Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Lake St. Clair Metropark banding report - April 22-28, 2017

During the last half of April, banding was done on only 3 days, as one day was rained out. It has been a very wet spring so far! The three days when we did band were fairly nice days, with clear skies and fairly warm temperatures, though with some problems with wind.

Saturday, April 22 was Earth Day. It was also planned to be a National day of protest, the "March for Science". Since I was banding, I made up my signs (from the Union of Concerned Scientists), and posted them on the banding station for the day. So, I did what I could...





























Highlights of the 80 birds of 16 species banded today included the recapture of a Hairy Woodpecker, a species that is very infrequently banded in the park, which was originally banded here in 2015.
After second-year female Hairy Woodpecker
















Another infrequently captured species is White-breasted Nuthatch. We probably don't catch many here, nor at the former location in Point Rosa Marsh, as the nets are generally not near very many larger trees, and the nuthatches don't spend much time in shrubby habitat.
After hatch-year male White-breasted Nuthatch
















After hatch-year male White-breasted Nuthatch
















An excellent number of Ruby-crowned Kinglets (18) was banded today, and it was a bit of a surprise to catch the first Yellow Warbler of the season which was record early by one day.
Second-year male Yellow Warbler
















Another, more expected species of warbler was also captured today, two Palm Warblers. Based on the measured extent of chestnut on their crowns, which has a limited reliability, one was a male and one was female.
After hatch-year male Palm Warbler















Second-year female Palm Warbler

















By noon, the wind had become a major frustration, even blowing my "Stand Up for Science" signs off the canopy, even hurling one at high speed right at my head! A minor frustration was a Belted Kingfisher that flew up and down the channel, eventually landing on one of the poles holding up the mist nets...
Belted Kingfisher on mist net pole

















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included the continuing American Bittern calling from the North Marsh (and possibly a second bird calling from the South Marsh), a Sandhill Crane flyover, and 2 Golden-crowned Kinglets which were somewhat late.

Highlights of the 49 birds of 16 species banded on Sunday, April 23 included the first Blue Jay of the season, as well as the first House Wren banded, although one has been singing in the banding area since April 2.
After hatch-year House Wren

















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a calling American Bittern, a flyover Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Highlights of the 106 birds of 21 species banded on Friday, April 28, included a bunch of Blue Jays (10), and the first but perhaps overdue Blue-gray Gnatcatcher of the season.
After hatch-year male Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
















And it was a fairly good warbler day for this early in the season with 5 species captured: Nashville (2), Yellow (3), Yellow-rumped (16), Palm (3), Northern Waterthrush (1), and Common Yellowthroat (1).
After second-year male Nashville Warbler















After second-year male Yellow-rumped Warbler
















After second-year male Yellow-rumped Warbler
















After second-year male Common Yellowthroat

















It was also a good day for sparrows, with Swamp (6), White-throated (14), and the first Lincoln's (3) of the season. Lincoln's Sparrow will always make the photo highlights on my banding blog, as it is one of my favorite sparrows no matter how common they can be.
After hatch-year Lincoln's Sparrow















After hatch-year Lincoln's Sparrow
















Interesting birds observed, but not banded today included a calling American Bittern, this time only from the South Marsh, several flyover Gadwall, a Cooper's Hawk in a display flight, and singing Warbling Vireo, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Baltimore Oriole.

I would like to thank all the volunteers who helped with banding on these three days, including: John Bieganowski, Stevie Kuroda, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Ava Lau, Tessa Lau, Matthew Porter, Kristin Porter, Anne Ross, Holly Marie Todaro, Bruce Watson, and Blanche Wicke.

Bird Banding Results

April 22, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:15
Hours Open: 6.5
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:39
Net Hours: 110.5
Temperature (F): 39-57
Cloud Cover: 20-70%
Wind Direction: NE
Wind Speed (mph): 1-3-12
Barometer: 30.16 - 30.21
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 80 (plus 16 recaptured, 4 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 16
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 90.5
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Ava Lau, Tessa Lau, Stevie Kuroda. 

