Saturday, August 20, 2016

Lake St. Clair Metropark Bird Banding Report - August 7-14, 2016

Fall migration is underway for shorebirds during early July, and by late July or early August for some songbirds. So I always like to start in early August to detect the first migants, and capture some young of the year of nesting species that depart early, such as Yellow Warbler. Although we were only able to band half the days I'd planned, we did succeed in both of these. In some ways, the lighter schedule in the first half of August might be for the best as temperatures and humidity have been a bit extreme, in the 90s for days in a row and heat indices over 100 some days. Hopefully cooler weather will move in once the songbird migration gets going in earnest later this month.

On Sunday, August 7, we were able to start setting up nets at 6 a.m. This new area lacks the mud and water of the old site near Point Rosa Marsh, so I was able to come out over the summer a few times to mow the net lanes, making them ready to use on the first day. We also set up the two hummingbird feeders adjacent to the Meadow Nets where they'll be maintained into the first week of October. It was great to have early success by catching a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a hatch-year male with an atypically clean white throat. This bird was sexed by its smaller size (shorter wing chord), diagnostic shape of the sixth primary, and pattern of white in the 3rd rectrix (tail feather).
Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The only clear migrant of the day was a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.
Hatch-year Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

A Marsh Wren that was working the cattails along the channel eventually found its way into the nets.
Hatch-year Marsh Wren

It was a bit surprising that we only caught one Yellow Warbler, an adult female, as there were a few males still singing and a few juveniles seen as well.
After hatch-year female Yellow Warbler

The first bird banded today, and first of the season, was this juvenile Common Yellowthroat. They have broad cinnamon tips on their greater coverts for a couple weeks after they leave the nest. They seem to molt all of them at once, as many have been captured with all of them in sheath.
Hatch-year Common Yellowthroat

Interesting birds observed but not banded included several Wood Ducks in the channel, along with a single Blue-winged Teal and two Spotted Sandpipers on the muddy edge, and a few Purple Martins were migrating south overhead.

On Sunday, August 14 fewer birds were banded than last week, but did include four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. This hatch-year male had a more typical throat pattern.
Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

As last week, only a single migrant was captured, a Least Flycatcher. This species has occasionally summered in the park, mostly more than a decade ago, but is generally not a breeding species.
Hatch-year Least Flycatcher

And two species of Vireo found their way into the nets. The Warbling Vireo is a very common nesting species in the park, with Red-eyed tending to be very sparse or even absent some summers.
Hatch-year Warbling Vireo

Hatch-year Red-eyed Vireo

Interesting birds observed but not banded included flyover Turkey Vultures, Red-tailed Hawk, Caspian Tern, Belted Kingfisher, and a few Purple Martins.

Bird Banding Results

August 7, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
Net Hours: 115.125
Temperature (F): 66-79
Cloud Cover: 30-0-50%
Wind Direction: NW
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-12
Barometer: 29.34 - 29.42
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 50 (plus 7 recaptured and 3 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 15
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 52.1
Banding Assistants (9.5 hours worked): Harry Lau, Tessa Lau, Christian Zammit (8.5 hrs), Julian Zammit (8.5 hrs).

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
[Northern Flicker - 1 recaptured]
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 2
House Wren - 2
Marsh Wren - 1
American Robin - 14
Gray Catbird - 3
European Starling - 1
Yellow Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 2
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 4 (plus 2 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 17 (plus 2 recaputred, 3 released unbanded)
[Baltimore Oriole - 1 recaptured]

August 14, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 7.00
Net Hours: 111.75
Temperature (F): 73-82
Cloud Cover: 30-90%
Wind Direction: NW
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-7
Barometer: 29.30 - 29.41
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 28 (plus 11 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 10
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 35.8
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 4
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1
Least Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 1
Red-eyed Vireo - 1
American Robin - 16 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
[Gray Catbird - 3 recaptured]
Northern Cardinal - 3 (plus 4 recaptured)
[American Goldfinch - 3 recaptured]

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hummingbirds - Old and Young

Despite the title of my blog, I don't often post about Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and my research, during the summer months. One reason is that my efforts take up a lot of my time, involving visits to at least 20 sites each month, most of which are private residences ranging from 50-150 miles from home. Another reason is that, despite all the good data that is gathered and summarized at the end of each year, the highlights are typically in the overall effort, and not so much in the individual daily efforts.

