Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ten Years of Banding - That's a Wrap

As noted in my previous blog entry, I have completed 11 spring and 10 fall banding seasons at Lake St. Clair Metropark, in the Point Rosa Marsh. I will be spending 2015 checking out some possible new locations to resume banding in 2016. In November, a small group of volunteers came out on two different days to help try out one possible new spot, setting up only a few nets where clearing of vegetation was not required. one of those days was the morning of November 9, and a few birds were captured and banded. Of interest was a Downy Woodpecker that was already banded, back in Point Rosa Marsh (0.4 miles SW), in 2012.
After hatch-year male Downy Woodpecker














No Dark-eyed Juncos were banded this fall, but at this new spot we did catch a couple.
After hatch-year male Dark-eyed Junco














And on November 15, five hours of effort in the evening brought us one Eastern Screech-Owl.
Hatch-year Eastern Screech-Owl














So this wraps up the 2014 banding season at Lake St. Clair Metropark. Below is a complete tally of all the birds banded here from 2004-2014, with the spring total first, then the fall total, followed by the overall total. The number in brackets is the total banded here by Ellie Cox from 1989-1999 (this data has not yet been completely confirmed).

==============================
Banding Data - 2004-2014
-----------------------------------------------
No. of Days Open: 180 + 235 = 415
Hours of Effort: 1197 + 1577 = 2774
Net Hours: 12,688 + 17,993 = 30,681
New Birds Banded: 7708 + 17,136 = 24,844 [13,249]
Species Banded: 106/110 = 125 [108]
No. per 100 net hours: 81.1/112.1 = 81.0 [61.3]

Species: S + F = Total [1989-1999]

Green Heron: 0 + 1 = 1 [0]
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 0 + 4 = 4 [2]
Cooper's Hawk: 1 + 0 = 1 [0]
Broad-winged Hawk: 0 + 1 = 1 [0]
Red-tailed Hawk: 0 + 2 = 2 [0]
American Kestrel: 1 + 0 = 1 [0]
Virginia Rail: 1 + 2 = 3 [4]
Sora: 0 + 1 = 1 [0]
[Killdeer: 0 + 0 = 0 [1]]
Solitary Sandpiper: 2 + 0 = 2 [1]
Spotted Sandpiper: 4 + 0 = 4 [0]
Wilson's Snipe: 1 + 1 = 2 [1]
American Woodcock: 3 + 1 = 4 [0]
Mourning Dove: 7 + 12 = 19 [3]
Black-billed Cuckoo: 1 + 0 = 1 [7]
Yellow-billed Cuckoo: 0 + 1 = 1 [1]
Eastern Screech-Owl: 0 + 2 = 2 [0]
[Whip-poor-will: 0 + 0 = 0 [2]]