Downy Woodpecker - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Hairy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Tree Swallow - 3
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 18 (plus 3 recaptured)
Hermit Thrush -  4
American Robin - 1
Yellow Warbler  - 1
Palm Warbler - 2
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 4 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 2
White-throated Sparrow - 2
Northern Cardinal -  1
Red-winged Blackbird - 29 (plus 5 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
American Goldfinch - 12 (plus 2 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
-----------------------------------------------

April 23, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:15
Hours Open: 6.5
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:38
Net Hours: 110.5
Temperature (F): 36-63
Cloud Cover: 0%
Wind Direction: NW-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 1-3-7
Barometer: 30.15 - 30.16
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 49 (plus 14 recaptured, 5 released unbanded)
Species Captured:  16
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 61.5
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Anne Ross, Holly Marie Todaro, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke. 

Blue Jay - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
[Tree Swallow - 1 recaptured]
[Black-capped Chickadee - 3 recaptured]
House Wren - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 2
Hermit Thrush - 2
American Robin - 1
[Yellow Warbler - 1 recaptured]
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 5 (plus 2 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 1
Northern Cardinal - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 22 (plus 2 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 2 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 2
American Goldfinch - 8 (plus 2 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

April 28, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:15
Hours Open:  6.5
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:31
Net Hours: 110.5
Temperature (F): 48-61
Cloud Cover: 60-30-80%
Wind Direction: WSW-S
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-12
Barometer: 30.00 - 30.04
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 106 (plus 9 recaptured, 4 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 21
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 107.7
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): John Bieganowski (8.0 hrs), Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Tessa Lau, Matthew Porter, Kristin Porter.. 

Blue Jay - 10
Tree Swallow - 2
House Wren - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 8
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Hermit Thrush - 1
American Robin - 1
Gray Catbird - 1
Nashville Warbler - 2
Yellow Warbler - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 16
Palm Warbler - 3
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Lincoln's Sparrow - 3
Swamp Sparrow - 6
White-throated Sparrow - 14 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Red-winged Blackbird - 17 (plus 2 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 (plus 3 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 13 (plus 2 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spring is here - Bird banding begins at Lake St. Clair Metropark

After a warmer than normal winter, we were glad for reasonable temperatures on our first banding day of the spring on Sunday April 2. But the wetter than normal conditions continued into early spring, and our net lanes were quite wet. The photo below shows the Channel Nets, and the net lane is almost indistinguishable from the channel! We managed to dodge the weather and band on four days between April 2 and 18.













Highlights of the 51 birds of 10 species banded on Sunday, April 2 included a Northern Flicker, which is an infrequently captured species at this site.
Second-year female Northern Flicker
















This Golden-crowned Kinglet, one of 7 banded today, was the first bird banded this spring.
After hatch-year male Golden-crowned Kinglet
















A Carolina Wren was singing in the banding area as soon as the sun came up, but we didn't catch this bird, which was originally banded here last year, until a few hours later...and when it was in-hand, there was still a Carolina Wren singing in the area!
After hatch-year Carolina Wren.
















Spring banding is started at this locale the first week of April so that the migration period of earliest migrants (like Golden-crowned Kinglets and others) is fully documented. We also typically catch some winter residents as they start heading north, like this American Tree Sparrow (one of 3 today).
After hatch-year American Tree Sparrow
















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a winnowing Wilson's Snipe, and early Eastern Phoebe, and a very early House Wren singing lustily from an area between the "Thicket" and "Bat" nets.

Our second banding day was Saturday, April 8, and although there was another period of rain mid-week, it wasn't the 2 inches of the week before. So, the water was a bit diminished, but not entirely gone as this photo of the Channel Nets taken from the same spot as the photo above shows.

