-eyed Vireo captured this spring seemed a bit tardy, especially as they've been singing in the area for at least a week.
After hatch-year Red-eyed Vireo
















Only 8 species of warbler were banded today, but amazingly for such a late date, 22 of the 45 individuals were Magnolia Warblers - most of them females. Eight Wilson's Warblers was also a good number.

Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included an odd family of Mute Swans with the pair of adults guarding 7 cygnets, and 2 goslings obviously kidnapped from a local Canada Goose pair. A singing Least Flycatcher was probably a late migrant, and singing Blackburian and Bay-breasted Warblers were heard today.

Banding on these 5 days could not have been done without the following dedicated volunteers: Jenifer Benke, John Bieganowski, Terri Chapdelaine, Carol Goodman, Jean Gramlich, Stevie Kuroda, Dave Lancaster, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Matthew Porter, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke, Christian Zammit, and Julian Zammit.


Detailed Bird Banding Results

May 19, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.5
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:06
Net Hours: 110.5
Temperature (F): 50-55
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind Direction: N
Wind Speed (mph): 7-10-12
Barometer: 30.14 - 30.25
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 108 (plus 30 recaptured, 4 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 34
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 128.5
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Jean Gramlich, Dave Lancaster, Blanche Wicke, Christian Zammit (5.5 hrs), Julian Zammit (5.5 hrs). 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3
Downy Woodpecker - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1
Willow Flycatcher - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 3
Least Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 4
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
[White-breasted Nuthatch - 1 recaptured]
[House Wren - 2 recaptured]
Veery - 5
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 4
Swainson's Thrush - 6
American Robin - 1
Gray Catbird - 6 (plus 1 recaptured)
European Starling - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Yellow Warbler - 5 (plus 6 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Magnolia Warbler - 4
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 4
Palm Warbler - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Blackpoll Warbler - 2
Black-and-white Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 5
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 3
Common Yellowthroat - 12 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Wilson's Warbler - 5
Canada Warbler - 4
[Song Sparrow - 5 recaptured, 1 released unbanded]
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 14 (plus 6 recaptured)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Orchard Oriole - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 4 (plus 4 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

May 20, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.5
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:05
Net Hours: 128.0
Temperature (F): 50-62
Cloud Cover: 60-90%
Wind Direction: NE-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 7-10-12
Barometer: 30.28 - 30.28
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 52 (plus 44 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Species Captured:  34
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 76.6
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Matthew Porter, Bruce Watson (4.5 hrs). Other visitors included Carol Goodman and Dick Filby.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Downy Woodpecker - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 2
Warbling Vireo - 1 (plus 3 recaptured)
Blue Jay - 1
[White-breasted Nuthatch - 1 recaptured]
House Wren - 1
[Veery - 2 recaptured]
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swainson's Thrush - 2
American Robin - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
[Gray Catbird - 1 recaptured]
European Starling - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Cedar Waxwing - 1
Yellow Warbler - 5 (plus 11 recaptured)
[Magnolia Warbler - 1 recaptured]
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
Blackburnian Warbler - 1
[Black-and-white Warbler - 1 recaptured]
[American Redstart - 1 recaptured]
[Ovenbird - 1 recaptured]
[Northern Waterthrush - 2 recaptured]
Common Yellowthroat - 8 banded (plus 1 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Canada Warbler - 1
Yellow-breasted Chat - 1
Song Sparrow - 3 (plus 3 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 1
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 5 (plus 4 recaptured)
Common Grackle - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Baltimore Oriole - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 1
-----------------------------------------------

May 26, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open:  7.0
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:01
Net Hours: 77.0 (only 11.5 nets opened)
Temperature (F): 55-62
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind Direction: WNW
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7
Barometer: 29.78 - 29.92
Precipitation:  Trace rain
No. Banded: 57 (plus 21 recaptured)
Species Captured: 27
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 101.3
Banding Assistants (9.5 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Carol Goodman. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3
Northern Flicker - 2
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 1
Willow Flycatcher - 3
'Traill's" Flycatcher - 3
Warbling Vireo - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Tree Swallow - 2
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
[House Wren - 1 recaptured]
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 1
American Robin - 3
Gray Catbird - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
European Starling - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow Warbler - 5 (plus 10 recaptured)
Magnolia Warbler - 3
Black-and-white Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 6
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Mourning Warbler - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 9
Wilson's Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 2 (plus 3 recaptured)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 1
[American Goldfinch - 1 recaptured]
-----------------------------------------------