Ruby-throated Hummingbird: 73 + 805 = 878 [0]
Belted Kingfisher: 0 + 1 = 1 [0]
Red-bellied Woodpecker: 4 + 2 = 6 [0]
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker: 0 + 4 = 4 [6]
Downy Woodpecker: 61 + 79 = 140 [85]
Hairy Woodpecker: 7 + 5 = 12 [4]
Northern Flicker: 19 + 33 = 52 [16]
Olive-sided Flycatcher: 0 + 2 = 2 [2]
Eastern Wood-Pewee: 8 + 41 = 49 [31]
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher: 11 + 29 = 40 [217]
Acadian Flycatcher: 3 + 0 = 3 [9]
Alder Flycatcher: 34 + 16 = 50 [2]
Willow Flycatcher: 24 + 34 = 58 [1]
"Traill's" Flycatcher: 43 + 53 = 96 [70]
Least Flycatcher: 24 + 64 = 88 [109]
Eastern Phoebe: 29 + 24 = 53 [12]
Great Crested Flycatcher: 3 + 4 = 7 [20]
Eastern Kingbird: 3 + 3 = 6 [1]
White-eyed Vireo: 9 + 0 = 9 [7]
Blue-headed Vireo: 1 + 34 = 35 [34]
Warbling Vireo: 42 + 61 = 103 [91]
Philadelphia Vireo: 1 + 12 = 13 [48]
Red-eyed Vireo: 2 + 50 = 52 [132]
Blue Jay: 65 + 43 = 108 [254]
Tree Swallow: 56 + 0 = 56 [2]
Northern Rough-winged Swallow: 107 + 3 = 110 [6]
Barn Swallow: 26 + 2 = 28 [0]
Black-capped Chickadee: 72 + 150 = 222 [154]
Tufted Titmouse: 8 + 21 = 29 [9]
Red-breasted Nuthatch: 0 + 15 = 15 [4]
White-breasted Nuthatch: 2 + 12 = 14 [2]
Brown Creeper: 117 + 180 = 297 [74]
Carolina Wren: 15 + 17 = 32 [10]
House Wren: 76 + 169 = 245 [111]
Winter Wren: 26 + 162 = 188 [97]
[Sedge Wren: 0 + 0 = 0 [1]]
Marsh Wren: 3 + 59 = 62 [105]
Golden-crowned Kinglet: 130 + 658 = 788 [440]
Ruby-crowned Kinglet: 123 + 482 = 605 [642]
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher: 10 + 4 = 14 [19]
Veery: 69 + 19 = 88 [103]
Gray-cheeked Thrush: 15 + 126 = 141 [144]
Swainson's Thrush: 90 + 347 = 437 [636]
Hermit Thrush: 173 + 791 = 964 [415]
Wood Thrush: 12 + 17 = 29 [30]
American Robin: 342 + 249 = 591 [210]
Gray Catbird: 182 + 167 = 349 [394]
Brown Thrasher: 9 + 4 = 13 [14]
European Starling: 53 + 6 = 59 [27]
Cedar Waxwing: 13 + 78 = 91 [85]
Blue-winged Warbler: 7 + 1 = 8 [3]
Golden-winged Warbler: 3 + 0 = 3 [6]
 "Brewster's" Warbler: 1 + 0 = 1 [1]
Tennessee Warbler: 2 + 165 = 167 [92]
Orange-crowned Warbler: 9 + 57 = 66 [17]
Nashville Warbler: 47 + 505 = 552 [131]
Northern Parula: 2 + 13 = 15 [8]
Yellow Warbler: 411 + 224 = 635 [290]
Chestnut-sided Warbler: 32 + 69 = 101 [161]
Magnolia Warbler: 152 + 355 = 507 [1124]
Cape May Warbler: 0 + 7 = 7 [16]
Black-throated Blue Warbler: 18 + 328 = 346 [205]
Yellow-rumped Warbler: 91 + 165 = 256 [277]
Black-throated Green Warbler: 22 + 14 = 36 [24]
Blackburnian Warbler: 6 + 13 = 19 [19]
Prairie Warbler: 1 + 0 = 1 [0]
Palm Warbler: 20 + 61 = 81 [22]
Bay-breasted Warbler: 0 + 51 = 51 [76]
Blackpoll Warbler: 1 + 168 = 169 [134]
Black-and-white Warbler: 35 + 44 = 79 [144]
American Redstart: 53 + 153 = 206 [617]
[Prothonotary Warbler: 0 + 0 = 0 [2]]
Worm-eating Warbler: 1 + 0 = 1 [0]
Ovenbird: 85 + 139 = 224 [161]
Northern Waterthrush: 110 + 82 = 192 [174]
Louisiana Waterthrush: 2 + 0 = 2 [0]
Connecticut Warbler: 0 + 10 = 10 [8]
Mourning Warbler: 32 + 50 = 82 [85]
Common Yellowrthroat: 292 + 646 = 938 [481]
Wilson's Warbler: 99 + 144 = 243 [286]
Canada Warbler: 41 + 51 = 92 [129]
Hooded Warbler: 2 + 1 = 3 [1]
Yellow-breasted Chat: 1 + 2 = 3 [6]
Unknown Warbler hybrid: 1 + 0 = 1 [0]
Scarlet Tanager: 2 + 1 = 3 [3]
Northern Cardinal: 67 + 147 = 214 [120]
Rose-breasted Grosbeak: 5 + 15 = 20 [42]
Indigo Bunting: 9 + 22 = 31 [9]
Eastern Towhee: 5 + 8 = 13 [2]
American Tree Sparrow: 60 + 82 = 142 [2]
Clay-colored Sparrow: 1 + 0 = 1 [0]
Chipping Sparrow: 0 + 3 = 3 [0]
Field Sparrow: 4 + 18 = 22 [4]
Savannah Sparrow: 6 + 2 = 8 [1]
Fox Sparrow: 42 + 83 = 125 [20]
Song Sparrow: 224 + 1626 = 1850 [629]
Lincoln's Sparrow: 131 + 121 = 252 [150]
Swamp Sparrow: 721 + 723 = 1444 [725]
White-throated Sparrow: 629 + 2171 = 2800 [988]
White-crowned Sparrow: 33 + 232 = 265 [39]
Dark-eyed Junco: 9 + 42 = 51 [13]
Red-winged Blackbird: 967 + 240 = 1207 [323]
Rusty Blackbird: 6 + 1 = 7 [6]
Common Grackle: 231 + 7 = 238 [80]
Brown-headed Cowbird: 80 + 5 = 85 [60]
Orchard Oriole: 0 + 1 = 1 [0]
Baltimore Oriole: 113 + 38 = 151 [49]
Purple Finch: 0 + 2 = 2 [1]
House Finch: 10 + 54 = 64 [57]
Pine Siskin: 0 + 24 = 24 [0]
American Goldfinch: 550 + 2785 = 3335 [283]
House Sparrow: 3 + 0 = 3 [5]

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Metro Beach banding station report - the final week

Banding was planned to be conducted on two days in this final week, on Thursday October 30 and on Saturday November 1. But the weather had other ideas, and the session on November 1 was canceled due to high winds present even 2 hours before sunrise, when winds are typically calmest.