Highlights of the 76 birds of 18 species captured included more of the expected early migrants including Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, Fox Sparrow, and an early White-throated Sparrow.
After hatch-year Brown Creeper
After hatch-year Winter Wren
After hatch-year Fox Sparrow
Another Carolina Wren was captured (this one unbanded), and 5 more American Tree Sparrows, along with another over-wintering species, Dark-eyed Junco.
Second-year female Dark-eyed  Junco
Interesting birds observed, but not captured, included a migrating group of Turkey Vultures, a flyover Great Egret, a flyover Common Loon, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and the same (?) singing House Wren from last week.

Highlights of the 52 birds of 15 species banded on Friday, April 14, included two Northern Flickers and two Tree Swallows, which nest in boxes very near the Meadow Nets but can easily see the nets if it isn't cloudy or foggy. 
After hatch-year Tree Swallow
Another Winter Wren was only the second this spring, and two Hermit Thrushes today brought the spring total up to about a half-dozen.
Second-year Hermit Thrush
And among a number of Golden-crowned Kinglets was the first Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the season.
After hatch-year male Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included flyover Bonaparte's Gull and Caspian Tern, and two Common Loons migrating north and calling to each other. 

Highlights of the 47 birds of 18 species banded on Tuesday, April 18, included yet another Northern Flicker, and a Brown Thrasher which had been singing in the area. It is a species that is expected around this time of year, but is an uncommonly captured species in the park. 
After hatch-year Brown Thrasher
Much more surprising was a very early Wood Thrush.
After hatch-year Wood Thrush
Another interesting capture was an early White-crowned Sparrow. This individual was in the middle of molting out of its juvenile brown-and-buff crown pattern into its adult black-and-white crown pattern. I've never captured one at this stage of molt before. By the time they typically arrive in southern Michigan in late April or early May, they have all completely molted. So this individual may have wintered farther north than most, and gotten an early start on migration.
Second-year White-crowned Sparrow
Second-year male White-crowned Sparrow
Interesting birds observed, but not banded today included an American Bittern calling from the North Marsh and audible from the banding table, a migrating "V" of 6 Great Egrets, a near-adult Bald Eagle, and the House Wren present since April 2 continued to sing, but evaded the nets once again!

Many thanks to the following volunteers for making banding possible on these four days: Steve Carlson, Jacob Charlebois, Joe Grabowski, Jean Gramlich, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Stevie Kuroda, Steve Mangas, Matthew Porter, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke, Christian Zammit, Julian Zammit.

Bird Banding Results

April 2, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:15
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open: 7.5
Net Hours: 117.0
Temperature (F): 39-57
Cloud Cover: 20-50%
Wind Direction: SW-S
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-7
Barometer: 30.23 - 30.20
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 51 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 10
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 47.9
Banding Assistants (9.5 hours worked): Steve Carlson, Jacob Charlebois, Stevie Kurda (7.0 hrs), Bruce Watson (7.0 hrs), Christian Zammit, Julian Zammit. 

Northern Flicker - 1
[Carolina Wren - 1 recaptured]
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 7
American Robin - 5
American Tree Sparrow - 3
Song Sparrow - 13 (plus 2 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 7 (plus 1 released unbanded)
American Goldfinch - 11 (plus 1 recaptured)
House Sparrow - 2
-----------------------------------------------

April 8, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open: 7.0
Net Hours: 116.0
Temperature (F): 36-55
Cloud Cover: 20-0-10%
Wind Direction: WNW-SW
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-10
Barometer: 30.04 - 30.11
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 76 (plus 12 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
Species Captured:  18
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 78.4
Banding Assistants (9.5 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson.

