Saturday, June 23, 2018

Lake St. Clair Metropark Spring 2018 bird banding summary

The spring 2018 banding season was very cool during April and very wet during May, and as a result only 16 (out of 18 possible) days were covered, between April 7 and June 3. The total of 1199 new birds banded was the second highest spring season ever (2017 was a record with 1301). Species diversity was a record high, with 77 species banded. The totals banded are shown below, with the standardized capture rate (number per 100 net hours) in parentheses.

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1 (0.07)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 10 (0.69)
Northern Flicker - 8 (0.55) [record]
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 3 (0.21)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 4 (0.28)
Alder Flycatcher - 15 (1.04) [record]
Willow Flycatcher - 10 (0.69) [record]
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 16 (1.11) [record]
Least Flycatcher - 2 (0.14)
Eastern Phoebe - 5 (0.35)
Great Crested Flycatcher - 2 (0.14)
White-eyed Vireo - 1 (0.07)
Warbling Vireo - 11 (0.76)
Red-eyed Vireo - 2 (0.14)
Blue Jay - 3 (0.21)
Tree Swallow - 4 (0.28)
Black-capped Chickadee - 3 (0.21)
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1 (0.07)
Brown Creeper - 14 (0.97)
House Wren - 13 (0.90)
Winter Wren - 8 (0.55)
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 77 (5.33) [spring record]
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 59 (4.09) [spring record]
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 1 (0.07)
Veery - 1 (0.07)
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 3 (0.21)
Swainson's Thrush - 20 (1.39)
Hermit Thrush - 45 (3.12)
American Robin - 21 (1.45)
Gray Catbird - 13 (0.90)
Brown Thrasher - 1 (0.07)
European Starling - 3 (0.21)
Cedar Waxwing - 4 (0.28)
Blue-winged Warbler - 1 (0.07)
Tennessee Warbler - 2 (0.14)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 4 (0.28)
Nashville Warbler - 7 (0.48)
Northern Parula - 3 (0.21) [spring record]
Yellow Warbler - 78 (5.40) [record]
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 2 (0.14)
Magnolia Warbler - 30 (2.08)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1 (0.07)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 52 (3.60) [spring record]
Black-throated Green Warbler - 1 (0.07)
Palm Warbler - 20 (1.39) [spring record]
Blackpoll Warbler - 1 (0.07)
Black-and-white Warbler - 3 (0.21)
American Redstart - 30 (2.08)
Ovenbird - 1 (0.07)
Northern Waterthrush - 12 (0.83)
Connecticut Warbler - 3 (0.21) [record]
Mourning Warbler - 4 (0.28)
Common Yellowthroat - 43 (2.98)
Wilson's Warbler - 15 (1.04)
Canada Warbler - 3 (0.21)
Northern Cardinal - 5 (0.35)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 1 (0.07)
Indigo Bunting - 2 (0.14)
Eastern Towhee - 2 (0.14)
American Tree Sparrow - 18 (1.25)
Chipping Sparrow - 2 (0.14)
Field Sparrow - 4 (0.28)
Savannah Sparrow - 1 (0.07)
Fox Sparrow - 15 (1.04) [spring record]
Song Sparrow - 61 (4.23)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 20 (1.39)
Swamp Sparrow - 39 (2.70)
White-throated Sparrow - 36 (2.49)
White-crowned Sparrow -  3 (0.21)
Dark-eyed Junco - 14 (0.97)
Red-winged Blackbird - 147 (10.18)
Common Grackle - 6 (0.42)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 9 (0.62)
Orchard Oriole - 2 (0.14) [tied record]
Baltimore Oriole - 15 (1.04)
House Finch - 7 (0.48)
Pine Siskin - 5 (0.35) [spring record]
American Goldfinch - 83 (5.75)
House Sparrow - 2 (0.14)

TOTAL - 1199 (104.8)

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Lake St. Clair Metropark bird banding report - May 19 - June 3, 2018

The last part of spring migration continued to be interesting, bird-wise, but remained challenging as far as the weather. Of the 5 banding days detailed below, rain delayed opening the nets on one day, a shortage of volunteers on two days only allowed 11.5 nets to be opened instead of 17.5, rain forced early close on one day, and high heat and humidity forced early close on one day. Despite that, the spring season ended up with 1199 birds banded (2nd highest ever) of 77 species (highest ever in spring), with a lot of interesting highlights.