Thus concludes my 10th spring and 11th fall season of banding at this locale. This is an identical number of banding seasons conducted between 1989-1999 by my predecessor and mentor, Ellie Cox. I have decided to take a break from banding here, so will not be banding at Lake St. Clair Metropark during 2015. The worsening conditions in the banding area as a result of the successful marsh restoration flooding us out was definitely frustrating and contributed to this decision. Equally frustrating has been the continuing decline in the number of active volunteers coming out to help, leaving a dedicated and much appreciated (and over-worked) core of people without whom I might have thrown in the towel a couple years ago.

My email list for banding at this station will be dissolved, though nobody will be removed from my address book. I have some ideas for restarting a banding program at Lake St. Clair Metropark in 2016, at a different and drier site, and potential volunteers should take the initiative to contact me in January 2016. I will be working on a more extensive comparison between the 1989-1999 and 2004-2014 banding periods, and will post about it here on this blog sometime next year. So, stay tuned!

This season's totals are below the daily highlights.

Highlights of the 18 birds banded on Thursday, October 30 was the fact that we had more than the 10 birds banded last Saturday! Really, though, capturing a Brown Creeper with a band was fairly interesting. Same-season recaptures of this species are not frequent, but when I read the band number I knew it was my first returnee from a different year. This creeper was in fact banded as a hatch-year bird in late fall 2011, making it 4 years old.
4th year Brown Creeper














I seem to recall a bander in northern Ontario, Bruce Murphy, starting to investigate the buff spots on the tips of the primary coverts. I don't remember if it was supposed to be age-related or sex-related, but here is a 4-year old Brown Creeper with quite tiny buff tips there, for what its worth.

A single Golden-crowned Kinglet was welcome in this year of very low numbers of kinglets. They often feed on insects in the goldenrod that is usually quite abundant throughout the banding area. But it seems that the cool temperatures of the summer and early fall resulted in shorter and less dense herbaceous growth, and thus less available foraging habitat for these, and some other migrants (including Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Orange-crowned, and Nashville Warblers). 

It was also nice to catch two more Fox Sparrows today; a species that has been in short supply this fall, along with other migrant sparrows including American Tree, White-throated, White-crowned, and Lincoln's Sparrows. As noted above, the herbaceous growth was sparser this fall than it has ever been. The Swamp Nets did not have to be cleared at all at the beginning of the fall and were rather barren, and caught few birds. Black-throated Blue Warblers favor the Swamp Nets quite heavily, so the total this fall for them was less than half the previous record low. But the sparrows also lost solid ground with leaf litter to forage on, because a large portion of that habitat was under water for the entire fall. The up side to these wet conditions was the first banding of species of wetland associations, like Wilson's Snipe, Green Heron, and Belted Kingfisher, as well as Spotted Sandpipers and Virginia Rails.

Highlights of birds observed but not banded included three flyover Common Goldeneyes and a flyover Snow Bunting (yes, winter is on the way!). Quite unexpected was a Red-eyed Vireo foraging in the treetops near the banding area, one of the latest I've seen in Michigan. A Cattle Egret was an interesting find at the North Marsh in the park, well away from the banding area.

On Saturday, November 1, the wind shut down operations before we got started. Volunteers helped take down feeders and feeder poles, then we went birding. I leave you with one photo that is representative of the wet banding area we're leaving behind. I truly hope the health of this marsh improves, even though it is nearly impossible to conduct bird banding research there any more.
Swamp adjacent to Upland Nets;
the driest part of the banding area
















============================
Banding Data
-------------------------------------
THURSDAY, October 30, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 7:03
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.0-12.0 (fewer nets due to less volunteers)
Net Hours: 80.00
Temperature (F): 43-52
Cloud Cover: 100-10-100%
Wind: NW-S @ 3-5 mph
Barometer:  29.47-29.46
Precipitation: None.
No. Banded: 18 (plus 10 recaptured)
No. of Species: 10
Capture Rate: 35.0 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): John Bieganowski, Blanche Wicke.