This year is a bit different. Back on June 29 I recaptured an adult male Ruby-throated Hummingbird at a residence in Sandstone Township, Jackson County, Michigan, that I had banded at that same site as an adult in June 2010. This makes him at least 7 years old; or after 7th year in banding terminology. A photo of this bird is below. The record for male Ruby-throats is 7 years 8 months, and for females is 9 years 2 months.
After 7th year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Another interesting development has been that a homeowner in St. Joseph County, southwestern Michigan, has been having phenomenal success in locating Ruby-throated Hummingbird nests on his property. Last summer, he found 7 nests in an area of about 2 acres, and this year he's up to 22 nests! This is completely unprecedented in the known biology of this species, and we (Rich and Brenda Keith and I), are working on documenting what is going on here for eventual publication. Last week, we visited this site to band nestlings in some of these nests, succeeding in banding 8 young from 4 nests (some easily within sight of each other). The homeowner is a construction contractor, so it is incredibly convenient that he has equipment available to get us up to the nests, which have ranged from 14-30 feet above the ground. In the photos below, taken by Brenda, Rich and I are banding nestlings from one nest visible from the back deck of the home.

The homeowner has built a banding "table" on the lift, allowing safe conditions for banding these birds. Some of the banding materials are shown in the photo below, along with two baby hummingbirds waiting to be banded.

Some might wonder what the blue Frisbee is for. It is a precaution when removing the baby hummingbirds from the nest, and replacing them. We hold the frisbee under the nest just in case one jumps out. Over the years, that has never happened, and last year one nestling fledged when I got up to the nest, but it flew off very strongly past my head. The young hummingbirds need to be at least 12 days old before their legs are big enough to hold a band, and we have to also band them before they fledge, which on average is 18-21 days old (but up to 28 days in chilly summers with few insects). Here is the first nest we banded young in, which was fairly typical.

One of the other nests, shown below, was a bit unusual in that there was a dangling portion of the nest that I'd never seen before, and perhaps hasn't been previously documented.

There are at least three more nests with eggs or young, some possibly second nests, that we might have the opportunity to band young from in the coming 2-3 weeks. I will post further developments on this at the end of the summer banding season.

Nearby, on July 11, our team of six (2 banders, 2 recorders, and 2 removing birds from traps) captured and banded 152 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and 63 additional birds returning from previous years. It goes without saying that this is our "best" site! When we arrived, it appeared that it would not be this busy, as only about 20 hummingbirds were visiting the 40+ feeders at this home. Most years, there are usually at least twice that many visible at once.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Lake St. Clair Metropark Bird Banding Report - May 26 - June 2, 2016

After my complaining in my last post about the lack of flycatchers and thrushes this spring, the flycatchers at least came through for the last 3 banding days of the season. Thrushes, not so much...

On Thursday, May 26, we opened the nets with a trace of rain that quickly subsided, and captured a total of 12 flycatchers. Of these, two were Eastern Wood-Pewees.
After hatch-year Eastern Wood-Pewee

Pewees show only a hint of an eye ring, and it is restricted to the rear half of the eye, so more like a "crescent". Their wing bars are not as prominent as on the Empidonax flycatchers, and in-hand they have very short legs. This leg length might be useful in the field as they often appear like their sitting low on the branch, whereas "Empids" show more leg. The remaining 10 flycatchers captured were all Empids, which included two Least and two Yellow-bellied, the latter a late migrant that is expected this time of year.
After hatch-year Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