Highlights of the 60 birds banded on May 19 included two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and two Great Crested Flycatchers, both on the same net run.
Second-year Great Crested Flycatrcher

Second-year Great Crested Flycatcher
































For some reason, still unknown, Tennessee Warblers are rarely captured in spring at this site. Maybe they tend to forage higher in the trees/shrubs than the hatch-year birds do in fall? So odd as it may seem, they are a very infrequent capture and today's female was only the second of the spring. Compare this photo with that of the male we caught earlier in the month (previous blog post).
Second-year female Tennessee Warbler
















The spring's 3rd Northern Parula was another highlight, and the season's first Black-throated Blue Warbler (a female) was also captured today. Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a somewhat late Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Chestnut-sided, Blackburnian, and Blackpoll warblers.

Highlights of the 70 birds banded on May 25 included a good influx of Empidonax flycatchers, with the first Yellow-bellied, Willow, and Alder Flycatchers of the spring.
After hatch-year Yellow-bellied Flycztcher
















After hearing them singing previously, we finally captured the season's first Red-eyed Vireos (2) today.
After hatch-year Red-eyed Vireo















After hatch-year Red-eyed Vireo
















Warblers continued, with the expected late spring species including the first (2) Mourning Warblers.
After second-year male Mourning Warbler















After second-year male Mourning Warbler
















Probably the most exciting bird of the day was this female Connecticut Warbler, which was the second of the season. Normally, only one per year is banded in this park, and most often in the fall.
After second-year female Connecticut Warbler
















The complete white eye ring, large bill, and lack of black on the breast, are all good field marks for distinguishing Connecticut Warbler from Mourning Warbler. Another field mark that has been presented in field guides, but also in banding references, is the length of the undertail coverts. Personally, I do not find this very useful since both species are often seen below eye level, making it difficult to see these feathers. But in-hand it can be seen well, and today we had a chance to compare both species undertail coverts side-by-side, with Connecticut showing distinctively longer coverts.
Connecticut Warbler (left) and Mourning Warbler (right)


















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a singing Blue-winged Warbler, and a singing male Connecticut Warbler that was heard near the nature center from the banding table, at the same time as we had our female in-hand!

Highlights of the 48 birds banded on May 27 included two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and it was another good day for flycatchers. After hearing them in the area for a while, we caught our first Eastern Wood-Pewees (2) today.
After hatch-year Eastern Wood-Pewee
















Pewees differ from Empidonax flycatchers by being a bit larger, having longer tails and wings, and instead of having an eye ring, they just have a pale crescent behind the eye.
After hatch-year Eastern Wood-Pewee
















Of the 15 Empidonax flycatchers banded today, 1 was Yellow-bellied, 10 keyed out to Alder, 2 keyed out to Willow, and 2 remained as "Traill's. Perhaps the most amazing bird banded today was the THIRD Connecticut Warbler of the spring. Most interesting is that it was captured in the same net as the previous two this spring.
Net that captured 3 Connecticut Warblers this spring














Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a singing Blackpoll Warbler, and a singing second-year male Orchard Oriole which was the first noted int he banding area since we banded one earlier in the month.

Highlights of the 42 birds banded on June 1 included 2 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and another good bunch of Empidonax flycatchers; 1 Yellow-bellied, 5 Willow, 1 Alder, and 4 "Traill's". After hearing and seeing them in the banding area for a while, we finally caught the first Cedar Waxwings (2) of the spring today.
After hatch-year female Cedar Waxwing
















To day that this new "meadow" station is good for Yellow Warblers would be an understatement. Today we banded 5 more, bringing the season total of new banded, plus 24 returnees from previous years to 100...
100th Yellow Warbler, second-year male
















Despite being a common bird generally, Chipping Sparrows have only rarely been banded in the park. The singing male that we watched fly into a net, and the female we captured at the same time with a brood patch, were only the 4th and 5th banded here (the first was in 2007 at the "marsh" station), and the first in spring.
After hatch-year female Chipping Sparrow
















Having both male and female in-hand at the same time, only subtle differences were noted that might pertain to their sex, or could just be individual variation. The female had a bit more black streaking at the rear of her rufous cap.
After hatch-year male Chipping Sparrow

















