Sunday, August 30, 2009

Metro Beach Banding Report - August 23 & 27, 2009


Every year, right around August 25, southeastern Michigan experiences the first significant push of migrant warblers, usually consisting of the more southerly breeding species of mixed deciduous-coniferous woodland, including Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Blue, Magnolia, Mourning, and Canada Warblers and American Redstarts. More northerly, true "boreal" breeders were represented by Wilson's and Blackburnian Warblers. A total of 67 individual warblers of 14 species was banded on the two days, of which 52 of 14 species were banded on Thursday, August 27. Empidonax flycatchers and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds had their first good influx as well and for the first time since before 2004 we're banding good numbers of Warbling Vireos. Hopefully numbers of the other vireo species will increase as well as they've been significantly depressed for several years. We also continue to catch good numbers of Cedar Waxwings and we may be heading for a record on those.

I have also decided to reconfigure the Field Nets to avoid the Bald-faced Hornet nest that is only 8-feet away from where we originally had one of the nets. A special thanks to Aaron Potts for bringing his gas-powered weed whacker on Thursday which made clearing one more net lane so much easier. And hazardous duty was performed on Sunday by Dave Lancaster, Jerry McHale, and Dave Furi as they helped take down the nets after we'd closed them early due to a rain shower. The mosquitos were awesome, and not in a good way! I was reminded of my trips to the Arctic tundra in Alaska and Churchill, Manitoba. Perhaps volunteers should register their blood types from now on!

Banding highlights on Sunday, August 23 included 11 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, TWO Eastern Wood-Pewees (few are captured here) including an adult female showing a brood patch indicating local breeding.

After hatch-year female Eastern Wood-Pewee
(Photo by Jerry McHale)

A brightly-plumaged male Black-throated Blue Warbler was a welcome sight in the Upland Nets.

Hatch-year male Black-throated Blue Warbler

And an adult male Canada Warbler was also quite nice as typically we capture duller hatch-year birds.

After hatch-year male Canada Warbler

Ten more Cedar Waxwings and four more Baltimore Orioles put us near records for both species. Interesting birds observed but not banded included a Cooper's Hawk briefly in the tree at the center of the Field Nets, several Empidonax flycatchers (some identified by calls, some not), a Great Crested Flycatcher, and single Magnolia and Blackburnian Warblers and one Northern Waterthrush.

Banding highlights on Thursday, August 27 included 9 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, a total of 17 Empidonax flycatchers with 3 Yellow-bellied, 2 Alder, 2 Willow, 5 Least, and 5 "Traill's" Flycatchers. A Veery was the first for the season. A good number of Cedar Waxwings was captured again, this time all juveniles, including more individuals with orange tail tips. One was a leucistic individual with a mostly white crest and patchy whitish feathers mainly on the head and back.

Leucistic hatch-year Cedar Waxwing

Fourteen warbler species made it an excellent day. Two Black-and-white Warblers were the first of the fall season, as was the case with several other warbler species. Both Black-and-whites were caught together in the same net, one a hatch-year male and one a hatch-year female.

Hatch-year male Black-and-white Warbler

An early species, the Blackburnian Warbler sometimes eludes capture in the fall at Metro Beach, but not today as this adult female attests.

After hatch-year female Blackburnian Warbler

Three Mourning Warblers and three Canada Warblers were good numbers for both of these early migrants. The three Yellow Warblers caught today may be the last of this very early migrant. The warbler species with the greatest numbers captured, however, was Wilson's Warbler, many of which were captured in the Field Nets.

Hatch-year female Wilson's Warbler

Interesting birds observed, but not captured included two Least Sandpipers flushing off the pile of dredge at the start of the maintenance road, several Chimney Swifts among the six species of swallows flying overhead, and a single Blue-gray Gnatcatcher that teased, but would not be caught.

Banding on these two days simply could not have been done without the help of dedicated volunteers, including David Furi, Dave Lancaster, Jerry McHale, Aaron Potts, Tom Schlack, and Joan Tisdale.

Banding Data
SUNDAY, August 23, 2009
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:47
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 11:15 (rain forced early closure)
Hours Open: 5.50
No. of Nets: 4.50-12.75
Net Hours: 62.625
Temperature (F): 61-66
Cloud Cover: 50-100%
Wind: NW @ 1-3-10 mph
Barometer: 30.05-30.12
Precipitation: Rain at close
No. Banded: 70 (plus 11 recaptured and 4 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 19
Capture Rate: 135.7 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers: Dave Furi, Dave Lancaster, Jerry McHale

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 11 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 2
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Willow Flycatcher - 1
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1
Least Flycatcher - 2
Warbling Vireo - 2 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Black-capped Chickadee - 3
House Wren - 1
American Robin - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 2
Cedar Waxwing - 10
Yellow Warbler - 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 12 (plus 1 recaptured)
Canada Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 5 (plus 7 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Swamp Sparrow - 6 (plus 1 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 1

THURSDAY, August 27, 2009
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:52
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.50
No. of Nets: 4.50-12.75
Net Hours: 89.250
Temperature (F): 57-64
Cloud Cover: 95-100%
Wind: Calm-ESE @ 0-3-10 mph
Barometer: 30.21-30.20
Precipitation: Trace in P.M.
No. Banded: 115 (plus 15 recaptured and 4 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 30
Capture Rate: 150.1 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers: Dave Lancaster, Aaron Potts, Tom Schlack, Joan Tisdale

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 9 (plus 1 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 3
Alder Flycatcher - 2
Willow Flycatcher - 2
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 5
Least Flycatcher - 5
Warbling Vireo - 2
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
House Wren - 1
Veery - 1
American Robin - 4
Cedar Waxwing - 8
Nashville Warbler - 2
Yellow Warbler - 3
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 5
Magnolia Warbler - 7
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 2
Blackburnian Warbler - 1
Black-and-white Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 2
Ovenbird - 5
Northern Waterthrush - 2
Mourning Warbler - 3
Common Yellowthroat - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 11
Canada Warbler - 4
Song Sparrow - 5 (plus 11 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
Swamp Sparrow - 7
Red-winged Blackbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 1
American Goldfinch - 7


Jochen said...

Dang, Allen, you make it so hard to not be in Michigan right now!
I just went to the cantine to get myself two chocolate bars which I hope will make me feel a bit better.

I have a short question about a mystery bird Carrie of the "Great Auk - or Greatest Auk?" blog has recently seen in NYC (see her latest blog entry):
Could hatch-year male Mourning Warblers show a hint of the adult's black collar now?
Cheers, my friend, and keep those banding reports with tons of warbler and flycatcher pics coming! They are needed desperately on the east side of the Atlantic!

Allen Chartier said...

Jochen, you're not gonna like my nest blog post either :-)
The question about hatch-year Mourning Warblers is interesting. Is Carrie a bander? In-hand, the most conclusive way to sex a known hatch-year (based on skull ossification) is by the presence of often heavily veiled black feathers on the collar.