Downy Woodpecker - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 3 recaptured]
Brown Creeper - 2
Carolina Wren - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Winter Wren - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 3
Hermit Thrush - 1
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Tree Sparrow - 5
Fox Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 11 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 1
Dark-eyed Junco - 1
Northern Cardinal - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 19 (plus 2 released unbanded)
American Goldfinch - 23 (plus 3 recaptured)
House Sparrow - 3 (plus 1 released unbanded)
-----------------------------------------------

April 14, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open:  6.75
Net Hours: 113.75
Temperature (F): 43-57
Cloud Cover: 40-20%
Wind Direction: ENE-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-10
Barometer: 30.38 - 30.41
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 52 (plus 8 recaptured)
Species Captured: 15
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 52.7
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Jean Gramlich, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Matthew Porter. 

Northern Flicker - 2
Tree Swallow - 2
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
Winter Wren - 1
Brown Creeper - 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 8
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1
Hermit Thrush - 2
American Robin - 6 (plus 2 recaptured)
[American Tree Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Song Sparrow - 4 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 13 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 6 (plus 1 recaptured)
House Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

April 18, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open:  6.75
Net Hours: 113.75
Temperature (F): 39-60
Cloud Cover: 20-50-10%
Wind Direction: NE-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-10
Barometer: 30.40 - 30.37
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 47 (plus 15 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 15
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 56.3
Banding Assistants (9.5 hours worked): Joe Grabowski, Steve Mangas, Blanche Wicke.

Northern Flicker - 1
Black-capped Chicakdee - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Brown Creeper - 1
[Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1 recaptured]
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 3
Hermit Thrush - 1
Wood Thrush - 1
[American Robin - 1 recaptured]
Brown Thrasher - 1
[American Tree Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
[Song Sparrow - 2 recaptured]
[Swamp Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Northern Cardinal - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 22 (plus 3 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 2
American Goldfinch - 11 (plus 4 recaptured)
House Sparrow - 1
---------------------------------

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Winter Bird Banding Summaries

It is always challenging for me to blog during the winter months, mainly because not much is going on with hummingbirds, but also not much going on in general. My hummingbird banding summaries are typically finished by February, and that is the case for my 2016 summary, but for some reason I have been unable to update my website. I would be happy to send anyone a PDF who wants it; just email me. There were not too many "winter" hummingbirds in the Great Lakes this past season, but I did band 4 Rufous Hummingbirds in Ohio (one still on-site near Cincinnati) and 1 in Michigan , as well as 1 Anna's Hummingbird in Ohio. For the past 14 years, I have been banding birds in my tiny urban/suburban back (and front) yard from October through March; a site I've named the Inkster Banding Station in eBird. I have operated 2-3 mist nets in the back yard, and 2 traps in the front yard on 3 days each month, weather permitting. I have posted a summary of this winter's banding below. And, for the first time, I attempted to band Northern Saw-whet Owls on their winter "territories" on Belle Isle, following a very successful morning for this species on the Christmas Bird Count on January 1, 2017.














The Inkster Banding Station, shown in the Google Earth screen capture above (yellow rectangle), is a small (0.15 acre) residential urban/suburban property in the city of Inkster, Wayne County, Michigan. We have lived here since 1987, and recorded 145 bird species in and from the yard. The main north-south road at the left of the image is Inkster Road, and the wooded area on the right is part of Lower Rouge Park and includes part of the Bell Branch of the Rouge River watershed (the stream runs north-south under the word "station", and turns northeast from there). Since 2001, I have been banding hummingbirds here, and beginning in the winter of 2003-2004 began songbird banding in "winter" (October-March). In the past 14 winters, I have banded a total of 4793 birds of 35 species. In 2016-2017, a total of 345 new birds of 18 species was banded, which was slightly below average, and a total of 57 individuals of 6 species returned from previous years. Totals are shown below:

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 0 (avg. 0.1)
Cooper's Hawk - 0 (avg. 0.3)
Mourning Dove - 20 (avg. 20.3)
Red-bellied woodpecker - 0 (avg. 1.4)
Downy Woodpecker - 11 (avg. 13.3) [+3 returns]
Hairy Woodpecker - 0 (avg. 1.0)
Blue Jay - 2 (avg. 1.8)
Black-capped Chicakdee - 12 (avg. 14.7) [+4 returns]
Tufted Titmosue - 2 (avg. 1.3)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 1 (avg. 0.3)
White-breasted Nuthatch - 5 (avg. 3.5) [+3 returns]
Brown Creeper - 0 (avg. 0.6)
Carolina Wren - 0 (avg. 0.6)
Winter Wren - 0 (avg. 0.1)
Ruby-crowned  Kinglet - 0 (avg. 0.3)
Hermit Thrush - 0 (avg. 0.1)
American Robin - 2 (avg. 2.0)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 0 (avg. 0.1)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 1 (first banded here)
Northern Cardinal - 7 (avg. 13.4)
American Tree Sparrow - 17 (avg. 17.8) [+5 returns]
Field Sparrow - 0 (avg.0.1)
Fox Sparrow - 1 (avg. 0.3)
Song Sparrow - 1 (avg. 1.0)
White-throated Sparrow - 0 (avg. 5.8)
White-crowned Sparrow - 0 (avg. 0.3)
Dark-eyed Junco - 46 (avg. 34.5) [+4 returns]
Red-winged Blackbird -  3 (avg. 3.9) [+1 return]
Common Grackle - 1 (avg. 3.2)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 0 (avg. 0.8)
Purple Finch - 0 (avg. 0.1)
House Finch - 28 (avg. 22.8)
Common Redpoll - 0 (avg. 0.1)
Pine Siskin - 0 (avg. 2.3)
American Goldfinch - 185 (avg. 202.9) [+37 returns]















For the past several years, I have covered Belle Isle as part of the Detroit River Christmas Bird Count, along with several friends. Pre-dawn efforts to find owls typically turns up a few Eastern Screech-Owls and sometimes a Great Horned Owl or two. Since 2005, when there were several Northern Saw-whet Owls over-wintering in the 200-acre swamp woods, there have been very few reports (only one year on the CBC). This year we had no less than 7 different saw-whets respond to our audio lures. Most of the banding of these tiny owls is done during spring and fall migration, but their winter habits have apparently been little studied. A warm spell in mid-January, and heroic efforts of the Michigan DNR permits office, allowed a preliminary project to be done. The photo above shows one of the 8 net locations where we tried to catch owls using audio lures on 4 nights. We did hear owls calling at new locations, and these were mapped in addition to the original 7 locations. And...we captured and banded two Northern Saw-whet Owls.



video

Our final attempt to band was in early March, and we did not hear any owls calling back to our audio lures even though we had set up in an area where there had been birds responding, so it is possible they had already migrated back north (it was a very mild winter). One evening, right after opening the nets, we did catch a different species...













In mid-March, the DNR had to remove about 100 oak trees that had contracted oak wild in the 200 acre woodland where we were working. So, we decided to end our efforts there. The map below shows the various locations of calling owls, owls banded, and our banding sites.














Hopefully we'll be able to try again starting in October, but for now, its time to start thinking about spring banding.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Lake St. Clair Metropark - Fall 2016 Banding Summary

As with previous banding at this park, an effort was made to band two days each week during August, September, October, and the first week of November in 2016. out of a possible 26 days during that period, only 23 days were operated partly due to not getting enough volunteers to help set up the site (which must be taken down completely each day), but also due to uncooperative wether, which abbreviated efforts on an additional 4 days. The average number of days the old MBMP station (back in Point Rosa Marsh) was operated over 10 fall seasons (2004-2014) was 23.5.

With this being the first full fall season of effort at this new site (LSCMP) adjacent to the Meadow Loop trail near the Nature Center, it might not make sense to compare numbers to the old site which, although very close by, has different habitats. Some interesting differences were noted, however, that may or may not prove to be consistent over time, which may be related to habitat. More relevant is a comparison with the 14 "experimental" days of banding at this new site in fall 2015 (6 Sep - 25 Oct). Although number of net hours was 125% higher than in 2015, the total number of birds was only 63% higher, and the overall capture rate (birds per 100 net hours) was actually 21% lower.