Chipping Sparrows have all-black bills in summer, and pinkish bills in winter, which helps distinguish them from similar sparrows.
After hatch-year male Chipping Sparrow
















Considered a rarity on eBird, but captured annually in this park in the first few days of June, was this Lincoln's Sparrow. An isolated breeding colony exists less than 100 miles north of the park in Sanilac County, with the main breeding areas in northern Michigan and farther north.
Second-year Lincoln's Sparrow
















The season's second Indigo Bunting, another molting male, was definitely a highlight. Also the second for the season, but only the 5th ever in the park (and 4th at the "meadow" station) was this second-year male Orchard Oriole.
Second-year male Orchard Oriole
















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a calling Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and late Chestnut-sided and Magnolia Warblers. As the day warmed up, and we were catching fewer birds, my attention turned to other creatures in the banding area. A very large bullfrog was sitting near the channel almost all day, so was an inviting "photo op".
Bullfrog (Rana catesbieana)
















Begging to be photographed was this smallish (12-inches long) Snapping Turtle that walked across the road only a few yards from the banding table.
Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)















Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
















As it got sunner and warmer, many dragonflies became active. One that got tangled in a mist net, but luckily could be safely extracted, was this very large Swamp Darner (it is slightly longer than the common and familiar Green Darner).
Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros)

















Unlike some darners, this species can be readily identified by the paired narrow green rings on its abdomen. They have a substantial bite too!
Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros)

Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros)

Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros)














































We see Swamp Darners annually in the park, from late May into August, and unfortunately some are tangled in our nets. They are generally not very widespread in the state, as the map from the Michigan Odonata Survey below shows.






















Other common dragonfly species became active, including this male Blue Dasher. These photos are a good demonstration that the best lens for photographing dragonflies is a 400mm telephoto lens, not a macro lens...
Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)






























And one dragonfly species that caught my eye turned out to be a new species for the park list, Racket-tailed Emerald.
Racket-tailed Emerald (Dorocordulia libera)
















Other dragonfly and damselfly species noted today included Green Darner, Eastern Pondhawk, Black Saddlebags, Eastern Forktail, and Fragile Forktail.

Highlights of the 20 birds banded on June 3 included yet another good catch of flycatchers; Eastern Wood-Pewee (1), Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (1), Willow Flycatcher (1), Alder Flycatcher (1), and "Traill's" Flycatcher (2). It seems that the migration of Empidonax flycatchers may continue into mid-June this year! A surprising first for the spring was a Brown Thrasher, which is an infrequently captured species, and usually not so late in the season.
After second year male Brown Thrasher
















The only migrant warbler captured today was an expected species that is typically late, a Canada Warbler.
Second-year female Canada Warbler
















By this time of year, we usually start catching the first fledglings of the year. Normally, they would be American Robins, and sometimes have been Common Grackles or European Starlings. This spring, no juveniles of those have been captured. Instead, the only hatch-year of the spring was a complete surprise, this hatch-year male Pine Siskin!
Hatch-year male Pine Siskin
















So, the season ends with a bird more typical of March than of June; very fitting since April was also a lot like March.

Banding can not be done at this location without the help of volunteers, who help carry net poles, nets and other equipment, through mud and water to set up and take down the station every day. Thanks to those who helped on these 5 days: Mike Charlebois, Guadalupe Cummins, Stevie Kuroda, Dave Lancaster, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke, Christian Zammit, and Julian Zammit.

Detailed Bird Banding Results

May 19, 2018

Time open (E.S.T.):  7:00 (rain delayed open)
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 6.0
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:07
Net Hours: 105.0
Temperature (F):  57-70
Cloud Cover: 100-90%
Wind Direction: NE-SW
Wind Speed (mph): 5-10
Barometer: 30.00 - 29.87
Precipitation:  Trace rain after open
No. Banded: 60 (plus 17 recaptured,)
Species Captured: 26
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 73.3
Banding Assistants (9.5 hours worked): Mike Charlebois, Guadalupe Cummins, Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1
Great Crested Flycatcher - 2
Warbling Vireo - 1
Tree Swallow - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 2 recptured]
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 4
American Robin - 1
Gray Catbird - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Northern Parula - 1
Yellow Warbler - 5 (plus 8 recaptured)
Magnolia Warbler - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 2
Black-and-white Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 8 (plus 1 recaptured)
Northern Waterthrush - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 8
Wilson's Warbler - 1
Canada Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 2 (plus 3 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