This is perhaps the easiest Empid to identify in Michigan, with its large teardrop-shaped eye ring that is often yellowish or pale buffy, large head, greenish tones on all the upperparts, and yellow throat as well as yellow belly. More difficult to identify are Willow and Alder Flycatchers, which used to be considered one species, the "Traill's" Flycatcher. Even in-hand, many of these cannot be identified to species, so must be reported as "Traill's", but of today's captures, four measured out to Alder, one as Willow, and one was intermediate so left as Traill's.
After hatch-year Alder Flycatcher

Willow and Alder Flycatchers can be told from the other Empids in Michigan by their brownish-olive upperparts, sometimes slightly contrasting grayish-olive heads (as on the individual above, but often this is also brownish-olive), weak narrow or indistinct buffy eye rings, and clean white throats.

Vireos have not been much in evidence this spring, so it was nice to capture our first Red-eyed Vireo today.
After hatch-year Red-eyed Vireo

Four Swainson's Thrushes today were encouraging, but as it turned out would be the peak (and last) day for the season for them. An uncommon capture at any time was a Brown Thrasher.
After hatch-year Brown Thrasher

Although some warbler species tend to be later migrants, it was still a surprise that we had such a great day for warblers, which included 10 species captures plus one more observed only. The numbers of Yellow Warblers in this small (3 acre) area continues to amaze, and we banded 8 more today, including the 60th of the spring which broke the 10-year record of 59 back in the Point Rosa Marsh site.
After second-year male Yellow Warbler

Most of the 9 Magnolia Warblers captured today were females, signalling that their migration was nearing its end.
Second-year female Magnolia Warbler

Normally and early migrant, it was surprising that the first Black-throated Green Warblers of the spring were captured today. As with the Magnolias, both were females, indicating the end of migration was near.
Second-year female Black-throated Green Warbler

Both an early and late migrant, the 5 American Redstarts (all females) captured today was the peak (and last) of the season. The 3 Northern Waterthrushes were a surprise since we had a lot fewer than expected earlier in the month, when their migration typically peaks. An expected late migrant is Mourning Warbler, and the 4 banded today (2 males, 2 females) broke the spring record of 3 back at the marsh site, and tied the fall record for there.
After second-year male Mourning Warbler

After hatch-year female Mourning Warbler

Another later migrant is the Wilson's Warbler, and they arrived today with a vengeance, with 8 banded, most of them males.
After hatch-year male Wilson's Warbler

And another later migrant, which has been captured in fewer numbers each year, is Canada Warbler. All 3 that were banded today were females.
Second-year female Canada Warbler

Second-year female Canada Warbler

Other banding highlights today included a female Indigo Bunting, a single Lincoln's Sparrow, and 5 more Baltimore Orioles. Interesting species observed but not banded included a flyover Black-bellied Plover, a singing Great Crested Flycatcher, a male Eastern Bluebird, and 3 singing Blackpoll Warblers that came close to the nets, but never quite came low enough to be captured.

Sunday, May 29 was another flycatcher day, with 14 individuals of 4 species. Empidonax flycatchers dominated, with one Yellow-bellied, 2 Willow, 2 Alder, and 8 "Traill's" Flycatchers.
After hatch-year "Traill's" Flycatcher

A bit of a surprise was an Eastern Kingbird, which I've captured fewer than one each year back in the marsh.
After hatch-year female Eastern Kingbird

Both male and female Eastern Kingbirds have a concealed red crown patch. Determining the sex is done by the shape of the outermost primary, which has a longer and narrower "notch" in males, and shorter and broader as in this female.
After hatch-year female Eastern Kingbird

Fewer warblers were banded today, but did include a few more Yellow Warblers! But there were two surprises; one being a female Blackburnian Warbler. This species has been irregularly banded here, and not very often in spring.
After hatch-year female Blackburnian Warbler

