Sunday, June 8, 2014

Metro Beach banding report - Spring 2014 finale

The first week of June is the last week of spring banding at this site every year. Some years there are migrants still moving through, while in other years migration has ended and nesting is well underway in the area. This year, it was mostly the latter, and only one banding day (Friday June 6) could be scheduled due to the limited availability of volunteers. Highlights of that banding day are described below, followed by a brief summary of the entire spring season.

Highlights of the 28 birds banded on Friday, June 6 included a Ruby-throated Hummingbird; this one an adult female that was showing signs of breeding locally.
After hatch-year female Ruby-throated Hummingbird















 A single Empidonax flycatcher was banded today. This one keyed out to Alder Flycatcher, which makes it a likely migrant as they rarely summer here, with Willow breeding annually. It was the only migrant captured today. Banding volunteer, Marie McGee, suggested that I explain how these flycatchers are identified. I hope I can do it accurately and concisely, without being too boring...
After hatch-year Alder Flycatcher














Keying out Willow and Alder flycatchers requires taking a number of precise measurements that can be tricky to obtain on a squirming bird in-hand. The chart below, shown in the Pyle guide that all North American banders use, shows a scatter plot with Willow on one side, Alder on the other, and a zone of overlap along a median line. Along the X-axis is a "wing formula", which is something our European colleagues are used to doing with a number of their warbler species. It consists of the difference between two measurements of primary lengths, all done on the closed wing, which only increases the degree of difficulty. Formula I is the difference between the longest primary and the 6th primary, minus the difference between the 10th primary and the 5th primary; the latter is a negative number of the 10th primary is longer than the 5th. On the bird above, Longest primary minus the 6th was 4.7mm, and p10 minus p5 was -0.5, so the Formula I value is 5.2mm. The Y-axis is the length of the bill measured from the front of the nostrils (nares) to the tip. On this bird it was 7.9mm. So, using the top chart for adults in spring (the bottom chart is only for hatch-year birds in fall), the intersection of these two values is approximately at the tip of the arrow, which is well within the range for Alder Flycatcher. It does take a bit of practice to do this quickly, but accurately, especially on busy days. And, in my experience about 50% of them fall in the overlap zone and remain as "Traill's" Flycatcher.
Figure 149 in Pyle for identifying Willow/Alder Flycatchers















A couple of Common Yellowthroats were banded today, including this female that decided she'd sit in my hand after being released. After about a minute, she flew off strongly.
Second-year female Common Yellowthroat














American Goldfinches have not been in the highlights for a while, and the number of newly banded this spring was only about average (51), after record numbers last year both in spring and fall. Those records surely contributed to the greater than normal number of returnees from previous years, which included: 1 from 2008, 1 from 2011, 3 from 2012, 9 from spring 2013, and 32 from fall 2013.














Similarly impressive numbers of returnees of Yellow Warblers were noted, with a very good total of 38 newly banded plus 27 returning from previous years (1 from 2007, 3 from 2008, 2 from 2009, 3 from 2011, 9 from 2012, and 9 from 2013).

The final bird banded of spring 2013 was this second-year female Common Yellowthroat (the 36th of the spring). She is showing rusty on the forehead that some individuals have.
Second-year female Common Yellowthroat














Interesting birds observed but not banded today included single calling Virginia Rail and Sora, and persistently singing Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, and Great Crested Flycatcher.

============================
Banding Data
--------------------------------------
FRIDAY, June 6, 2014

Sunrise (E.S.T.): 4:56
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.50
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 98.00
Temperature (F): 50-73
Cloud Cover: 10-70%
Wind: Calm-SE @ 0-5 mph
Barometer: 30.05-30.05
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 28 (plus 22 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 13
Capture Rate: 42.9 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.50 hours, 5:00-14:30): Mike Carnill, Robyn Carnill, Dave Lancaster, Marie McGee, Blanche Wicke.