May 25, 2018

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:02
Net Hours: 75.25
Temperature (F): 63-82
Cloud Cover: 20-10%
Wind Direction: WSW-S
Wind Speed (mph): 1-3-10
Barometer: 30.04 - 29.94
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 70 (plus 32 recaptured, 5 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 25
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 142.2
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Mike Charlebois, Blanche Wicke.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 3
Willow Flycatcher - 2
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 7
Warbling Vireo - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Red-eyed Vireo - 2
[Black-capped Chickadee - 3 recaptured]
House Wren - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 4
American Robin - 2 (plus 1 released unbanded)
[Gray Catbird - 1 recaptured]
Yellow Warbler - 6 (plus 18 recaptured)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 3
American Redstart - 3 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Connecticut Warbler - 1
Mourning Warbler - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 6
Wilson's Warbler - 6
[Song Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 10 (plus 4 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 5
House Finch - 1
American Goldfinch - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

May 27, 2018

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45 
Time closed (E.S.T.): 11:45 (heat and humidity forced early close)
Hours Open: 6.0
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:00
Net Hours:  98.50
Temperature (F): 64-82
Cloud Cover: 10-40-0%
Wind Direction: ESE-SSE
Wind Speed (mph): 1-3-7
Barometer: 29.90 - 29.94
Precipitation:  a.m. fog
No. Banded: 48 (plus 18 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 23
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 70.1
Banding Assistants (8.0 hours worked): Mike Charlebois, Jac Kyle (7.25 hrs), Blanche Wicke, Christian Zammit (7.0 hrs), Julian Zammt (7.0 hrs).

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 2
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 10
Willow Flycatcher - 2
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 2
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
[House Wren - 2 recaptured]
Swainson's Thrush - 1
[Gray Catbird - 1 recaptured]
Yellow Warbler - 4 (plus 8 recaptured)
American Redstart - 1
Connecticut Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 5
Song Sparrow - 1
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 10 (plus 2 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 1
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 1
House Finch - 1
American Goldfinch - 1
-----------------------------------------------

June 1, 2018

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open:  6.75
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  4:58
Net Hours: 112.75
Temperature (F): 72-79
Cloud Cover: 70-60-80%
Wind Direction: NNW-NNE
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-10
Barometer: 29.77 - 29.89
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 42 (plus 17 recaptured)
Species Captured: 21
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 52.3
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Guadalupe Cummins, Dave Lancaster, Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 1
Willow Flycatcher - 5
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 4
Warbling Vireo - 3
House Wren - 1
[American Robin - 2 recaptured]
Gray Catbird - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Cedar Waxwing - 2
Yellow Warbler - 5 (plus 3 recaptured)
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Mourning Warbler - 2
[Common Yellowthroat - 1 recaptured]
Chipping Sparrow - 2
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
[Northern Cardinal - 2 recaptured]
Indigo Bunting - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 8 (plus 6 recaptured)
[Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 recaptured]
Orchard Oriole - 1
American Goldfinch - 1
-----------------------------------------------

June 3, 2018

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time closed (E.S.T.): 9:00 (rain forced early close)
Hours Open:  3.5
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  4:57
Net Hours: 38.50
Temperature (F): 57-53
Cloud Cover: 60-100%
Wind Direction: Calm-SSE
Wind Speed (mph): 0-5
Barometer: 29.88 - 29.85
Precipitation:  Rain @ 9:00+
No. Banded: 20 (plus 7 recaptured)
Species Captured: 14
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 70.1
Banding Assistants (5.0 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke.

Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 1
Willow Flycatcher - 1
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 2
American Robin - 2
Gray Catbird - 2
Brown Thrasher - 1
Cedar Waxwing - 2
Yellow Warbler - 2 (plus 3 recaptured)
Canada Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Pine Siskin - 1
-----------------------------------------------

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Lake St. Clair Metropark bird banding report - May 4-18, 2018

Banding in the first half of May was a wild ride! Three of the four days detailed here each saw more than 100 new birds banded, including one day that was the second best spring day ever with 169 banded. And this is despite some weather challenges that shortened the time nets were open on two days. There was a good mix of unusually late species, early arrivals, and a rarity or two as well.