[Downy Woodpecker - 3 recaptured]
Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Brown Creeper - 1 recaptured]
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1
Fox Sparrow - 2
Song Sparrow - 2 (plus 4 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 4
Northern Cardinal - 1
American Goldfinch - 3

-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, November 1, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:49
Time Open (E.S.T.): NOT OPENED
Time Closed (E.S.T.): -
Hours Open: NONE
No. of Nets: NONE
Net Hours: NONE
Temperature (F): 34
Cloud Cover: 80%
Wind: N @ 15-20 mph
Barometer: 29.54
Precipitation:  Trace of snow
No. Banded: NONE
No. of Species: NONE
Capture Rate: -
Volunteers (worked 1.0 hours, 5:00-6:00): Dave Lancaster, Ann McKlinsky, Blanche Wicke.

Station not opened, no birds banded.

================================
Fall 2014 New Birds Banded
---------------------------------------------

Effort was high, diversity was good, but numbers were low.

Days Open: 25 (Aug 3 - Oct 30)
Hours Open: 169.50 [3rd highest]
Net Hours: 2099.25 [2nd highest]
No. Banded: 1483 (plus 350 recaptured, 36 released unbanded) [3rd lowest]
No. of Species: 76 [4th highest]
Capture Rate: 89.0 [2nd lowest]

GREEN HERON - 1
VIRGINIA RAIL - 2
WILSON'S SNIPE - 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 59 (low)
BELTED KINGFISHER - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 9
Hairy Woodpecker - 3
Northern Flicker - 10 (high)
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 8 (high)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 3
Alder Flycatcher - 5
Willow Flycatcher - 4
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 12
Least Flycatcher - 6
Eastern Phoebe - 4
Great Crested Flycatcher - 2
EASTERN KINGBIRD - 2
Blue-headed Vireo - 1 (low)
Warbling Vireo - 19 (high)
Red-eyed Vireo - 2 (low)
Blue Jay - 2
Black-capped Chickadee - 19 (high)
Tufted Titmouse - 12 (record high)
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Brown Creeper - 8 (low)
Carolina Wren - 1
House Wren - 2 (low)
Winter Wren - 4 (low)
Marsh Wren - 18 (high)
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 20 (low)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 5 (low)
Veery - NONE
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 8 (low)
Swainson's Thrush - 23 (low)
Hermit Thrush - 59 (low)
Wood Thrush - 2
American Robin - 20
Gray Catbird - 16
Cedar Waxwing - 4
Tennessee Warbler - 19
Orange-crowned Warbler - 4
Nashville Warbler - 30 (low)
Northern Parula - 1
Yellow Warbler - 48 (high)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 2 (low)
Magnolia Warbler - 18 (low)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 8 (record low)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 10
Black-throated Green Warbler - NONE
Blackburnian Warbler - 1
Palm Warbler - 13 (high)
Bay-breasted Warbler - 6
Blackpoll Warbler - 15
Black-and-white Warbler - 2 (low)
American Redstart - 9 (low)
Ovenbird - 6 (low)
Northern Waterthrush - 7 (low)
Mourning Warbler - 3
Common Yellowthroat - 77
Wilson's Warbler - 3 (low)
Canada Warbler - 1 (low)
Northern Cardinal - 9
Indigo Bunting - 2
American Tree Sparrow - 4 (low)
CHIPPING SPARROW - 1
Field Sparrow - 2
Fox Sparrow - 3 (low)
Song Sparrow - 201 (high)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 10 (low)
Swamp Sparrow - 95
White-throated Sparrow - 95 (record low)
White-crowned Sparrow - 5 (low)
Red-winged Blackbird - 55 (high)
RUSTY BLACKBIRD - 1
Common Grackle - 1
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 2 (low)
House Finch - 14 (high)
American Goldfinch - 321

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Metro Beach banding report - October 16-25, 2014

Temperatures were fairly mild during this period, but it was a bit of a challenge getting the standard 6 hours in between rain some days, and wind on other days. Migration has slowed down considerably, and the big push of sparrows expected at this time of year seems not to have materialized, at least in the flooded banding area. But there were some interesting highlights. Banding was conducted on four days during this period, Thursday October 16, Saturday October 18, Thursday October 23, and Saturday October 25.