Mourning Dove - 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 1
House Wren - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)
American Robin - 3
[European Starling - 1 recaptured]
[Yellow Warbler - 3 recaptured]
Common Yellowthroat - 2 (plus 2 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Red-winged Blackbird - 9 (plus 3 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle -3
[Baltimore Oriole - 1 recaptured]
American Goldfinch - 5 (plus 6 recaptured)

2014 Spring Banding Season Summary

The spring of 2014 was interesting for some great highlights, but had the lowest number of species banded (59) since banding was re-started here in 2004; and only 5 of the years between 1990-1999 had a lower species total. The 656 individuals banded ranked this spring 7th among the last 11 spring seasons, so well below average. Poor showings of thrushes and warblers contributed, in addition to the profoundly low number of White-throated Sparrows. In some ways, migration seemed to pass us by, even though other locales in southeastern Michigan had a pretty good spring.

=================================
Banding Totals (Spring 2014)
--------------------------------------------
AMERICAN KESTREL - 1
VIRGINIA RAIL - 1
SPOTTED SANDPIPER - 3
WILSON'S SNIPE - 1
Mourning Dove - 3
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 9
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 9
Hairy Woodpecker - 1
Northern Flicker - 4
ACADIAN FLYCATCHER - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 7
Willow Flycatcher - 2
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 4
Least Flycatcher - 1
Eastern Phoebe - 1
EASTERN KINGBIRD - 1
Warbling Vireo - 3
Blue Jay - 8
Tree Swallow - 8
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 8
Black-capped Chickadee - 4
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Brown Creeper - 8
House Wren - 8
Winter Wren - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 17
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 5
Veery - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 5
Hermit Thrush - 15
American Robin - 34
Gray Catbird - 5
European Starling - 15
Nashville Warbler - 1
Yellow Warbler - 38
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 2
Palm Warbler - 1
Blackpoll Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 2
Northern Waterthrush - 10
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 36
Wilson's Warbler - 6
Northern Cardinal - 3
Indigo Bunting - 1
American Tree Sparrow - 12
SAVANNAH SPARROW - 1
Fox Sparrow - 8
Song Sparrow - 24
Lincoln's Sparrow - 8
Swamp Sparrow - 60
White-throated Sparrow - 4
Red-winged Blackbird - 138
Common Grackle - 32
Brown-headed Cowbird - 2
Baltimore Oriole - 15
House Finch - 2
American Goldfinch - 51

Monday, June 2, 2014

Metro Beach banding report - May 29 & 31, 2014

Things start slowing down in late May, and we start looking forward to the first hatch-year birds of the year. What species will it be? Very few migrants are left, and most of the resident birds are showing signs of breeding. Weather was good on both days this week, but the results did vary.

Highlights of the 36 birds banded, and 13 recaptured, on Thursday May 29 included a good total of 6 Empidonax flycatchers. All of them were of the Willow/Alder species pair, called Traill's Flycatcher when they cannot be identified any further. Of the 5 new banded Empids, the measurements of 4 of them enabled them to be keyed out to species; 1 was Willow and 3 were Alder.
After hatch-year Alder Flycatcher













 Not exactly a highlight, the number of European Starlings banded this spring has been more than normal. Some years none are banded. An adult female banded today had an apparently unusual eye color. I don't know if this is age related, or just a variation.
After hatch-year female European Starling














 The number of Yellow Warblers banded this year in the 7-acres encompassed by the 14 nets has been very good, with 35 new banded, and in addition there have been 25 returnees from previous years. Among the returnees have been a few banded in 2008, including the individual below banded (as AHY) in 2008.
After 7th year male Yellow Warbler














Interesting birds observed but not banded included a small male Cooper's Hawk chasing American Crows, a circling and calling Sandhill Crane, a calling Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, and singing American Redstart, Blackpoll, and Wilson's Warblers. A Scarlet Tanager was heard singing briefly.