Highlights of the 169 birds banded on May 4, which was shortened to only 4.5 hours of effort by high winds, included a good late-season showing by Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and the first Veery and Gray Catbirds of the season.  Most years, Yellow Warblers arrive here in late April, and nearly always are captured before the end of that month. But this year we had to wait until today for our first splash of Yellow, with a good bunch of them banded (17).
After second-year male Yellow Warbler
















Among the 8 species of warbler banded today was a good total of 8 Palm Warblers, the first of the spring.
After second-year male Palm Warbler
















Other first warblers of the season was an Ovenbird, and 10 Common Yellowthroats.
After hatch-year Ovenbird















After second-year male Common Yellowthroat


















Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are typically banded in this park in small numbers, and sometimes none in any given year. Today's was a nice male, showing off his powerful beak.
Second-year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak















Second-year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak
















Record late was an American Tree Sparrow, the first ever banded in the park in the month of May.
After hatch-year American Tree Sparrow
















Today's Field Sparrow was the 4th of the spring, which is above average for this park, while the Savannah Sparrow was only about the 10th ever banded here.
After hatch-year Savannah Sparrow















After hatch-year Savannah Sparrow
















The White-crowned Sparrow and Lincoln's Sparrows (6) that were the first of the season today, were right on schedule.
After hatch-year White-crowned Sparrow















After hatch-year Lincoln's Sparrow

















An unexpected capture, even though 3 were banded in early April, was a male Pine Siskin that was even more unusual because it had a cloacal protuberance, a sign of local breeding. Most years, if Pine Siskins come as far south as our station, they typically head back north by the end of March. In 2009 there was an unusual breeding event that was widespread across the entire southern Lower Peninsula.
Second-year male Pine Siskin
















An important food source for migratory birds in spring, especially along the Great Lakes shorelines, is the hatch of tiny flies called midges (Chironomidae). Some are about the size of mosquitos (maybe 10mm long), but the ones that were prevalent today were tiny, only about 2 mm long, and the high winds were keeping them low to the ground, which surely contributed to the large number of birds banded today.
Midge sp. (Chironomidae)

















Among the interesting species observed but not banded today were two flyover calling Common Loons, a flyover Osprey, and a singing Yellow-throated Warbler, possibly only the 2nd or 3rd for the park, that was tantalizing us all morning as it sang nearly non-stop for hours starting at about 7 a.m. Eventually other birders found it and got good photos.

Highlights of the 126 birds banded on May 6 included the third White-eyed Vireo at this new site, the 12th in the park since 2004, and 19th since 1994.
After hatch-year White-eyed Vireo

















A Winter Wren was record late, and the first ever banded in the park in the month of May.
After hatch-year Winter Wren
















The only previous May record of a Golden-crowned Kinglet in the park that I'm aware of was one that had a minor healed wing injury that was recaptured after it was banded in late April. This spring, multiple individuals were still hanging around past the first week of May, which is very unusual.
Second-year female Golden-crowned Kinglet (caught here blinking)
















It was another good late-season day for Ruby-crowned Kinglets (12), and the first Swainson's Thrush of the season was banded today. Northern Parulas are captured very infrequently in this park, and very rarely in spring, so it was nice to have one today.
After second-year female Northern Parula















After second-year female Northern Parula

















Two more first of season warblers today were single Magnolia and Black-throated Green, and 2 Black-and-whites. Of these, the Black-throated Green is the most unusual with typically only one or two in any season banded.
After second-year male Magnolia Warbler















Second-year male Black-throated Green Warbler















Second-year male Black-and-white Warbler

















It was a good day for warblers overall, with 59 individuals of 11 species captured, and the 20 Yellow-rumped Warblers was an excellent number. Today's male Indigo Bunting was a nice surprise, as only one or two are banded here each year, while the season's first Baltimore Oriole was a little overdue.
Second-year male Indigo Bunting















After second-year male Baltimore Oriole

















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a Red-headed Woodpecker calling briefly, singing Tennessee and Bay-breasted Warblers, and a somewhat late singing Eastern Towhee.