Highlights of the 33 birds banded on Thursday October 16 included the first Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the season. I would have expected many more of these by now, so this is rather late for the first report.
Hatch-year male Ruby-crowned Kinglet













A late Swainson's Thrush was probably the last one of the season. With low sparrow numbers this fall (except for Song and Swamp), it was nice to capture the first adult White-crowned Sparrow of the season.
After hatch-year White-crowned Sparrow














Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was a Rusty Blackbird caught in the Field Nets. This is only the 13th Rusty banded here since 1989, the 7th since 2004, and the first ever in the fall season.
After hatch-year female Rusty Blackbird













The bird was sexed as female based on its wing chord, not based on any plumage character.
After hatch-year female Rusty Blackbird















After hatch-year female Rusty Blackbird














Banding birds allows us to see in detail some areas of the plumage that are often not easily seen in the field, or overlooked. One of the volunteers today noticed the interesting pattern on this bird's undertail coverts, so here they are...
After hatch-year female Rusty Blackbird














Interesting birds observed but not banded included a flyover Sharp-shinned Hawk, calling Great Horned and Eastern Screech-Owls, a flyover American Pipit, an Orange-crowned Warbler, a very late Northern Waterthrush, and a Fox Sparrow.

Highlights of the 81 birds banded on Saturday, October 18 included the first three Eastern Phoebes of the season. Notice the narrow white outer web on the outer tail feathers.
Hatch-year Eastern Phoebe














Sometimes they can be quite yellow on the underparts.
Hatch-year Eastern Phoebe














The photo below shows what banders (after Pyle) call a "molt limit, with two different ages of secondary coverts evident seen as different colors and different wear in this case.
Hatch-year Eastern Phoebe














Among the three warbler species banded today were 7 Yellow-rumped (the season's peak so far), and this Palm Warbler which was somewhat late.
Hatch-year Palm Warbler














The most interesting warbler of the day was released before a photo was taken (I got distracted answering questions from visitors to the station). It was a Blackpoll Warbler, which was somewhat late. But it was this bird's weight that was of interest. Blackpoll Warblers normally weigh about 11-12 grams without any body fat, but to accomplish their long-distance migrations they can sometimes weigh considerably more. This bird weighed 19.2 grams. Many Blackpolls fly nonstop from the central Atlantic Coast of the U.S., not making landfall until they arrive in Venezuela, so extreme fat loads are needed to accomplish this. Late migrants in the Great Lakes seem to have the highest fat loads, with earlier migrants often having little fat. This suggests to me that the fat deposition changes based on day length more than where the bird is located in its migration.

A Field Sparrow was only the second of the season, which is more than normal here.

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a Fox Sparrow, and a flyover Pine Siskin.

Highlights of the 35 birds banded on Thursday, October 23 included yet another bunch of Hermit Thrushes. Overall, thrush migration this fall has been poor, but this species seems to be in near normal numbers. One individual showed very obvious "fault bars", which are an indication that all the tail feathers were grown simultaneously, which typically only occurs when the bird is in the nest. This bird also had some retained juvenile coverts with small buffy shaft streaks, and its skull was incompletely ossified, so every method of aging it was consistent with a hatch-year.
Hatch-year Hermit Thrush















Fault bars on hatch-year Hermit Thrush














Northern Cardinal almost never makes the photo highlights. One reason is that they are a fairly common breeding species in the banding area, though not too many are banded. Another reason is that they bite...HARD, and holding them for photos is an unpleasant experience. So here is a hatch-year female Northern Cardinal, aged by the presence of dusky coloration on the orange bill. Their bills are almost completely dusky when they leave the nest, and gradually turn bright orange into late fall.
Hatch-year female Northern Cardinal
















Arriving at least a week later than expected was the season's first Fox Sparrow. Note the bicolored bill and arrow-shaped reddish spots on the lower breast and flanks.
Hatch-year Fox Sparrow















And arriving right on time, if not a bit early, were the first American Tree Sparrows, which usually signal the end of the migration. It was unusual to have so many (4) on the first day of their arrival here.
After hatch-year American Tree Sparrow













Interesting birds observed but not banded included somewhat late Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers, and two Dark-eyed Juncos (a species yet to be banded this fall).

Highlights of the 10 (yes 10!) birds banded on Saturday, October 25 included a bird that one volunteer (Sarah) saw in the murky darkness as we set up the Field Nets, but captured on a later net run...a Wilson's Snipe! This is only the 3rd snipe ever banded at this site, the first was in spring 1991 and the second was just this past spring 2014.
Hatch-year female Wilson's Snipe














Hatch-year female Wilson's Snipe














The uniformly rounded and whitish-tipped secondary coverts indicated this was a hatch-year bird. The white outer web on the outermost primary was something I was surprised to see, though it is not useful for aging or sexing. The sex was determined by the measured length and shape of the outer tail feather, and the number of dark bars.
Hatch-year female Wilson's Snipe














The underwing pattern is one character that is useful in distinguishing Wilson's from the now separate species, the Common Snipe of the Old World.
Hatch-year female Wilson's Snipe















The bird was released on the ground, among the abundant leaf litter, where it briefly crouched attempting to become invisible, then it did a brief distraction display, then flew off strongly.
Hatch-year female Wilson's Snipe














An Orange-crowned Warbler was somewhat late, but not the latest we've ever had.
Hatch-year male Orange-crowned Warbler















And a banded American Tree Sparrow was initially presumed to be one of the four banded on October 23, but it turned out that it was banded on November 1, 2012, at this site, providing one of very few between-year returnees here (we don't band here in winter).
After hatch-year American Tree Sparrow














Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included flyover Northern Harrier and Sharp-shinned Hawk, three Bonaparte's Gulls and a single Caspian Tern, also flying over, calling Eastern Screech-Owl and Eastern Phoebe, and a calling Marsh Wren out near the Field Nets.