Highlights of the 35 birds banded, and 26 recaptured, on Saturday May 31 included an adult male Ruby-throated Hummingbird...always a highlight and a privilege to band.
After hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird














Some males show a distinct purple iridescence on their tails, though this is difficult to photograph well.
After hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird














A Hairy Woodpecker was a nice catch, as they are infrequently banded here.
Second-year female Hairy Woodpecker















More Empidonax flycatchers were captured today, including one returning bird; banded in 2012. Its measurements did not allow it to be keyed out to species, and when recaptured in 2013 it was the same. So it was not surprising that when remeasured again today, it still did not key out! Most likely it is a Willow Flycatcher since that is the most frequent species nesting in the park, with Alder occurring in summer perhaps only one summer out of five.

Among the three Northern Rough-winged Swallows captured today was one that had been banded in 2013; the first returnee of this species from a previous year at this station.
After hatch-year male N. Rough-winged Swallow















The species gets its name from small, hook-like structures long the leading edge of the outermost primary, on the males only. This can be seen in the photo below.
Small hooks on leading edge of wing.














A single migrant warbler was banded today, a female Blackpoll Warbler, which was a bit of a surprise. Blackpolls are banded annually in the fall, sometimes in good numbers, but this is the first one in spring since 1998, and only 5 were banded between 1993 and 1998.
After hatch-year female Blackpoll Warbler















As anticipated, the first young of the year were captured today, including an American Robin and a European Starling.
Hatch-year American Robin














Hatch-year European Starling















In the early afternoon, when things were starting to get really slow, one of the volunteers (Jacob Charlebois) extracted a Swainson's Thrush from a net close to where we band along the road. It was a banded bird, so naturally I presumed it was the Swainson's I'd banded in the morning.
After hatch-year Swainson's Thrush














But when I looked at the band, I said "wow" or something... The numbers were all along the bottom of the band, with the inscription at the top being "Tierradeaves.com", and a small "c" above the numbers. It was the first ever INTERNATIONAL recapture at this station!
Tierradeaves.com band on Swainson's Thrush














I immediately recognized this organization as that operated by Manuel Grosselet, who bands at a station in Veracruz, Mexico! I emailed Manuel when I still had the bird in my hand, and heard back from him later in the evening. This Swainson's Thrush was banded on May 7, 2014 at the Observatorio de Aves del Pantano de Santa Alejandrina (OAPSA), which is east of Minatitlan, Veracruz. This bird traveled over 2900 kilometers NNE in only 24 days, if it went in a straight line, to get to Michigan from Mexico. But it may have actually flown around the Gulf of Mexico through Texas, probably extending its trip by a few hundred kilometers. A Google map of the banding site and re-encounter site is shown below.
Minatitlan, Veracruz to Lake St. Clair Metropark, Michigan












And below are Google maps of the banding site, and re-encounter site, to show surrounding habitat. Yellow pins show the precise locations.
Minatitlan, Veracruz, Mexico










Lake St. Clair Metropark, Michigan, USA













 And here is Jacob with "his" Mexican Swainson's Thrush.
Jacob Charlebois with Swainson's Thrush















But the day was not over, and another strange bird was captured. But this one had to be released unbanded, because my banding permit does not include waterfowl.
Second-year female Wood Duck














This female Wood Duck was kinder to my net than the female Mallard that tried to land in a net last week...she put two large holes in it. This duck did no damage to the net. Although I could not band her, I still brought her back to the station to take photo, and for everyone to admire her plumage.
Second-year female Wood Duck















I also was curious to see if I could age her, using the Pyle guide. One volunteer commented that it looked like she was helping out...
Second-year female Wood Duck















It appears that she was a second-year based on the relative lack of iridescence on her back, and the short extension of white behind the eye, which was only 15 mm (20mm or more is ASY).
Second-year female Wood Duck














Interesting birds observed but not banded included an American Woodcock flushed from near the Upland Nets, and single singing Red-eyed Vireo, Bay-breasted Warbler, and American Redstart.