May 27, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:00
Net Hours: 131.75
Temperature (F): 57-69
Cloud Cover: 30-10%
Wind Direction: Calm-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 0-5
Barometer: 29.96 - 29.99
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 54 (plus 19 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Species Captured:  28
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 65.1
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Jenifer Benke, Terri Chapdelaine, Stevie Kuroda. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2
Willow Flycatcher - 2
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 3
Eastern Kingbird - 1
Philadelphia Vireo - 1
[Tree Swallow - 1 recaptured]
[House Wren - 2 recaptured]
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 4
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
European Starling - 1
Cedar Waxwing - 4
Yellow Warbler - 4 (plus 2 recaptured)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 3
American Redstart - 3
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Mourning Warbler - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 3
Song Sparrow - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Red-winged Blackbird - 5 (plus 4 recaptured)
Common Grackle - 1
[Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 recaptured]
Orchard Oriole - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 1 (plus 4 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 1
-----------------------------------------------

May 28, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open:  7.0
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:00
Net Hours: 119.25
Temperature (F): 57-75
Cloud Cover: 80-30-50%
Wind Direction: ENE-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 1-3-7
Barometer: 29.91 - 29.80
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 82 (plus 17 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 29
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 84.7
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 released unbanded]
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 2
Alder Flycatcher - 2
Willow Flycatcher - 2
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 4 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Eastern Kingbird - 1
Red-eyed Vireo - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 4 recaptured]
Veery - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 5
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
European Starling - 1
Cedar Waxwing - 2
Yellow Warbler - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 22
American Redstart - 2
Mourning Warbler - 3
Common Yellowthroat - 6
Canada Warbler - 1
Wilson's Warbler - 8
[Song Sparrow - 2 recaptured]
Lincoln's Sparrow - 3
Swamp Sparrow - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 4 (plus 3 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 2 (plus 5 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lake St. Clair Metropark banding report - May 6-14, 2017

Banding the first half of May had some challenges, and many rewards. The first day we planned to band, May 5, was rained out and on two days the park opened late (15-20 minutes), so we got a later start than we'd planned. And the rain also replenished the puddles and mud that we dealt with all during April. Once again, it was hard to distinguish the Channel Net lane from the channel itself! Wind was also a factor every day, even forcing us to close early one day. Luckily, it was possible to schedule a "make up" day of banding to keep to the protocol. A total of 434 birds was banded in 5 days of effort.













Highlights of the 55 birds of 18 species captured on Saturday, May 6 included a Solitary Sandpiper that perhaps not surprisingly was caught in the Channel Nets!
Second-year Solitary Sandpiper
















Second-year Solitary Sandpiper
















Among the four Ruby-crowned Kinglets banded today, this female was unusual because of the white spots in the crown.
After hatch-year female Ruby-crowned Kinglet
















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a calling American Bittern, a Sandhill Crane soaring very high overhead, a Bald Eagle flyover, and a few Cliff Swallows.

Highlights of the 49 birds of 18 species captured on Sunday, May 7 included the first female Blue-gray Gnatcatcher of the spring, told by her less prominent black over the eye.
After hatch-year female Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

















It has been easy to take Red-winged Blackbirds for granted this spring. Last year, we banded 138 of them, but we reached 200 this week and still going strong. Of course most birders are well aware of the black body plumage with red and yellow wing patches of the male, but they might not be aware that it takes them two years to attain this plumage. We band lots of second-year males that might appear unfamiliar. They are not brown and sparrow-like, as the females are, but they do have a lot of brown and pale edging on their upperparts, and the shoulder patch varies quite a bit at this age, most often being orange with black spotting...and the yellow edge to this patch is usually absent.
Second-year male Red-winged Blackbird
















Sometimes, something truly enchanting happens with a bird in-hand. I encourage you to watch the short video below of this after second-year male Baltimore Oriole. Make sure your speakers are turned on.
video

Interesting birds observed, but not banded, again included the American Bittern calling from the North Marsh, as well as a Solitary Sandpiper in the Meadow Loop trail. We didn't see the sandpiper well enough to determine if it was the one we banded yesterday. We also had a larger flock of Cliff Swallows today, as well as a Purple Martin which, sadly is becoming more rare in our area.