============================
Banding Data
-------------------------------------
THURSDAY, October 16, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:46
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:30
Hours Open: 7.75
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 99.75
Temperature (F): 54-61
Cloud Cover: 100-20-100%
Wind: NW-W @ 1-3-7 mph
Barometer:  29.10-29.09
Precipitation: Fog in a.m, rain at close.
No. Banded: 33 (plus 10 recaptured)
No. of Species: 15
Capture Rate: 43.1 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.5 hours, 5:00-15:30): John Bieganowski, Ann McKlinsky, Edie Schmitz, Blanche Wicke.

Downy Woodpecker - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Black-capped Chickadee - 2 recaptured]
[Tufted Titmouse - 1 recaptured]
[White-breasted Nuthatch - 1 recaptured]
Brown Creeper - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Hermit Thrush - 10
Song Sparrow - 6 (plus 4 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 6
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
Rusty Blackbird - 1
American Goldfinch - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)

-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, October 18, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:49
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.0
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 91.50
Temperature (F): 46-48
Cloud Cover: 100-90-100%
Wind: NW @ 5-7-12 mph
Barometer: 29.10-29.30
Precipitation:  Trace rain at open
No. Banded: 81 (plus 8 recaptured, 4 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 18
Capture Rate: 101.6 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): Steve Mangas, Tom Schlack (5.0 hrs), Blanche Wicke.

Downy Woodpecker - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Hairy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Eastern Phoebe - 3
Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 2 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Brown Creeper - 3
Winter Wren - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 8 (plus 1 recaptured)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 4
Hermit Thrush - 16 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 7
Palm Warbler - 1
Blackpoll Warbler - 1
Field Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 7 (plus 1 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 14 (plus 1 released unbanded)
White-throated Sparrow - 9 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
American Goldfinch - 3 (plus 1 released unbanded)

-------------------------------------
THURSDAY, October 23, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:54
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
No. of Nets: 4.0-12.0 (less nets because of fewer volunteers)
Net Hours: 76.00
Temperature (F): 39-55
Cloud Cover: 20-5%
Wind: NW @ 5-7-0 mph to SW @ 3-5
Barometer: 29.61-29.56
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 35 (plus 4 recaptured)
No. of Species: 9
Capture Rate: 51.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.0 hours, 5:00-14:00): Dave Lancaster, Blanche Wicke.

Golden-crowned Kinglet - 3
Hermit Thrush - 8
American Tree Sparrow - 4
Fox Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 12 (plus 3 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 1
Northern Cardinal - 1
American Goldfinch - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)

-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, October 25, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:57
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 11:30 (gusty winds and a blizzard of falling leaves forced early close)
Hours Open: 6.00
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 77.50
Temperature (F): 50-63
Cloud Cover: 100-80%
Wind: WSW-W @ 3-5-15 mph
Barometer: 29.23-29.15
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 10 (plus 3 recaptured)
No. of Species: 8
Capture Rate: 16.8 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 8.0 hours, 5:00-13:00): Dave Lancaster, Ann McKlinsky, Sarah Toner, Blanche Wicke.

WILSON'S SNIPE - 1
Brown Creeper - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 3
Hermit Thrush - 1
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
[American Tree Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Song Sparrow - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 1

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Metro Beach banding report - October 2-11, 2014

Cooler and drier conditions prevailed during this two-week period (4 days of banding), allowing the banding area to dry out a bit, though there is still plenty of mud. Warblers are clearly not finished yet, with some surprising and somewhat late captures. And sparrows were increasing, but not building yet to the large numbers expected by this time. Thrushes continued in rather low numbers, while kinglets are late getting started.

Many thanks to the following volunteers for making banding possible on these four days: David Flak, Randy Kling, Dave Lancaster, Steve Mangas, Ann McKlinsky, Jeff Silence, and Blanche Wicke.