============================
Banding Data
--------------------------------------
THURSDAY, May 29, 2014

Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:00
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 96.75
Temperature (F): 50-70
Cloud Cover: 20-60%
Wind: NW @ 1-3-7 mph
Barometer: 30.16-30.19
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 36 (plus 13 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 15
Capture Rate: 53.7 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.50 hours, 5:00-15:30): Dave Lancaster, Marie McGee, Edie Schmitz (7.5 hrs), Blanche Wicke (7.5 hrs).

Downy Woodpecker - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 3
Willow Flycatcher - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 1
Tree Swallow -1
[House Wren - 1 recaptured]
American Robin - 3 (plus 1 released unbanded)
European Starling -3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow Warbler - 3 (plus 8 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat -3
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 5 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle -8 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Baltimore Oriole - 1


-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, May 31, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 4:59
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:45
Hours Open: 8.00
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 106.00
Temperature (F): 55-77
Cloud Cover: 20-0%
Wind: NE-S @ 1-3-5 mph
Barometer: 30.28-30.27
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 35 (plus 26 recaptured, 5 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 21
Capture Rate: 62.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): Patrick Bohm (5.0 hrs), Jacob Charlebois, Marie McGee (5.0 hrs), Sarah Toner (8.0 hrs), Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird -1
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Hairy Woodpecker - 1
Alder Flycatcher -2
Willow Flycatcher - 1
["Traill's" Flycatcher - 1 recaptured]
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
Swainson's Thrush - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Robin -2 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Gray Catbird - 1
European Starling -2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow Warbler - 3 (plus 6 recaptured)
BLACKPOLL WARBLER - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 6 (plus 2 recaptured)
[Song Sparrow - 4 recaptured]
[Swamp Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Northern Cardinal - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Red-winged Blackbird - 5 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 4 (plus 1 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Baltimore Oriole - 1
American Goldfinch - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Metro Beach banding report - May 17-24, 2014

As we head into the latter half of May, the weather has improved, although warbler and thrush migration has not. It is an odd mix of the typical species for this time of year and some typically early species lingering later than normal. The higher than normal water levels in the marsh and swamp are reflected in the rail and shorebirds banded this spring. But on the negative side, much of the area is flooded enough to attract Mallards, and a female decided to try to land in one of the Willow nets, with disastrous results to the net; two huge holes. Late May also brings increasing numbers of flycatchers, including my favorites, the Empidonax, and this week we are off to a good start.

Highlights of the 51 birds banded on Saturday, May 17, and particularly of the 25 birds recaptured, included an adult female Ruby-throated Hummingbird that had originally been banded in spring 2013. Only a few hummingbirds are banded at this site in spring (10 times as many in the fall), and there is not a lot of suitable breeding habitat in the park, so having a returning bird is always a good thing.
After hatch-year female Ruby-throated Hummingbird














And I was hopeful that once again we would document the continuing presence of "Lucky" the Song Sparrow; wearing band number 2281-10323, which I have committed to memory since I've recaptured him more than 25 times since banding him as an after hatch-year in 2007, making him at least 7 years 11 months old. He turned up again today, in a net he is not often captured in, and ready to breed as evidenced  by his enlarged cloacal protuberance.
"Lucky", an after 8th year male Song Sparrow















I really enjoy Empidonax flycatchers because of the challenges they present, and today the first "Traill's" Flycatcher of the season was captured. In-hand (and after 30+ years of experience), separating these flycatchers has become fairly straightforward. Least Flycatchers are small, big-headed, with broad white eye rings and a fairly strong contrast between their gray heads and olive backs, and a dirty white throat. Yellow-bellied are very green and yellow overall, with yellow on the throat as well as the belly. Acadians are at the northern edge of their range in our area so are rarely banded, and are also more greenish. Willow and Alder are brownish-olive on the back with a slightly more grayish crown, and typically with narrow and indistinct pale buffy eye rings. They typically show gleaming white throats contrasting with a pale grayish wash across the upper breast.
After hatch-year "Traill's" Flycatcher














Distinguishing Willow from Alder (formerly lumped as one species, "Traill's" Flycatcher) is up to the measurements and proportions. After taking a number of measurements, and comparing them to an established source on a scatter plot, up to 50% of them will key out to one species or the other. Unfortunately, today's flycatcher was in the overlap zone so had to be left as Traill's.