Highlights of the 61 birds banded on May 12 were hard-earned and largely undocumented by photos. Rain delayed our opening a reduced number of nets, and once the rain cleared we only got a couple more hours of catching before the rain returned, more serious and continuous. I was concentrating on getting the last 40 birds from the last net run banded rather than on photography. Thanks to the Nature Center for providing a pop-up canopy for us to work under, since my own canopy had gotten blown over earlier in the morning by the only gust of wind (!), which broke two of its legs. A second-year male Sharp-shinned Hawk was notable, as this species is only captured once ever 2-4 years here. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers seemed to be very sparse in late April, when they are typically quite common, so the season's first banded today was considered overdue.
Second-year male Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
















The first Blue-winged Warbler at the new meadow station, and only the 12th banded in the park since 1992.
Second-year male Blue-winged Warbler















Second-year male Blue-winged Warbler

















Among the highlights that were not photographed there was a male Blackpoll Warbler, which was only the 8th in the park in spring. They are much more commonly banded in fall. So, I have cheated a bit to include a photo of male Blackpoll that was taken at another station, the E.L. Johnson Nature Center in Oakland County, on a great day we had on May 15 (4 male Blackpolls banded!).
After second-year male Blackpoll Warbler
















And since I'm cheating now, I have to indulge myself a bit to include another bird banded on May 15 at E.L. Johnson, a beautiful male Scarlet Tanager, only the 3rd banded there in 29 years (only 6 have been banded at Lake St. Clair Metropark since 1989).
Second-year male Scarlet Tanager at E.L. Johnson Nature Center















Second-year male Scarlet Tanager at E.L. Johnson Nature Center

















Today's interesting insect came off the Sharp-shinned Hawk. It was a species of fly that is flattened as an adaptation to living among bird feathers, where they drink the blood of the birds, most often at the bases of feathers growing in when they have a blood supply. Often called "flat flies", the correct name is Louse Flies (Hippoboscidae), and this one was bigger (1/2 inch) than others I've seen on sparrows and thrushes.
Louse Fly (Hippoboscidae)
















Interesting birds observed today, but not banded, included a briefly singing Mourning Warbler, and a somewhat late White-throated Sparrow.

Highlights of the 132 birds banded on May 18 included the first (4) Ruby-throated Hummingbirds of the spring. Today's Gray-cheeked Thrush was the first of the spring, while the season's first Tennessee Warbler was unusual because like Blackpolls, they are much more commonly captured in fall.
After second-year male Tennessee Warbler
















Today's Northern Parula, a somewhat dull second-year male, was the 3rd this spring, which is more than normal.
Second-year male Northern Parula















Second-year male Northern Parula
















The first Wilson's Warblers of the spring made a bit splash, with 8 banded today.
After second-year male Wilson's Warbler
















Always rare, especially in spring, was a Connecticut Warbler, which was only the 20th ever banded in the park, and only the 4th in spring.
After second-year male Connecticut Warbler
















After second-year male Connecticut Warbler















After second-year male Connecticut Warbler

















Among the 83 warblers of 12 species, four warbler species dominated the captures today, with  15 Yellow, 20 Magnolia, 18 American Redstarts (first of season!), and 14 Common Yellowthroats.

Undetected in the banding area until today, it was surprising to catch the 3rd Orchard Oriole at this station, and only the 4th ever in the park.
Second-year male Orchard Oriole















Second-year male Orchard Oriole
















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included singing Eastern Wood-Pewee and Eastern Kingbird, flyover Purple Martins, and singing Blackburnian, Blackpoll, and Black-and-white warblers,

I want to thank the following volunteers, without whom banding could not have been conducted on these four days, but who also endured sometimes difficult conditions to get the job done. Thanks to John Bieganowski, Jacob Charlebois, Mike Charlebois, Guadalupe Cummins, Tamika Jaja, Jac Kyle, Dave Lancaster, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Tessa Lau, Michelle Serreyn, and Blanche Wicke.