Highlights of the 39 birds banded on Thursday, October 2 included the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird captured at this location during October. More interesting was that it had originally been banded here 7 days before, on September 25. And even more interesting, it weighed 2.7 grams when banded, and 5.0 grams today, nearly doubling its body weight in a week!
Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird















The first Wood Thrush of the fall was somewhat late, but a nice capture as typically only one or two are banded each fall.
Hatch-year Wood Thrush















And a rather late, but not the latest, Northern Waterthrush was banded today. Another was observed in the banding area later, lacking any bands, so clearly there were two around.
Hatch-year Northern Waterthrush















Interesting birds observed but not banded included a calling Virginia Rail near the Field Nets, and somewhat late Black-and-white Warbler and American Redstart, and a flyover Pine Siskin.

Highlights of the 33 birds banded on Saturday, October 4 included an interesting adult Black-capped Chickadee.
After hatch-year Black-capped Chickadee














It was interesting because it showed the tail pattern that is shown in the Pyle Guide for adult (after hatch-year) chickadees. The reason this is unusual is that despite my having recaptured many known adult chickadees over the years, almost none actually show this pattern. Notice in the photo below how the white on the outer webs of the tail feathers wraps around the tips to the inside of the feather.
After hatch-year Black-capped Chickadee














Most adult chickadees I've handled have worn tail feathers that are pointy, and white only on the outer webs, like hatch-year birds. I don't know if other banding stations have experienced this.

The first Winter Wrens of the season were captured today.
Hatch-year Winter Wren














And a late Ovenbird was a bit of a surprise, after a season with fewer than normal.
Hatch-year Ovenbird















Interesting birds observed but not banded included a flyover Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Peregrine Falcon perched in a tree on the shoreline feeding on a Blue Jay (thanks Paul!), a calling Sora in the marsh, both species of kinglet, and Tennessee, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, and Blackburnian (very late) Warblers.

Highlights of the 106 birds banded on Thursday, October 9 included the first kinglet of the season, a male Golden-crowned.
Hatch-year male Golden-crowned Kinglet















A single Swainson's Thrush among the many Hermits was somewhat late. The retained buff-spotted juvenile greater secondary coverts clearly indicate this bird is a hatch-year.
Hatch-year Swainson's Thrush














Just about on schedule, the first Yellow-rumped Warblers of the fall were banded today.
Hatch-year female Yellow-rumped Warbler















Not terribly late, but not many are banded in October here, was an American Redstart.
After hatch-year female American Redstart















And yet another Northern Waterthrush was banded today, this one a record late for banding. Another Ovenbird today was also late, but nowhere near the record (Oct 22, 2009).
Hatch-year Northern Waterthrush














An unusual species for us to catch in the marsh is Field Sparrow, and we had one today, which may be the only one we get though last fall we had an amazing 10, which broke the previous record of two!
Hatch-year Field Sparrow














Hatch-year Field Sparrow















An unusual White-throated Sparrow found its way into the nets; it had orange spots in front of the eyes instead of yellow, and the feathers at the bend of the wing which are usually pale yellow were peach-colored.
After hatch-year White-throated Sparrow














After hatch-year White-throated Sparrow















Interesting birds observed included flyover Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks, and a very curious Red-tailed Hawk that perched on a branch only about 10 yards away from where I was banding the birds!
Red-tailed Hawk















In the marsh, Sora and Marsh Wrens were heard and a Wilson's Snipe was seen and heard. Two Great Horned Owls were calling first thing in the morning, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was heard after daybreak. A Fox Sparrow was the first of the season, and there was a flyover Pine Siskin later in the day. Butterflies were seen today, includign a Monarch, Red Admiral, Question Mark, and a nice Mourning Cloak that perched on a tree right next to the banding station. This individual is likely to overwinter in leaf litter and emerge again early next spring.
Mourning Cloak
Highlights of the 52 birds banded on Saturday, October 11 included the very early capture of an Eastern Screech-Owl. As it turns out, it was already banded...last fall as a hatch-year bird. It is interesting that although its facial feathering suggests it is a gray morph, there are quite a few brown feathers on its upper parts.
After hatch-year Eastern Screech-Owl















After hatch-year Eastern Screech-Owl















After hatch-year Eastern Screech-Owl














Three Downy Woodpeckers were captured today, all of them showing an interesting peach-colored stain (?) on their foreheads and throats. Possibly some type of pollen?
Hatch-year male Downy Woodpecker














Typically a later migrant, the first Blue-headed Vireo of the season turned up today as almost the last bird of the day.
Hatch-year Blue-headed Vireo













A bit overdue, but usually banded in small numbers, Orange-crowned Warblers were captured and banded today. In fact, all three were in the Field Edge net on the same net run. There were also at least 3-4 others flying around in the weedy fields near there.
Hatch-year male Orange-crowned Warbler