For those who prefer their birds brilliant and iridescent (include me among those), we banded a beautiful male Indigo Bunting today as well; a species captured infrequently here.
After second-year male Indigo Bunting














Interesting birds observed but not banded today included both Sora and Virginia Rails calling near the field nets, and the first Marsh Wren in the banding area this spring. Warblers observed or heard (in small numbers), but not banded included Tennessee, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Blue, Yellow-rumped, Blackpoll, American Redstart, and Wilson's. A Scarlet Tanager was high in the trees for part of the day.

Highlights of the 46 birds banded on Thursday, May 22 included not one, but TWO Spotted Sandpipers, bringing the total this spring up to three, and the total for the station's entire history to four as the first ever was banded here last spring. These two today provided an excellent opportunity to compare second-year to after second-year, and male to female. Sexing Spotted Sandpipers is done by evaluating the size and number of black spots on the underparts; the males having smaller and fewer spots, the females more and larger. The male below was also a second-year bird, which can be determined by the retained barred coverts that have a white tip, black subterminal band, and white band above that.
Second-year male Spotted Sandpiper















These coverts on the after second-year female below are not retained juvenile type, but are retained basic types, with a white tip and black subterminal band, and no white band above that. Of course, given that my entire life experience with this species in-hand consists of four individuals, I'd be happy to be corrected.
After second-year female Spotted Sandpiper















The portrait below shows the large spots of the female.
After second-year female Spotted Sandpiper















And a wonderful Empidonax surprise today, among the total of 5 today, was an Acadian Flycatcher, only the 3rd banded here since 2004. They are larger than most Empids, with a robust bill, and a narrow, clean, complete eye ring that is tinged yellow, with olive upperparts and whitish throat.
After hatch-year Acadian Flycatcher















After hatch-year Acadian Flycatcher














After hatch-year Acadian Flycatcher















Surprisingly late was a female Ruby-crowned Kinglet; the latest ever here was on 23 May 2006.
After hatch-year female Ruby-crowned Kinglet














Another late bird was the first (!) Palm Warbler of the spring, a rather worn individual that may have been a female. This ties the record late spring date for the species here, set in 2006.
Second-year Palm Warbler














The first Wilson's Warblers of the spring, six of them, put this species into the position of second most numerous migrant warbler this spring, after the 10 Northern Waterthrushes banded so far. Of course there have been more of the two breeding species, Yellow Warbler and Common Yellowthroat, banded this spring.
After hatch-year male Wilson's Warbler














Among the 13 Yellow Warblers recaptured today were two originally banded in 2008. Interesting birds observed but not banded included a calling Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and a number of newly arrived flycatchers including Eastern Wood-Pewee as well as singing Least, Willow, and Great Crested flycatchers. Additional warblers in the banding area were an interesting mix of early and late species: Tennessee, Nashville, Blackburnian, Blackpoll, and Black-and-white.

Highlights of the 47 birds banded on Saturday, May 24 included a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a species infrequently banded here.
After second-year male Red-bellied Woodpecker














After second-year male Red-bellied Woodpecker














Not really a highlight, but an oddity perhaps, was the 5 European Starlings captured today. Last week, there were also 5 starlings, all of them males as determined by the blue bases of their lower mandibles. Today's birds were all females, including this individual with an unusually pale eye color, perhaps indicating it was a second-year.
After hatch-year female European Starling














Most of the sparrow migration occurs in April (and seems to have bypassed us this spring), so a Savannah Sparrow was a bit of a surprise today, and only the 8th here since 2004 and 9th since 1989. There is very little breeding habitat for the species anywhere in the park, so this may be a late migrant.
After hatch-year Savannah Sparrow















After hatch-year Savannah Sparrow














After hatch-year Savannah Sparrow















Interesting birds observed but not banded included a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher that made a brief appearance, and called, next to the banding station, and singing Red-eyed Vireo and Swainson's Thrush. Unbanded warblers included Tennessee, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Canada, and several American Redstarts.