After hatch-year female Blackburnian Warbler

In fall, Blackpoll Warblers are fairly numerous, but in spring I've banded very few. So it was a very pleasant surprise to capture a female today.
After hatch-year female Blackpoll Warbler

This might be a difficult ID challenge in the field, but the pale yellowish feet along with the greenish crown and back, with black streaks, and the black malar and side streaks, are helpful for identifying this as a female Blackpoll Warbler.
After hatch-year female Blackpoll Wasrbler

The tinge of yellow on the lower throat of this individual seemed a bit unusual, although I've banded fewer than 10 Blackpolls in my life in spring (hundreds in fall). We banded a LOT of Red-winged Blackbirds today (34), and a few more Baltimore Orioles, which is different from our experience back in the marsh where they seemed to move to other parts of the park after mid-May. Interesting species observed, but not banded today included two Green Herons, and a female Eastern Towhee (they're not known to breed here).

The final day of banding this spring was Thursday, June 2.Migrants are typically still moving during the first week of the month,and we did manage to band a few more Empidonax flycatchers; 2 Alder and 1 Yellow-bellied. Another Brown Thrasher was a good catch, and the male Cedar Waxwing was the first for the season, and the 70th species of the spring.
After hatch-year male Cedar Waxwing

Although this individual had 7 waxy tips on the secondaries, and females sometimes have none, the best way to determine their sex is by looking at the black on the chin and throat. Males are more extensively black there.
After hatch-year male Cedar Waxwing

Three more Yellow Warblers brought the season total to 68, and along with the 6 returnees from previous years (some from Point Rosa Marsh), was a record number by far. Two female Wilson's Warblers were also late migrants. And one more Baltimore Oriole brought the season's total to 24, which is 9 more than the record season back in the marsh.
After second-year male Baltimore Oriole

And the final bird of the season was a Song Sparrow, which was also the first species captured this species.
After hatch-year male Song Sparrow

And finally, here is some of the fine crew who helped out today.

Interesting birds observed but not banded today included a singing Willow Flycatcher, a singing second-year male American Redstart, and an Indigo Bunting.

Thanks to the following volunteers for making banding on these three days possible. John Bieganowski, Jacob Charlebois, Stevie Kuroda, Dave Lancaster, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Ava Lau, Tessa Lau, Marie McGee, Bruce Watson, and Blanche Wicke.

Bird Banding Results

May 26, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
Net Hours: 110.375
Temperature (F): 70-79
Cloud Cover: 100-80%
Wind Direction: SE
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-10
Barometer: 29.31 - 29.31
Precipitation: Trace rain in a.m.
No. Banded: 104 (plus 26 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 32
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 118.7
Banding Assistants (9.5 hours worked): Dave Lancaster, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Blanche Wicke (7.0 hrs). 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 2
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 2
Alder Flycatcher - 4
Willow Flycatcher - 1
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1
Least Flycatcher - 2
Warbling Vireo - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Red-eyed Vireo - 1
[House Wren - 1 recaptured]
Swainson's Thrush - 4
American Robin - 5
Gray Catbird - 3
Brown Thrasher - 1
Nashville Warbler - 1
Yellow Warbler - 8 (plus 13 recaptured)
Magnolia Warbler - 9
Black-throated Green Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 5
Northern Waterthrush - 3
Mourning Warbler - 4
Common Yellowthroat - 3
Wilson's Warbler - 8
Canada Warbler - 3
Song Sparrow - 2
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Indigo Bunting - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 16 (plus 4 recaptured)
Common Grackle - 2
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 5 (plus 4 recaptured)
[American Goldfinch - 1 recaptured]
House Sparrow - 1

May 29, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 7.00
Net Hours: 113.50
Temperature (F): 68-81
Cloud Cover: 60-100-80%
Wind Direction: S
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-10
Barometer: 29.40 - 29.37
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 66 (plus 21 recaptured and 3 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 17
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 79.3
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
Northern Flicker - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 2
Willow Flycatcher - 2
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 8
Eastern Kingbird - 1
Red-eyed Vireo - 1
House Wren - 1
American Robin - 2
Yellow Warbler - 3 (plus 11 recaptured)
Blackburnian Warbler - 1
Blackpoll Warbler - 1
Wilson's Warbler - 2
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 34 (plus 3 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 3 (plus 4 recaptured)