Note in the photo above that the undertail coverts are the brightest part of this bird, being bright yellow. Also, the face pattern consists of a broken eye ring and a dull darkish eye line. Having three of these birds at once provided us an interesting chance to compare the variations in face patterns, with some birds showing more of a pale eye line than others.
Hatch-year male Orange-crowned Warbler














Hatch-year female Orange-crowned Warbler















Another hatch-year female Orange-crowned Warbler
















Not particularly late for this species, this nice male Black-throated Blue Warbler was only the 8th one this fall. The previous 9-year average is 15. Where are they? Note also the large white wing patch on this individual, which some would use in the field to call it an adult. But this bird clearly had an incompletely ossified skull, confirming it as a hatch-year.
Hatch-year male Black-throated Blue Warbler















Common Yellowthroats have been banded here as late as October 30, but by mid-month they are getting sparse. So, the three today was notable, and brought the season's total to 77, which is a bit above average.
Hatch-year Common Yellowthroat














Interesting birds observed but not banded included a little bit of hawk migration in the form of 3 Sharp-shinned and 2 Cooper's Hawks, a calling Eastern Phoebe, a good number of Golden-crowned and a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a somewhat late American Redstart, the first Eastern Towhee,  Dark-eyed Junco, and Rusty Blackbird of the season. Two Pine Siskins flew over, showing no interest in the thistle feeders, which seem to have been abandoned by the goldfinches too.

============================
Banding Data
-------------------------------------
THURSDAY, October 2, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:30
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 59-70
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind: NNE-ESE @ 3-5-10 mph
Barometer:  29.39-29.35
Precipitation: None. Fog in a.m.
No. Banded: 39 (plus 12 recaptured, 4 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 16
Capture Rate: 59.8 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.0 hours, 5:00-14:00): Randy Kling, Dave Lancaster, Blanche Wicke.

[Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1 recaptured]
[Tufted Titmouse - 1 recaptured]
Swainson's Thrush - 3
Wood Thrush - 1
Gray Catbird - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 5
Nashville Warbler - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Song Sparrow - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2
Swamp Sparrow - 2 (plus 4 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 12 (plus 3 released unbanded)
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
[Northern Cardinal - 2 recaptured]
American Goldfinch - 6 (plus 3 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)

-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, October 4, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:33
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00 (rain delayed full opening)
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:30 (rain & wind forced early close)
Hours Open: 6.5
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 71.00
Temperature (F): 46-48
Cloud Cover: 100-95-100%
Wind: WSW @ 5-7-15 mph
Barometer: 29.98-29.03
Precipitation:  Rain in a.m.
No. Banded: 33 (plus 16 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 17
Capture Rate: 70.4 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Ann McKlinsky, Jeff Silence (7.0 hrs), Blanche Wicke.

Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Winter Wren - 2
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Wood Thrush - 1
Nashville Warbler - 2
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
Palm Warbler - 2
Ovenbird - 1
[Northern Waterthrush - 1 recaptured]
Common Yellowthroat - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 8 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 2
White-throated Sparrow - 3
White-crowned Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 4 (plus 7 recaptured)

-------------------------------------
THURSDAY, October 9, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:38
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:15
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.0
No. of Nets: 6.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 45-61
Cloud Cover: 50-20-50%
Wind: WSW-W @ 3-5-7 mph
Barometer: 29.36-29.43
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 106 (plus 13 recaptured)
No. of Species: 25
Capture Rate: 129.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.5 hours, 5:00-15:30): David Flak (9.5 hrs), Steve Mangas, Blanche Wicke.

Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Tufted Titmouse - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Brown Creeper - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Hermit Thrush - 17
Gray Catbird - 2
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 3
Palm Warbler - 7 (record day)
American Redstart - 1
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 2
Field Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 9 (plus 3 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 38 (plus 2 recaptured)
[White-crowned Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Northern Cardinal - 1
Indigo Bunting - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 1
American Goldfinch - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)

-------------------------------------
SATURDAY, October 11, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:40
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 6.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 39-59
Cloud Cover: 20%
Wind: NNW @ 5-7 mph
Barometer: 29.53-29.59
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 52 (plus 11 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 21
Capture Rate: 70.7 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): Steve Mangas, Ann McKlinsky, Blanche Wicke.

[Eastern Screech-Owl - 1 recaptured]
Downy Woodpecker - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Blue-headed Vireo - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 2
Tufted Titmouse - 5
Brown Creeper - 1
Winter Wren - 1
Hermit Thrush - 6 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 3
Nashville Warbler - 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 2
Palm Warbler - 2
[Ovenbird - 1 recaptured]
Common Yellowthroat - 3
Song Sparrow - 6 (plus 5 recaptured)
[Lincoln's Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 4 (plus 1 released unbanded)
White-throated Sparrow - 9
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 1
American Goldfinch - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)