Detailed Bird Banding Results

May 4, 2018

Time open (E.S.T.):  5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 10:15
Hours Open: 4.5
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:23
Net Hours: 72.25
Temperature (F):  57-72
Cloud Cover: 100-60%
Wind Direction: SE-WSW
Wind Speed (mph): 7-10-15+ (high winds forced early close)
Barometer: 29.75 - 29.69
Precipitation:  Trace rain after close
No. Banded: 169 (plus 14 recaptured, 4 released unbanded)
Species Captured:  30
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 258.8
Banding Assistants (9.25 hours worked): Mike Charlebois, Guadalupe Cummins, Dave Lancaster (8.5 hrs), Blanche Wicke.

Blue Jay - 1
House Wren - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 16
Veery - 1
Hermit Thrush - 3
[American Robin - 2 recaptured]
Gray Catbird - 2 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 2
Yellow Warbler - 17 (plus 4 recaptured)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 12 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Palm Warbler - 8
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 5
Common Yellowthroat - 10
American Tree Sparrow - 1
Field Sparrow - 1
Savannah Sparrow - 1
[Song Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Lincoln's Sparrow - 6
Swamp Sparrow - 16
White-throated Sparrow - 27
White-crowned Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
[Northern Cardinal - 2 recaptured]
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 20 (plus 3 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 1
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Pine Siskin - 1
American Goldfinch - 12 (plus 2 recaptured)
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May 6, 2018

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open: 7.00
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:20
Net Hours: 116.00
Temperature (F): 55-66
Cloud Cover: 100-60-80%
Wind Direction: Calm-SE-NE
Wind Speed (mph): 0-5-7
Barometer: 29.98 - 29.97
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 126 (plus 19 recaptured, 6 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 35
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 130.2
Banding Assistants (9.25 hours worked): Mike Charlebois, Tamika Jaja (7.5 hrs), Jacob Charlebois (4.25 hrs), Michelle Serreyn, Blanche Wicke.

White-eyed Vireo - 1
Warbling Vireo - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Blue Jay - 2
Tree Swallow - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
House Wren - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Winter Wren - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 12
Swainson's Thrush - 1
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 1
European Starling - 1
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 3
Northern Parula - 1
Yellow Warbler - 15 (plus 7 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 20
Black-throated Green Warbler - 1
Palm Warbler - 5
Black-and-white Warbler - 2
Northern Waterthrush - 1
[Common Yellowthroat - 2 recaptured]
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
Indigo Bunting - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 32 (plus 2 recaptured, 4 released unbanded)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 1
American Goldfinch - 6 (plus 1 recaptured)
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May 12, 2018

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:45 (rain delayed open)
Time closed (E.S.T.): 8:45 (rain forced early close)
Hours Open: 2.0
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:13
Net Hours: 23.00
Temperature (F): 43-46
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind Direction: NE
Wind Speed (mph): 7-10-12
Barometer: 30.08 - 30.17
Precipitation:  Rain @ 8:30+
No. Banded: 61 (plus 9 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 23
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 313.0
Banding Assistants (8.0 hours worked): Mike Charlebois, Jac Kyle (6.5 hrs), Blanche Wicke.

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
Northern Flicker - 1
Least Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 1
House Wren - 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 4
American Robin - 1
Gray Catbird - 2
Blue-winged Warbler - 1
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Yellow Warbler - 9 (plus 5 recaptured)
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 8
Palm Warbler - 7 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Blackpoll Warbler - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 2
Canada Warbler - 1
[Song Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Lincoln's Sparrow - 6
Swamp Sparrow - 6
Red-winged Blackbird - 4 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Baltimore Oriole - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
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May 18, 2018

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open: 7.0
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:07
Net Hours: 116.00
Temperature (F): 50-71
Cloud Cover: 40-70%
Wind Direction: NNE
Wind Speed (mph): 7-10
Barometer: 30.20 - 30.17
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 132 (plus 23 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 33
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 136.2
Banding Assistants (9.5 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Mike Charlebois, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Tessa Lau, Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 4
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Least Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
House Wren - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 6
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 1
American Robin - 1
Gray Catbird - 4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 3
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 2
Northern Parula - 1
Yellow Warbler - 15 (plus 10 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 20
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 18
[Northern Waterthrush - 1 recaptured]
Connecticut Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 14
Wilson's Warbler - 8
[Song Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Lincoln's Sparrow - 4
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
Northern Cardinal - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 10 (plus 5 recaptured)
Common Grackle - 2
[Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 recaptured)
Orchard Oriole - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
[American Goldfinch - 1 recaptured]
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