June 2, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:15
Hours Open: 6.75
Net Hours: 110.375
Temperature (F): 63-81
Cloud Cover: 60%
Wind Direction: WSW
Wind Speed (mph): 1-3-10
Barometer: 29.31 - 29.35
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 23 (plus 13 recaptured)
Species Captured: 15
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 32.6
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Jacob Charlebois (2.5 hrs), Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Ava Lau, Tessa Lau, Marie McGee (6.0 hrs), Blanche Wicke (7.0 hrs).

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 2
Warbling Vireo - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
American Robin - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Gray Catbird - 1 recaptured]
Brown Thrasher - 1
Cedar Waxwing - 1
Yellow Warbler - 3 (plus 4 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 2
Song Sparrow - 3 (1 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
[American Goldfinch - 1 recaptured]

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lake St. Clair Metropark Bird Banding Report - May 6-21, 2016

Getting out to band this month has been difficult. Some difficulties included an occasional shortage of volunteers, and inconveniences of my own schedule too. But mostly, it has been Mother Nature who has hindered us, with a wetter than normal spring. We were able to get out on May 6 and 8, but then we had an 11-day gap before banding again on May 19 and 21. Two days in that gap had to be cancelled due to rain, wind, or cold temperatures (on one day, all three!).

On Friday, May 6, the first (3) Warbling Vireos of the season were banded.
After hatch-year Warbling Vireo

And right on schedule, we also has the season's first Veery.
After hatch-year Veery

Although not the first of the season, today's captures of Yellow Warbler signaled a clear influx of birds, mostly males. It is also interesting to notice the total number of Yellow Warblers banded on all four days, which comes close to the record banded back at the Point Rosa Marsh station. Do they nest in higher densities in this habitat? Another Field Sparrow was banded, bringing the season's total to 4, which is double the spring record back in the marsh. The first Baltimore Oriole of the spring was banded in the nets adjacent to the hummingbird feeders, which wasn't surprising.
After hatch-year female Baltimore Oriole

Interesting birds observed, but not banded included a male Eastern Bluebird sitting on top of one of the nest boxes in the Meadow Nets area. But it didn't stay. And an Indigo Bunting was heard briefly as a flyover. As the day warmed up, the American Toads in the Channel started calling, providing good photo (and video) opportunities.
American Toad

On Sunday, May 8, an unusual capture was a Mourning Dove. This species is large enough to often "bounce out" of the nets we use for songbirds as the mesh is not large enough to hold most of them.
After hatch-year female Mourning Dove

The second species of flycatcher to arrive, after Eastern Phoebe, is typically Least Flycatcher, which often arrives in late April. But not this year. Today's Least Flycatcher was the first of the spring here.
After hatch-year Least Flycatcher

In spring, the contrast between the grayish crown and greenish back is usually more obvious than on some birds in the fall.
After hatch-year Least Flycatcher

Two Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in the same net, and close together, was unusual since previously only one or two in any single season was the norm. Perhaps yet another difference this new location will consistently show us?
After hatch-year male Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

It was a good day for warblers, and not just another bunch of Yellows! A bit unusual was an Orange-crowned.
After hatch-year male Orange-crowned Warbler

The orange crown of males is very well hidden at the bases of the crown feathers.
After hatch-year male Orange-crowned Warbler

Other "early" warbler migrants that are expected this time of year includes Nashville, Palm, and Yellow-rumped, all of which were banded today.
After hatch-year male Nashville Warbler

The more extensive chestnut in the crown of males (females have chestnut, but less) is mostly hidden by the broad gray tips of the crown feathers, but is less hidden than the crown patch of Orange-crowned Warbler.
After hatch-year male Nashville Warbler

