Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Metro Beach Banding - April 24-25, 2009

The warm spell from last week not only continued this week, but intensified, with the high temperatures on both Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25 coming close to breaking records. With the warmth, there was also wind, not too bad on Friday but preventing setup of the Field Nets on Saturday since they're completely exposed to southwest winds. While we ended up closing the station before the rain started on Saturday, we only got about half of them down before the rain (and a little thunder) started. We were quickly soaked, but continued to take the station down. Extra thanks to Dave, Renee, and Cathy for enduring the additional discomfort.

A total of 93 new birds, 46 on Friday and 47 on Saturday, was banded continuing the good results experienced this spring.

On Friday, April 24, banding highlights included an adult female Eastern Towhee, a species not often banded here. Getting a photo showing her bright red eyes turned out to be difficult as she kept "blinking" with her nictating membrane every time I clicked the shutter.

Another highlight was the first, and unusually early, Northern Waterthrush of the season. One had been heard calling in the shrub-swamp near the road earlier, so there may have been two different individuals present.

Another highlight was a Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker. The bird of the day was again Red-winged Blackbird and this season is on track to beat last spring's record of 92 (70 so far this year). The 7 White-throated Sparrows banded today represented the first influx of this species of the spring. Highlights of birds observed but not banded included a Sora calling in the shrub-swamp, Purple Martins overhead, late(ish) Golden-crowned Kinglets, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, two Yellow Warblers heard singing distantly away from the road, and a Field Sparrow heard singing in the marsh before sunrise.
On Saturday, April 25, banding highlights included the first Blue-headed Vireo, House Wren, and Yellow Warbler of the season, and a record late Brown Creeper. As with last week, the number of Red-winged Blackbirds banded decreased as the birds apparently figure out the net setup on consecutive days. The bird of the day today was clearly White-throated Sparrow, with 26 banded. Highlights of birds observed but not banded included a female Blue-winged Teal grunting from the shrub-swamp near the cars, a Chimney Swift overhead, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker that called just a couple times, at least 3 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers, at least 2 Northern Waterthrushes, and 1 Louisiana Waterthrush that burst into song after the thunderstorms stopped just as we finished taking the nets down.

Many thanks to the volunteer assistants who made banding on these two days possible: John Bieganowski, Nick Dicresce, Dave Furi, Renee Render, Cathy Thiesen, and Marilynn Thomas.
Banding Data:
FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2009
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:38 a.m.
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 5.00-13.25
Net Hours: 86.375
Temperature (F): 48-81
Sky: 50% cloud cover
Wind: ESE-SE @ 7-10-15 mph
Barometer: 30.02 - 29.93
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 46 (plus 6 recaptured and 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 14
Capture Rate: 63.7 birds per 100 net hours
Assistants: John Bieganowski (a.m. only), Nick Dicresce, Cathy Thiesen, Marilyn Thomas
Northern Flicker - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 2 recaptured]
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1
Hermit Thrush - 4
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Eastern Towhee - 1
Song Sparrow - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
White-throated Sparrow - 7
Red-winged Blackbird - 17 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 2
Brown-headed Cowbird - 2
American Goldfinch - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)

Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:36 a.m.
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 3.75-10.75
Net Hours: 70.500
Temperature (F): 69-81
Sky: 50-90% cloud cover
Wind: SW @ 10-15-20 mph
Barometer: 30.03 - 30.03
Precipitation: None (brief thunderstorm during takedown)
No. Banded: 47 (plus 7 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 12
Capture Rate: 78.0 birds per 100 net hours
Assistants: Dave Furi, Renee Render, Cathy Thiesen
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Blue-headed Vireo - 1
Brown Creeper - 1 (record late)
House Wren - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1
Hermit Thrush - 4
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Yellow Warbler - 1
[Song Sparrow - 2 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 5
White-throated Sparrow - 26 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Red-winged Blackbird - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 1 (plus 3 recaptured)

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