Highlights of the 63 birds of 26 species banded on Friday, May 12 included the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the season.
After hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

















The first Veeries of the season (3) were a sign that perhaps it would be a good spring for thrushes.
Second-year Veery
















The season's second, and perhaps last, White-crowned Sparrow was banded today.
After hatch-year White-crowned Sparrow

















Two Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were in the net together; with this second-year male showing mixed brown and black flight feathers characteristic of that age.
Second-year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak
















The large crushing bill of this species makes banders cautious when extracting them from mist nets!
After second-year female Rose-breasted Grosbeak
















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher right above the banding table, and a singing Carolina Wren.

Highlights of the 154 birds of 34 species captured on Saturday, May 13 included three Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and it was a very good day for flycatchers and thrushes, but not as many warblers as might be expected by this date.
After hatch-year Least Flycatcher
















Several Least Flycatchers were heard singing all day long in the banding area, and a total of 8 were banded. In a difficult group-, this species is fairly easy to identify by its large white eye ring, and relatively short bill and grayish tones to the head and greenish back. Five "Traill's" Flycatchers were captured, with four of them keying out as Willlow Flycatcher. The overall brownish-olive tones on the head and back, fairly prominent white throat, larger bill, and indistinct buffy eye ring all help to identify Willow/Alder (Traill's) Flycatchers.
After hatch-year Willow Flycatcher
















Among the few warblers captured today, the season's first Orange-crowned was perhaps the most unusual.
After hatch-yer male Orange-crowned Warbler
















Always a favorite, four Magnolia Warblers were among the 46 warblers of 7 species captured today.
After second-year male Magnolia Warbler















After second-year male Magnolia Warbler
















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a Great Crested Flycatcher, a few White-crowned Sparrows, and singing Pine Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and Orchard Oriole.

Highlights of the 107 birds of 37 species captured on Sunday, May 14 included lots of warblers (57 individuals of 16 species), but it was interesting that almost none of the flycatchers and very few thrushes from yesterday were in evidence. Among the three Black-and-white Warblers banded today was this second-year male, aged in part by his white-speckled throat.
Second-year male Black-and-white Warbler
















A singing male Black-throated Green Warbler told us the species was in the banding area, but we captured this female instead (note whitish, not black throat).
After hatch-year female Black-throated Green Warbler
















Surely the most stunning bird of the day was this adult male Cape May Warbler, the first I've ever banded in spring (and it is very uncommon in fall).
After second-year male Cape May Warbler
















The Cape May is a spruce budworm specialist, so historically has been prone to boom-and-bust population cycles. But control of this native pest in the Canadian Boreal Forest seems to have eliminated the "boom" part. Its slightly longer, slightly curved bill might come in handy for poking into flowers to drink nectar on its West Indian wintering grounds.
After second-year male Cape May Warbler

















Today was an interesting mix of early and late warblers, with Yellow-rumped and Palm alongside later species like this first Wilson's Warbler of the season.
After second-year male Wilson's Warbler

After second-year male Wilson's Warbler































The rarest bird banded today was this adult male Connecticut Warbler, which was a bit earlier than expected, and only the 3rd ever banded in spring in the park (first by me), and the 19th overall (my 11th).
After hatch-year male Connecticut Warbler















After hatch-year male Connecticut Warbler

















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included Northern Parula, Tennessee and Bay-breasted Warbler, and singing Scarlet Tanager and Orchard Oriole.

Banding on these 5 days could not have been possible without the help of the following volunteers: Sandy Cohen, Stevie Kuroda, Matthew Porter, Anne Ross, Edie Schmitz, Holly Todero, Bruce Watson, and Blanche Wicke.

Detailed Bird Banding Results

May 6, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 11:00 (closed early due to wind)
Hours Open: 5.25
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:20
Net Hours: 87.5
Temperature (F): 43-52
Cloud Cover: 90-60-100%
Wind Direction: NW
Wind Speed (mph): 7-10-15
Barometer: 29.65 - 29.66
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 55 (plus 14 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 18
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 81.1
Banding Assistants (7.5 hours worked): Matthew Porter, Anne Ross, Edie Schmitz, Blanche Wicke. 