Sexing (Western) Palm Warblers by the extent of chestnut on the crown is something I'm not entirely comfortable with.
After hatch-year (male?) Palm Warbler

After hatch-year (male?) Palm Warbler

After hatch-year (female?) Palm Warbler

Sexing Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers is a little easier, as males tend to have more black on the head, and more blue-gray (instead of brownish) on the back, and brighter and more extensive yellow (and longer wings, on average).
After hatch-year male Yellow-rumped Warbler

After hatch-year male Yellow-rumped Warbler

It was also a good day for sparrows, with several handsome White-crowned Sparrows captured.
After hatch-year White-crowned Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrows are expected to arrive in early May, but the 8 banded today was an unexpectedly large number. This subtly marked sparrow is one of my favorites. It also has a beautiful, almost thrush-like song.
After hatch-year Lincoln's Sparrow

And the 5 Baltimore Orioles banded today was more than expected.
After second-year male Baltimore Oriole

Interesting birds observed, but not banded today included a flyover Green Heron, Black-throated Green Warbler, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, and Orchard Oriole.

Thursday, May 19 saw the first (5) Ruby-throated Hummingbirds of the season banded, although they surely arrived in the area sometime in the 11 days since we were last able to band here (thanks mostly to a wetter than normal spring).
After hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

After hatch-year female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Two more Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were a surprise, and the spring's first Swainson's Thrush was released without a photo. Thrush and flycatcher numbers seem quite low this spring so far. Another good bunch of Yellow Warblers was banded, along with the first American Redstart of the spring, which was a female (males typically arrive first...but perhaps that happened in the 11-day gap when we couldn't band).
After hatch-year female American Redstart

It was also nice to band a couple of brightly-colored male Magnolia Warblers.
After second-year male Magnolia Warbler

After second-year male Magnolia Warbler
A second-year female Black-throated Blue Warbler had a smaller than normal white patch on the wing, which is something we see more often on hatch-year females in fall.
Second-year female Black-throated Blue Warbler

Other warblers banded today included Nashville, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, and Common Yellowthroat. A Field Sparrow was the 5th of the spring. And even more Baltimore Orioles (7) were banded today than last week. Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a flyover Black-bellied Plover, Tennessee Blackburnian, and Blackpoll (3) Warblers.

On Saturday, May 21, we encountered some very sparse sprinkles in the morning, which turned into a light shower for about 15 minutes, which forced us to close the nets for 30 minutes, and set up a canopy to keep us dry. During the net run to close the nets, the highlight of the day (or the season?) was captured. The volunteers are seen here huddling around it, to take photos. What is it?
Banding volunteers photographing a great bird.

It was the 9th Black-billed Cuckoo ever banded in the park, and only the second since 1997!
After hatch-year Black-billed Cuckoo

Another Ruby-throated Hummingbird banded was a highlight, as always. There was less warbler diversity today, but this adult male American Redstart was a nice catch.
After second-year male American Redsart

And the first Chestnut-sided Warbler banded here this spring was a female, signalling that their migration is past peak.
Second-year female Chestnut-sided Warbler

Females have less brilliant yellow crowns, less black in the face, and less chestnut on the flanks.
Second-year female Chestnut-sided Warbler

Other warblers banded today included a few more Yellows, Magnolia, and Black-throated Blue, but the warbler of the day was Common Yellowthroat, with a surprising 11 banded today...there is not a lot of marsh or wetland in the banding area.
After second-year male Common Yellowthroat

Surely, the brightest bird banded today was the male Indigo Bunting.
After second-year male Indigo Bunting

After second-year male Indigo Bunting

Interesting birds observed but not banded today included this Great Egret that attempted (and failed) to swallow a large perch that it had stabbed in the channel right behind the banding table.
Great Egret

Banding on these four days could not have been done without the help of very eager and capable volunteers, including John Bieganowski, Jacob Charlebois, Caitlyn Hogan, Stevie Kuroda, Dave Lancaster, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Ava Lau, Tessa Lau, Joan Tisdale, Bruce Watson, and Blanche Wicke.

