After White-tailed Deer put holes in THREE nets last week, I had my work cut out for me to reconfigure what I had on-hand to keep the setup as consistent as possible for the remainder of the fall banding season. Not only is it destructive and expensive to have deer destroy nets (and kill birds), but constantly having to change the net configuration reduces the statistical validity of the data. I succeeded in rearranging the Field Nets to all be 3-shelf nets instead of 4-shelf, and replaced the destroyed 9-meter net in the Upland Nets with a 12-meter net, while the two remaining Upland Nets were kept in place with the holes being about a foot or so in diameter, hoping that this won't become a problem.
Revisiting last weeks posting for a moment, the male Rose-breasted Grosbeak photo posted there apparently shows a hatch-year bird, not a second-year bird. The molt in the greater secondary coverts can vary between individuals, but the overall brownish coloration on the primaries and secondaries clearly point toward hatch-year. At the time, I didn't intend to discuss molt in this species so I did not post a useful and informative photo of the spread wing from above, which I've posted here below.
Hatch-year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak banded 30 September 2009
This week started with an excellent day on Sunday, October 4, and a much slower day on Thursday, October 8 (postponed from October 7 due to high winds and rain). It was clear that both species of Kinglet had come in strong since last week. Check the numbers banded on Sunday. Numbers of White-throated Sparrow, Hermit Thrush, and Winter Wren were good on Sunday but on Thursday these species were scarce, so apparently we're between "waves" as there are clearly more being reported north of us. On both days, American Robins were a surprise as mostly we band these in early August.
Hatch-year American Robin
I don't often post about recaptures, as it takes me a while to look them all up and many are birds banded only a few days prior, but this week we recaptured a Black-capped Chickadee on Sunday that was banded originally as a hatch-year, sex unknown, in October 2005 and recaptured in spring of 2008 when it was determined to be a male. This chickadee is now a 5th-year male. And on Thursday we recaptured a female Northern Cardinal that was banded as an after hatch-year bird in April 2005 and not recaptured again until this year. She is now an after 5th-year female.
Banding highlights from Sunday, October 4 included a surprisingly late Eastern Wood-Pewee, and was our 5th for the season (sometimes we don't catch any).
Hatch-year Eastern Wood-Pewee
There is sometimes a lot of discussion on-line about identifying vagrant Western Wood-Pewees in the East. One of the field marks (but not the only one of course) often pointed to is the amount of orange on the base of the lower mandible. Western Wood-Pewee is supposed to show very little orange here while Eastern is supposed to show more. In my experience, which as noted does not include banding this species every fall, is that there can be individual hatch-year Eastern Wood-Pewees with a very limited amount of orange at the base of the lower mandible. That was the case with this individual today, and a photo of the bill from the underside is posted below.
Hatch-year Eastern Wood-Pewee
Another surprise, since it does not seem to be an irruption year for the species, was a Red-breasted Nuthatch found in the bottom panel of one of the Swamp Nets.
Hatch-year female Red-breasted Nuthatch
It was a good day to compare thrushes as Gray-cheeked, Swainson's, and Hermit were all captured today, though in small numbers. The photo below is a good comparison between Swainson's and Gray-cheeked fortuitously captured at the same time.
Hatch year Swainson's (left) and Gray-cheeked Thrushes
In addition to the first big push of kinglets of the fall, it was also a good day for warblers, with 17 individuals of 7 species banded. Orange-crowned Warbler is always nice to catch, and we had two of them, and a single Chestnut-sided Warbler was somewhat late. One of the nicest was this handsome Black-throated Green Warbler, one of two banded today.
Hatch-year male Black-throated Green Warbler
Sparrows continued with a strong showing with 4 species, and good numbers of White-throated continuing. The first good number of American Goldfinches since the thistle feeders were put up near the Field Nets was captured today as well.
Interesting birds observed but not banded today included a begging young Great Horned Owl again, a Tufted Titmouse (infrequent in the banding area, but regular near the Nature Center), a Marsh Wren singing from the dying Phragmites that were sprayed two weeks ago, two Palm Warblers, and single American Redstart and Northern Waterthrush. A single 'peek' note heard indicated that a Rose-breasted Grosbeak was still in the area.
Banding highlights from Thursday, October 8 included a somewhat late Marsh Wren, the 5th one of the fall, though all the previous individuals banded were in heavy molt and not as photogenic as this young bird, which has completed its first prebasic molt.
Hatch-year Marsh Wren
The number of kinglets, thrushes, sparrows, and warblers were all significantly decreased from earlier in the week, so 5 American Robins, 2 Nashville Warblers, and a Lincoln's Sparrow were notable.
Interesting birds observed but not banded included perhaps two begging Great Horned Owls this time, in the dark while we were setting up, at least two Tufted Titmice, a couple Yellow-rumped Warblers and a single Common Yellowthroat.
Banding this week could not have been done without the help of several very helpful and enthusiastic volunteers. With the help of first-timers Bob and Tenchi Wayner, Rick and Diana Langlois, and "banding assistant extraordinaire" Terri Chapdelaine, we were able to take down the nets and poles in a record 50-minutes! Thanks also to Chris Charlebois, Dave Lancaster, and Tom Schlack for being flexible in their schedule allowing us to shift from windy, rainy Wednesday to a less-windy Thursday.
SUNDAY, October 4, 2009
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:32
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 4.75-13.25
Net Hours: 86.250
Temperature (F): 51-57
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind: SW @ 5-7-10 mph
No. Banded: 125 (plus 30 recaptured)
No. of Species: 26
Capture Rate: 179.7 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers: Terri Chapdelaine, Diana Langlois, Rick Langlois, Bob Wayner, Tenchi Wayner
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1
Blue-headed Vireo - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 2 recaptured]
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Brown Creeper - 1
House Wren - 2
Winter Wren - 5
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 25
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 14
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Hermit Thrush - 2 (plus 5 recaptured)
American Robin - 6
Orange-crowned Warbler - 2
Nashville Warbler - 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 5
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Black-throated Green Warbler - 2
Blackpoll Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 7 (plus 8 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 3 (plus 3 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 22 (plus 7 recaptured)
White-crowned Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 11
THURSDAY, October 8, 2009
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:36
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
No. of Nets: 4.75-13.25
Net Hours: 82.938
Temperature (F): 43-59
Cloud Cover: 10-100%
Wind: SSW @ 5-7-10 mph
No. Banded: 26 (plus 12 recaptured)
No. of Species: 14
Capture Rate: 45.8 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers: Chris Charlebois, Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
Brown Creeper - 1
[House Wren - 1 recaptured]
Marsh Wren - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 2
Hermit Thrush - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
American Robin - 5
Nashville Warbler - 2
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 5 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 7 (plus 2 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 1