THE WARBLERS HAVE ARRIVED!
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.
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.
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
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
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