Bird Banding Results

May 6, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:45
Hours Open:6.75
Net Hours: 110.375
Temperature (F): 46-70
Cloud Cover: 40-60-10%
Wind Direction: NNW-NE
Wind Speed (mph): 7-10
Barometer: 29.28 - 29.24
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 79 (plus 8 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 22
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 79.7
Banding Assistants (9.5 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Dave Lancaster, Joan Tisdale (4 hrs).

Warbling Vireo - 3
Blue Jay - 2
Tree Swallow - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Tufted Titmouse - 1
House Wren - 1
Veery - 1
Hermit Thrush - 4
American Robin - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow Warbler - 15 (plus 2 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Field Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 3 (plus 3 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 3
White-throated Sparrow - 3
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 15 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 3
Baltimore Oriole - 1
American Goldfinch - 3
House Sparrow - 1

May 8, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:00
Hours Open: 6.25
Net Hours: 101.625
Temperature (F): 45-63
Cloud Cover: 10-50%
Wind Direction: WNW-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-10
Barometer: 29.23 - 29.29
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 121 (plus 15 recaptured and 5 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 29
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 138.7
Banding Assistants (8.0 hours worked): Jacob Charlebois, Caitlyn Hogan, Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson.

Mourning Dove - 1
Northern Flicker - 1
Least Flycatcher - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 7
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 2
Hermit Thrush - 2
Wood Thrush - 1
American Robin - 4
Gray Catbird - 1 (2 recaptured)
European Starling - 1
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 4
Yellow Warbler - 18 (plus 7 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 5
Palm Warbler - 5
Common Yellowthroat - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 2 (plus 3 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Swamp Sparrow - 6
Lincoln's Sparrow - 8
White-throated Sparrow - 13
White-crowned Sparrow - 4
Northern Cardinal - 3
Red-winged Blackbird - 13 (plus 1 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 3
Brown-headed Cowbird - 3
Baltimore Oriole - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 1

May 19, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:15
Hours Open: 6.75
Net Hours: 110.375
Temperature (F): 45-68
Cloud Cover: 10-0%
Wind Direction: Calm-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 0-3
Barometer: 29.56 - 29.57
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 69 (plus 23 recaptured)
Species Captured: 25
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 83.4
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Dave Lancaster, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Ava Lau, Tessa Lau, Blanche Wicke (7.0 hrs).

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 5
Warbling Vireo - 1
Tree Swallow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 1
American Robin - 5
Gray Catbird - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Nashville Warbler - 1
Yellow Warbler - 16 (plus 9 recaptured)
Magnolia Warbler - 2
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 2
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 5
Field Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 2
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
Northern Cardinal - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 5 (plus 3 recaptured)
Common Grackle - 1
[Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 recaptured]
Baltimore Oriole - 7 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 2 (plus 3 recaptured)

May 21, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.5 (closed 9:00 - 9:30 due to rain)
Net Hours: 106.00
Temperature (F): 57-64
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind Direction: NNW-NE
Wind Speed (mph): 1-3-7
Barometer: 29.38 - 29.42
Precipitation: Trace Rain
No. Banded: 44 (plus 25 recaptured)
Species Captured: 19
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 65.1
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): Jacob Charlebois (7.5 hrs), Caitlyn Hogan (7.5 hrs), Stevie Kuroda (8.0 hrs), Bruce Watson (8.0 hrs), Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Warbling Vireo - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 2 recaptured]
House Wren - 1
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Black-billed Cuckoo - 1
Yellow Warbler - 3 (plus 10 recaptured)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 3
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat - 11
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 3 recaptured)
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
Indigo Bunting - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 10 (plus 1 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 2 (plus 6 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 1