Monday, May 17, 2010

Metro Beach banding report - May 14 & 15, 2010

After a lot of rain during the week, the banding area on Friday, May 14, had returned to its previous muddy, water-filled splendor as the rain had just stopped just the day before. The miniature landscape of mud, grasses, and water in the photo below shows this can be somewhat beautiful as well as messy!

With the passing of the bad weather, migration seems to have returned to near normal, and the cattails in the marsh and adjacent to the banding area (especially the Field Nets) continue to grow quickly.

Highlights of birds banded on Friday, May 14 included two female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. It seems a little unusual that males were not in evidence today.

Another flycatcher species arrived, with this Willow Flycatcher being captured out at the Field Nets where one was heard singing early in the morning.

It was also a good day for banding Warbling Vireos, with 5 captured today. This is an all-time record for one day at this site.

A surprise near the end of the day, and after a White-tailed Deer ran through a net nearby, was this second-year female Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

Her worn wing and tail feathers are indicative of age, and the lack of black eyebrow and forehead indicates female.

A good number of migrant warblers were around today, but mostly resident Yellow Warblers were captured, and many banded in previous years also recaptured including a female banded as an after hatch-year in spring 2005! One nice first-of-season warbler banded was this second-year male Chestnut-sided Warbler.

Here's a better look at those nice chestnut sides.

A suprise was the seeming early arrival of Wilson's Warblers, and there were a few singing all around in the banding area. Near the end of the day, one was finally captured. The photo below of an adult male, shows the glossy nature of the black cap with is often not apparent in the field.

Another highlight later in the day was this Savannah Sparrow, only the third banded here since 2004 and only the fourth since 1989 (all in spring). The three most recent were all captured in the Field Nets, which are really on the edge of a marsh so somewhat unusual habitat for this species.

The streaked breast without a central breast spot, and the yellow eyebrow, can be seen quite well in the closeup below.

The first Baltimore Orioles of the season were captured today. The hummingbird feeders have been set up at the Field Edge for about a week, and this is where both of them were caught.

Interesting birds observed but not banded included finding the new nest of the Cooper's Hawk pair which apparently failed two weeks ago, possibly due to the cold and rain. Also, two Soras were heard calling from the marsh north of the road, as well as out in the burn. Some in the group saw an Osprey flying overhead carrying a fish. Both Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireos were heard singing overhead, and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet was in the area briefly. Warblers in the area not banded included Magnolia, Yellow-rumped, Black-and-white, Mourning, and Canada, and American Redstart. But the most interesting of all was the female Cerulean Warbler nearly on the ground in a brush pile near the Willow East net, soon flying into shrubbery nearby and vanishing. This is apparenly only the fourth record of Cerulean Warbler observed in the park, and is a personal first.

Second-year female Cerulean Warbler banded at Port Huron SGA in 2008.

Highlights of birds banded on Saturday, May 15 included THREE Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, including two adult males.

An unusual capture was an after hatch-year male White-breasted Nuthatch out in the Field Nets. This species isn't often seen or captured in the swamp-woods/marsh transition where the banding station is located, and this is only the fourth banded here since 2004 and only the sixth since 1989 (and the first ever in spring).

Another unusual capture was an adult female European Starling. These aren't captured very often here, and most stations would release them unbanded but the protocol established by the previous operator of this station was to band them, so I did too.

The first Magnolia Warbler banded this spring was a second-year female.

The second-year Palm Warbler captured near the end of the day seemed somewhat late, and was the first banded this spring.

The seven Lincoln's Sparrows banded today was a single day record. A nice adult Whtie-crowned Sparrow was an unusual capture as they prefer more open, less wet habitats.

Highlights of birds observed but not banded included a somewhat late Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and four new warbler species not found yesterday; Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, and Bay-breasted. An odd and persistent song over right where we park the cars turned out to be a female Yellow Warbler. I was unaware that females of this species sang (it was a lot like a Cape May or Blackpoll), and I'll be doing more research to see how unusual this might be.

I am very grateful to the following volunteers for helping out on these two days: Andrea Charlebois, Mike Charlebois, Jean Gramlich, Amanda Grimm, Jennifer Munson, Tom Schlack, and Judi Wade.

Banding Data
FRIDAY, May 14, 2010
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:12
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:30
Hours Open: 7.50
No. of Nets: 4.25-13.25
Net Hours: 91.125
Temperature (F): 59-72
Cloud Cover: 90-50%
Wind: W-WNW @ 5-7-12 mph
Barometer: 30.12-30.11
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 44 (plus 27 recaptured and 4 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 23
Capture Rate: 82.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10 hours, 6:00-16:00): Jean Gramlich, Jennifer Munson, Tom Schlack, Judi Wade (half day)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2
Willow Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 5
Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 1
Veery - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 1
American Robin - 2
Gray Catbird - 2
Yellow Warbler - 8 (plus 14 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Ovenbird - 2
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 3 (plus 5 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 1
Savannah Sparrow - 1
[Song Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 5 (plus 2 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 3 (plus 1 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[American Goldfinch - 2 recaptured]
SATURDAY, May 15, 2010
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:11
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.25-13.25
Net Hours: 87.813
Temperature (F): 50-63
Cloud Cover: 10-60%
Wind: WNW-NW @ 1-3-10 mph
Barometer: 30.26-30.28
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 49 (plus 24 recaptured and 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 26
Capture Rate: 86.5 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10 hours, 6:00-16:00): Andrea Charlebois, Mike Charlebois, Amanda Grimm.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3
[Downy Woodpecker - 2 recaptured]
Willow Flycatcher - 1
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Veery - 1
American Robin - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
European Starling - 1
Nashville Warbler - 1
Yellow Warbler - 5 (plus 8 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Palm Warbler - 1
Ovenbird - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Northern Waterthrush - 1 released unbanded]
Common Yellowthroat - 6 (plus 5 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 2
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 7
Swamp Sparrow - 2 (plus 1 released unbanded)
White-throated Sparrow - 2
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 2
Common Grackle - 1
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 1 (plus 4 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 1

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