============================
Banding Data
--------------------------------------
SATURDAY, May 17, 2014

Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:09
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 91.00
Temperature (F): 46-59
Cloud Cover: 100-80%
Wind: NW-S @ 3-5-7 mph
Barometer: 30.07-30.15
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 51 (plus 25 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 29
Capture Rate: 85.7 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.50 hours, 5:00-14:30): Marie McGee (5.0 hrs), Tom Schlack (5.0 hrs), Jeff Silence, Blanche Wicke.

Mourning Dove - 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Downy Woodpecker - 1
[Northern Flicker - 1 recaptured]
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1
[Warbling Vireo - 1 recaptured]
Tree Swallow - 2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 1
House Wren - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1
Veery - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 2
[Hermit Thrush - 1 recaptured, rather late]
[American Robin - 1 recaptured]
Gray Catbird - 2
European Starling - 1
Yellow Warbler - 7 (plus 5 recaptured)
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 4
[Song Sparrow - 4 recaptured]
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2
Swamp Sparrow - 9 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 1
Indigo Bunting - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 3 (plus 2 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 1 (2 recaptured)
House Finch - 1
American Goldfinch - 3 (plus 5 recaptured)

-------------------------------------
THURSDAY, May 22, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:04
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.0-10.0
Net Hours: 66.50
Temperature (F): 55-72
Cloud Cover: 10-80%
Wind: NW-WNW @ 5-7-12 mph
Barometer: 29.93-30.04
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 46 (plus 23 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 26
Capture Rate: 106.8 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): John Bieganowski (5.0 hrs), Marie McGee, Tom Schlack (5.5 hrs).

Spotted Sandpiper - 2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2
Acadian Flycatcher - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 1
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Least Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
House Wren - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 1
American Robin - 1
European Starling - 1
Yellow Warbler - 3 (plus 13 recaptured)
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Palm Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 5 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Wilson's Warbler - 6

Song Sparrow - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
[Swamp Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 1 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 2
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 2
American Goldfinch - 5 (plus 3 recaptured)

-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, May 24, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:03
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.50
No. of Nets: 5.0-13.0
Net Hours: 91.50
Temperature (F): 50-75
Cloud Cover: 10-40%
Wind: SW-SSE @ 1-3-5 mph
Barometer: 30.22-30.22
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 47 (plus 25 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 20
Capture Rate: 82.0 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): Edie Schmitz, Tom Schlack (5.0 hrs), Sarah Toner, Blanche Wicke.

Mourning Dove - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Warbling Vireo - 1 recaptured]
American Robin - 3
European Starling - 5
[Yellow Warbler - 5 recaptured]
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 2
[Wilson's Warbler - 1 recaptured]
Savannah Sparrow - 1
[Song Sparrow -4 recaptured]
Lincoln's Sparrow - 3
Swamp Sparrow - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 10 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 8 (plus 1 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Baltimore Oriole - 1
American Goldfinch - 5 (plus 6 recaptured)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Metro Beach banding report - May 3-11, 2014

A busy schedule has prevented me from posting an update earlier, so this report is for four days: Saturday May 3, Friday May 9, Saturday May 10, and Sunday May 11. The park's "migration festival" on May 10 was a success, with good weather and good numbers of visitors making the trip down to the banding area. Banding in the first part of May saw temperatures increasing, though still cooler than normal. Migrants began showing up throughout the region, though the banding area did not have the warbler diversity of many nearby areas. Except for having to take down the nets in heavy rain one afternoon, the rainy conditions prevalent throughout early May were mostly avoided on the other days.