Solitary Sandpiper - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Hairy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
[Warbling Vireo - 1 recaptured]
House Wren - 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 4
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Robin - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow Warbler - 1 (plus 4 recaptured)
Palm Warbler - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Song Sparrow - 1
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 3
Red-winged Blackbird - 23 (plus 2 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 2
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 8 (plus 2 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

May 7, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:19
Net Hours: 113.75
Temperature (F): 39-59
Cloud Cover: 20-0-10%
Wind Direction: WNW-NNW
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-12
Barometer: 20.85 - 29.92
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 49 (plus 17 recaptured, 9 released unbanded)
Species Captured:  18
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 65.9
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Sandy Cohen, Stevie Kuroda, Holly Marie Todaro, Bruce Watson. 

[Black-capped Chickadee - 2 recaptured]
House Wren - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Ruby-crowned kinglet - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 1
American Robin - 5
Gray Catbird - 1
Yellow Warbler - 2 (plus 6 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat -2
[Song Sparrow - 2 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 1
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 24 (plus 2 recaptured, 9 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 3
[Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 recaptured]
Baltimore Oriole - 1
American Goldfinch - 4
House Sparrow - 2
-----------------------------------------------

May 12, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open:  6.75
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:13
Net Hours: 113.75
Temperature (F): 43-62
Cloud Cover: 20-40%
Wind Direction: N-NE
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-10
Barometer: 30.02 - 30.01
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 63 (plus 23 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 26
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 76.5
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Warbling Vireo - 1
Tree Swallow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
House Wren - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  - 1
Veery - 3
American Robin - 4
Gray Catbird - 2
European Starling - 2
Yellow Warbler - 8 (plus 10 recaptured)
American Redstart - 1
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 4
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 3 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 5
White-throated Sparrow - 1
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
Northern Cardinal - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 13 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 1
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 3
American Goldfinch - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

May 13, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.25
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:12
Net Hours: 131.25
Temperature (F): 45-62
Cloud Cover: 20-100%
Wind Direction: Calm-SW
Wind Speed (mph): 0-5
Barometer: 29.95 - 29.90
Precipitation: Light rain at close
No. Banded: 154 (plus 27 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Species Captured:  34
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 139.4
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Matthew Porter, Watson. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Willow Flycatcher - 4
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1
Least Flycatcher - 8
Warbling Vireo - 1
Blue Jay - 2
Tree Swallow - 5
House Wren - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 9
Veery - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 2
Hermit Thrush - 3
Wood Thrush - 1
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 18 (plus 2 recaptured)
Brown Thrasher - 1
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 2
Yellow Warbler - 7 (plus 11 recaptured)
Magnolia Warbler - 4
Palm Warbler - 2
[Northern Waterthrush - 1 recaptured]
Common Yellowthroat - 18
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 12
Swamp Sparrow - 2
White-throated Sparrow - 6
[Northern Cardinal - 2 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 19 (plus 3 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 1
Brown-headed Cowbird - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
House Finch - 1
American Goldfinch - 6
-----------------------------------------------

May 14, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open:  7.0
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:11
Net Hours: 116.0
Temperature (F): 50-64
Cloud Cover: 95-50%
Wind Direction: N-NW
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-10
Barometer: 29.87 - 29.96
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 107 (plus 28 recaptured, 8 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 37
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 123.3
Banding Assistants (10.0 hours worked): Matthew Porter, Blanche Wicke. 

[Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1 released unbanded]
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
[Hairy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Warbling Vireo - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 released unbanded]
[Tufted Titmouse - 1 recaptured]
House Wren - 2
[Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1 released unbanded]
Veery - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 2
American Robin - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 6
[Brown Thrasher - 1 released unbanded]
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 2
Yellow Warbler - 14 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Magnolia Warbler - 5
Cape May Warbler - 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 2
Black-throated Green Warbler - 1
Palm Warbler - 2 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Black-and-white Warbler - 3
American Redstart - 3
Ovenbird - 6
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Connecticut Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 7 (plus 2 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 6 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 20 (plus 1 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 2 (plus 5 recaptured)
House Finch - 1
American Goldfinch - 10 (plus 4 recaptured)
----------------------------------