This fall's 142 (6.34/100 Net Hours) Swainson's Thrushes was well above the 10-year average at MBMP of 34.7 (2.73/100 NH), and higher than last fall's total of 32 (3.18/100 NH) here, and even exceeded the annual record of 53 (3.00/100 NH) at MBMP set in 2009. This seems even more remarkable given that this new site covers less than half the area (3 acres) of the MBMP site (7 acres). Equally amazing was the record number of Gray-cheeked Thrushes; 48 (2.14/100 NH) this fall, compared with 16 (1.59/100 NH) last fall, and the MBMP record of 32 (3.00/100 NH) set in 2005. The number of Golden-crowned Kinglets (75; 3.35/100 NH) and Ruby-crowned Kinglets (91; 4.06/100 NH) were both above the 10-year average at MBMP (66; 5.19/100 NH, and 48; 3.80/100 NH respectively). Warbler numbers were considered low, with 178 individuals of 18 species (143 individuals of 18 species in 2015 with only partial effort). Most notable was only 29 (1.29/100 NH) Nashville Warblers this fall, after a total of 46 (4.56/100 NH) last fall. by any measure, sparrow numbers were abysmal. The 10-year average for White-throated Sparrows at MBMP is 217 (17.1/100 NH), and in the partial season last year at LSCMP a total of 61 (6.07/100 NH) was banded. Only 29 (1.29/100 NH) were banded this fall. Song and Swamp Sparrows were much less numerous than at MBMP, but this is expected due to the drier habitats at LSCMP. The total number banded at LSCMP in fall 2016 (1065) was far below the 10-year average for MBMP (1714), but the number of species captured (72) was above the 10-year average (70.3).

Captures that were considered unusual included Sharp-shinned Hawk, Black-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Screech-Owl, two Northern Saw-whet Owls (a first for either site!), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Brown Thrasher, and Purple Finch. Given that this site is fairly new, there were no interesting recaptures this fall.

Totals banded for each species are listed below. A more complete report for both spring and fall will be finished sometime in February or March. A virtual tour of the banding area, with photos of all the net lanes, is planned to be posted sooner.

Banding could not have been done this fall without the help of the following volunteers: Jenifer Benke, John Bieganowski, Terri Chapdelaine, Jacob Charlebois, Mike Charlebois, Carol Goodman, Jean Gramlich, Jim Greer, Stevie Kuroda, Gary Ladowski, Robin Ladowski, Dave Lancaster, Ava Lau, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Tessa Lau, Kim Patrick, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke, Christian Zammit, Julian Zammit, Pia Zammit. 

Species Banded - No. Banded (No. per 100 net hours)