Highlights of the 26 birds banded on Saturday, May 3 were sparse, and included the first Blue Jay and Common Grackles of the spring; both sporting their iridescent plumages of course.
Second-year Blue Jay















After second-year male Common Grackle














Interesting birds observed but not banded included both Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal in a pond out in the field, attesting to the higher water levels this year, as well as multiple Virginia Rails and Sora. Two Solitary Sandpipers were also out in the vicinity of the Field Nets, and a somewhat late female Rusty Blackbird gave good views at the banding station near where we park along the road.

Highlights of the 69 birds banded on Friday, May 9 included the second Spotted Sandpiper ever banded at the station; the first was banded in spring 2013. This individual was sexed as female based on the size, density, and number of black spots on the breast.
After hatch-year female Spotted Sandpiper














After hatch-year female Spotted Sandpiper
















On the same net run, another shorebird was captured, a Wilson's Snipe, which was also only the second ever at the station, with the first banded in spring 1991.
Second-year female Wilson's Snipe














Second-year female Wilson's Snipe















Second-year female Wilson's Snipe
















This bird was aged as second-year based on mixed ages of median and lesser coverts, and was sexed as female based on the pattern and length of the outermost tail feather.
Second-year female Wilson's Snipe














Volunteer, Annie Crary, was responsible for flushing the snipe into the net, and was happy to have her photo taken with her prize catch.
Annie Crary with Wilson's Snipe














A bit overdue, the first thrushes of the spring other than Hermit were captured today, including a single Veery and a lone Swainson's Thrush.
After hatch-year Veery














After hatch-year Swainson's Thrush
















Rather tardy were two Northern Waterthrushes, the only migrant warblers banded today. Good numbers of Yellow Warblers have arrived, and the first Common Yellowthroats of the spring were also banded.
After hatch-year Northern Waterthrush














Second-year male Common Yellowthroat















Interesting birds observed but not banded included a flyover Green Heron, continuing good numbers of Sora and Virginia Rails, Great Crested Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Wood Thrush, and single individuals of several warbler species: Nashville, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Yellow-rumped, Palm, and American Redstart.

Highlights of the 49 birds banded on Saturday, May 10 included a stunning after second-year male Magnolia Warbler.
After second-year male Magnolia Warbler















After second-year male Magnolia Warbler















The first Lincoln's Sparrow of the spring was banded today, and the Baltimore Orioles have discovered the hummingbird feeders and are being captured more frequently, including some from previous years.
After hatch-year Lincoln's Sparrow














After second-year male Baltimore Oriole
















After second-year male Baltimore Oriole















Interesting birds observed but not banded included flyover Green Heron and Turkey Vulture, two circling and calling Sandhill Cranes (rare here), and a few warblers including: Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided, Bay-breasted, Black-and-white, American Redstart, and a stunning Canada right next to the banding station.

Highlights of the 52 birds banded on Sunday, May 11 included only the fourth Virginia Rail ever banded at the station; the first two were in 1992 and the third was in 1998.
After hatch-year Virginia Rail














After hatch-year Virginia Rail














After hatch-year Virginia Rail














Audio luring over the past couple of weeks has brought both Virginia Rail and Sora close to the nets, but not in them. This morning, Virginia Rails were seen in a clump of shrubs between the Field Edge and Field Nets, so the audio lure was set up there. That alone did not catch the rail, but posting a volunteer (Jacob Charlebois) nearby to watch what the birds did allowed one bird to be tracked until it walked into the center of the "U" in the field, where it was captured. Of course Jacob got to pose with "his" rail for photos.
Jacob Charlebois with Virginia Rail
















Another unusual capture was only the station's 5th ever Eastern Kingbird, a feisty adult male.
After hatch-year male Eastern Kingbird














After hatch-year male Eastern Kingbird














Today was the best day so far for songbird migrants, including the first Warbling Vireo, Nashville Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and American Redstart.
After hatch-year Warbling Vireo