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1 (0.04)
Black-billed Cuckoo - 1 (0.04)
Eastern Screech-Owl - 1 (0.04)
Northern Saw-whet Owl - 2 (0.09)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 59 (2.50)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 1 (0.04)
Downy Woodpecker - 6 (0.27)
Hairy Woodpecker - 1 (0.04)
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 4 (0.18)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 9 (0.40)
Alder Flycatcher - 2 (0.09)
Willow Flycatcher - 1 (0.04)
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 4 (0.18)
Least Flycatcher - 9 (0.40)
Eastern Phoebe - 6 (0.27)
Great Crested Flycatcher - 1 (0.04)
Blue-headed Vireo - 1 (0.04)
Warbling Vireo - 9 (0.40)
Philadelphia Vireo - 3 (0.13)
Red-eyed Vireo - 3 (0.13)
Blue Jay - 2 (0.09)
Black-capped Chickadee - 18 (0.80)
Tufted Titmouse - 3 (0.13)
Brown Creeper - 9 (0.40)
Carolina Wren - 1 (0.04)
House Wren - 16 (0.71)
Winter Wren - 11 (0.49)
Marsh Wren - 3 (0.13)
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 75 (3.35)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 91 (4.06)
Veery - 7 (0.31)
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 48 (2.14)
Swainson's Thrush - 142 (6.34)
Hermit Thrush - 69 (3.08)
Wood Thrush - 2 (0.09)
American Robin - 44 (1.96)
Gray Catbird - 21 (0.94)
Brown Thrasher - 1 (0.04)
European Starling - 1 (0.04)
Tennessee Warbler - 4 (0.18)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 8 (0.36)
Nashville Warbler - 29 (1.29)
Yellow Warbler - 2 (0.09)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1 (0.04)
Magnolia Warbler - 28 (1.25)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 12 (0.54)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 8 (0.36)
Blackburnian Warbler - 1 (0.04)
Palm Warbler - 8 (0.36)
Bay-breasted Warbler - 2 (0.09)
Blackpoll Warbler - 11 (0.49)
Black-and-white Warbler - 5 (0.22)
American Redstart - 14 (0.62)
Ovenbird - 15 (0.67)
Northern Waterthrush - 3 (0.13)
Common Yellowthroat - 17 (0.76)
Wilson's Warbler - 10 (0.45)
Northern Cardinal - 17 (0.76)
Eastern Towhee - 1 (0.04)
American Tree Sparrow - 26 (1.16)
Field Sparrow - 1 (0.04)
Fox Sparrow - 8 (0.36)
Song Sparrow - 26 (1.16)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1 (0.04)
Swamp Sparrow - 10 (0.45)
White-throated Sparrow - 29 (1.29)
White-crowned Sparrow - 4 (0.18)
Dark-eyed Junco - 13 (0.58)
Red-winged Blackbird - 17 (0.76)
Purple Finch - 1 (0.04)
American Goldfinch - 42 (1.87)
House Sparrow - 3 (0.13)


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Lake St. Clair Metropark bird banding report - October 30 - November 6, 2016

I haven't felt like blogging the past couple of weeks due to illness and other stresses, but the season does need to be closed out and summaries posted. The last three days of banding this fall were not spectacular days, but not too bad either, with a reasonable number of birds, bringing the total banded over 1000, which puts this season as the 3rd lowest fall since 2004. Rain continued to plague the station, forcing us to close for 2 1/2 hours in the middle of the morning on October 30, and forcing us to close early on November 2. Fog in the morning of November 6 did not develop into anything more serious, so we finished the season with a "normal" amount of coverage. The end of Daylight Savings Time changed our start time by an hour on November 6, so we didn't have as much darkness to try to audio-lure for owls.

Highlights of the 21 birds banded on Sunday, October 30, included a single Yellow-rumped Warbler, which was one day short of being record late banded, although this species is often seen well into November in southeastern Michigan.
Hatch-year female Yellow-rumped Warbler















Hatch-year female Yellow-rumped Warbler

















Hatch-year female Yellow-rumped Warbler


















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included 3 lingering Wood Ducks, a Cooper's Hawk flyover, and two flyover Cedar Waxwings.

Highlights of the 45 birds banded on Wednesday, November 2, included a record late Nashville Warbler.
Hatch-year male Nashville Warbler


















It was also a good day for kinglets, especially Golden-crowned. Sparrows were still low in number but a bit more interesting with 3 Fox Sparrows, and a very late (for banding) White-crowned Sparrow.
Hatch-year White-crowned Sparrow


















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included an adult Red-tailed Hawk that was hunting in the grass near the banding table.
Red-tailed Hawk with unidentified prey item

















Four American Pipits flew over, headed toward the beach, and there were a few White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos in the area, and a Purple Finch flew over also.

Highlights of the 41 birds banded on Sunday, November 6, included a good total of 20 American Tree Sparrows, the second highest number banded in a single day here.
Hatch-year American Tree Sparrow
















Another 3 Fox Sparrows brightened our day, while the 3 Swamp Sparrows were record late.
Hatch-year Swamp Sparrow
















Hatch-year Swamp Sparrow


















And the last bird of the day, and the season, was a White-throated Sparrow. It was only the 29th of the season, which is typically not anywhere near what a typical peak DAY would be here. I really don't know what happened to this species this fall.
Hatch-year White-throated Sparrow


















Interesting birds observed, but not banded today included a hunting Sharp-shinned Hawk, a calling Great Horned Owl before first light, two lingering Sandhill Cranes calling from the north marsh, a late Belted Kingfisher, a Red-breasted Nuthatch in the Cottonwood tree right above the banding table, and several flyover Purple Finches. The absence of kinglets, both in the nets and in the woods, was a bit odd for this time of year.

Banding on these three days could not have been conducted without the help of the following volunteers: Jenifer Benke, John Bieganowski, Carol Goodman, Stevie Kuroda, Dave Lancaster, Ava Lau, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Tessa Lau, Kim Patrick, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke, Christian Zammit, Juilian Zammit, Pia Zammit.

Bird Banding Results

October 30, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 11:45
Hours Open: 3.5 (closed 6:15-9:45 due to rain)
Net Hours: 57.125
Temperature (F): 54-52-54
Cloud Cover: 100%-80%-100%
Wind Direction: NW-N
Wind Speed (mph): 3-7-12
Barometer: 29.99 - 30.11
Precipitation:  Rain from 6:15 - 9:30.
No. Banded: 21 (plus 11 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 10
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 57.8
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Carol Goodman, Stevie Kuroda, Kim Patrick (1.0 hrs), Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke.

[Black-capped Chickadee - 4 recaptured]
Tufted Titmouse - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 2
Brown Creeper - 1
Hermit Thrush - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 1
Dark-eyed Junco - 2
American Goldfinch - 10 (plus 6 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
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November 2, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 11:45
Hours Open: 6.0
Net Hours: 97.0
Temperature (F): 59-61
Cloud Cover: 80-100%
Wind Direction: SSW
Wind Speed (mph): 1-3-5
Barometer: 30.12 - 29.42
Precipitation: Trace rain in a.m., steady rain at 12:45
No. Banded: 45 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Species Captured:  12
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 51.5
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Dave Lancaster, Kim Patrick (2.0 hrs), Blanche Wicke (6.25 hrs).

[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Brown Creeper - 1
Winter Wren - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 20
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 5
Hermit Thrush - 2
Nashville Warbler - 1
American Tree Sparrow - 5 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Fox Sparrow - 3
Song Sparrow - 1
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
American Goldfinch - 5 (plus 3 recaptured)
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November 6, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:15
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open:  6.75
Net Hours: 108.75
Temperature (F): 45-59
Cloud Cover: 20-50-0%
Wind Direction: W-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 1-3-5
Barometer: 29.71 - 29.75
Precipitation:  Fog in a.m.
No. Banded: 41 (plus 7 recaptured)
Species Captured: 12
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 44.1
Banding Assistants (8.0 hours worked): Jenifer Benke, Stevie Kuroda, Ava Lau (4.5 hrs), Harry Lau, Rose Lau (4.5 hrs), Tessa Lau, Kim Patrick (7.5 hrs), Bruce Watson, Christian Zammit (2.5 hrs), Julian Zammit (2.5 hrs), Pia Zammit (2.5 hrs).

Black-capped Chickadee - 3 (plus 4 recaptured)
Winter Wren - 1
Hermit Thrush - 2
American Tree Sparrow - 20
Fox Sparrow - 3
Swamp Sparrow - 3
White-throated Sparrow - 1
Dark-eyed Junco - 1
Northern Cardinal - 1
American Goldfinch - 4 (plus 3 recaptured)
House Sparrow - 1
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