After hatch-year female Nashville Warbler














Second-year male Chesnut-sided Warbler















Second-year female Yellow-rumped Warbler














After second-year male American Redstart














And some highlights don't come in the form of rarities or colorful species, but in recapturing individuals banded long ago. This past week there were nearly as many Yellow Warblers returning from previous years, including some 4-5 years old, as were newly banded. Even older was a male Song Sparrow banded as a hatch-year in 2008, making him 6 years old this summer.
Sixth-year male Song Sparrow














Interesting birds observed but not banded included an American Woodcock flushed from near the Field Nets in the early morning, and a few different warblers from previously: Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, and Ovenbird. A Scarlet Tanager was a nice sight also.

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SATURDAY, May 3, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:25
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open: 6.00
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 77.00
Temperature (F): 48-57
Cloud Cover: 70-100%
Wind: SSW-W @ 5-10-12 mph
Barometer: 29.77-29.70
Precipitation: Intermittent light rain, 11:45-12:45
No. Banded: 26 (plus 10 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 9
Capture Rate: 49.4 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Jacob Charlebois, Steve Mangas, Blanche Wicke

Blue Jay - 1
House Wren - 1
Hermit Thrush - 1
American Robin - 4

[Song Sparrow -2 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 7 (plus 1 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 8 (plus 2 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 4 (plus 1 released unbanded)
[American Goldfinch - 5 recaptured]

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FRIDAY, May 9, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:17
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:15
Hours Open: 6.25
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 79.25
Temperature (F): 57-66
Cloud Cover: 20-100%
Wind: S-SW @ 7-10-12 mph
Barometer: 29.91-29.81
Precipitation: Rain at 12:30
No. Banded: 69 (plus 31 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 19
Capture Rate: 130.0 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Annie Crary (6.5 hrs), Dave Lancaster, Judi Wade

SPOTTED SANDPIPER - 1
WILSON'S SNIPE - 1
Mourning Dove - 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
Blue Jay - 6 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Tree Swallow - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
Veery - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 1
American Robin - 1
Yellow Warbler - 10 (plus 10 recaptured)
Northern Waterthrush - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 3 (plus 3 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Song Sparrow -2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 8
White-throated Sparrow - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 17 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Baltimore Oriole - 4 (plus 5 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 7 (plus 8 recaptured)

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SATURDAY, May 10, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:16
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 91.00
Temperature (F): 54-73
Cloud Cover: 20-40%
Wind: SW-WNW @ 5-7-12 mph
Barometer: 29.92-29.50
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 49 (plus 12 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 16
Capture Rate: 68.1 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): John Bieganowski (3.5 hrs), Jacob Charlebois, Jean Gramlich, Dave Lancaster (3.5 hrs), Steve Mangas, Marie McGee (5.0 hrs)

Blue Jay - 1
Tree Swallow - 1
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
European Starling - 2
Yellow Warbler - 5 (plus 5 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 3
Common Yellowthroat - 7 (plus 2 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 1
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 8
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 6
Common Grackle - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 7 (plus 2 recaptured)

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SUNDAY, May 11, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:15
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.25
Temperature (F): 48-73
Cloud Cover: 10-100-70%
Wind: Calm-SE @ 0-5-7 mph
Barometer: 30.01-30.09
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 52 (plus 23 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 24
Capture Rate: 82.4 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Jacob Charlebois, Michelle Serreyn (2.25 hrs), Sarah Toner, Blanche Wicke

VIRGINIA RAIL - 1
[Mourning Dove - 1]
Northern Flicker - 1
EASTERN KINGBIRD - 1
Warbling Vireo - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)

[American Robin - 1 recaptured]
Gray Catbird - 2
Nashville Warbler - 1
Yellow Warbler - 7 (plus 6 recaptured)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 4
Common Yellowthroat - 4 (plus 2 recaptured)
Song Sparrow -1 (plus 4 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal -1
Red-winged Blackbird - 9 (plus 1 recaptured)
Common Grackle - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 2 (plus 3 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 5 (plus 3 recaptured)