Sunday, May 23, 2010

Metro Beach banding report - May 20, 2010

It seems that it has been a long time coming, but finally on May 20 we had a good day for banding warblers, with 43 individuals of 10 species plus recaptures of one additional species. But it was also a pretty good day for sparrows and thrushes too, and a surprise capture near the end of the day (as well as more net damage by White-tailed Deer). Few spring days have seen more than 100 birds banded, so this was a good day by any measure and the 31 species captured is one of the best ever. It is unfortunate that scheduling issues prevented banding on two days this week.

Highlights of birds banded on Thursday, May 20 included a recaptured Northern Flicker that was originally banded in April 2009, and may be the first recapture of this species at Metro Beach.

After second-year male Northern Flicker

Only the second Marsh Wren ever captured at Metro Beach in spring (and the second THIS spring) was caught in the Field Nets, where the first was also captured...a rare locale for this species in the fall. It seems that this odd situation might be one immediate effect of the burn as Marsh Wren habitat is not yet grown back sufficiently to provide cover, so they're seeking cover near the shrubby area around the Field Nets.

After hatch-year Marsh Wren

Swainson's Thrushes were much in evidence, with several heard singing, and a good number captured. Among the warblers, Magnolia and Common Yellowthroat were the most numerous captures, while a few American Redstarts in the nets under-represented the number that were in the bushes singing. This second-year male can be recognized by the black feathering on its face, not present in females.

Second-year male American Redstart

It was a very good day for Canada Warblers, with a total of six including both males and females.

Second-year female Canada Warbler

Second-year male Canada Warbler

Only the fourth Northern Parula banded in spring at Metro Beach was a delight, as it was also of personal interest being only the second I've personally captured in spring, and the first spring male. It was a second-year bird and had a chestnut breast band but not a gray band.

Second-year male Northern Parula.

The six Lincoln's Sparrows banded today brings the season total to 15, a very good number. Also, two White-crowned Sparrows were nice as they rarely are captured in swamp woods or marsh edges. But the biggest surprise of the day was the first ever Cooper's Hawk banded at this station. It was an adult (after second-year) male, with rufous-banded underparts and blue-gray upperparts and flight feathers, so it was definitely not the male of the breeding pair as that bird was a second-year retaining juvenile plumage. Perhaps a male from a nearby pair sneaking in to feed, or even to attempt to lure the local female into infidelity.

After second-year male Cooper's Hawk

Eye color of juvenile Cooper's Hawks (and Sharp-shinned too) is yellow, and is maroon in older birds. But the rate of change is variable, and some adults may never get a maroon eye, instead having an in-between orange eye like this bird did. So, aging is best accomplished by looking at the molt of the flight feathers.

Interesting birds observed but not banded today included singing Eastern Wood-Pewees, Willow and Great Crested Flycatchers, a rather late Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (maybe they'll nest in the banding area this year), single Wood Thrush and Brown Thrasher, and additional warbler species including Tennessee, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Blackpoll, and Black-and-white.

Many thanks to the volunteers who made banding possible today: John Bieganowski, Amanda Grimm, and Dave Lancaster.

Banding Data
THURSDAY, May 20, 2010
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:06
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 14:00
Hours Open: 8.25
No. of Nets: 4.25-13.25
Net Hours: 102.313
Temperature (F): 55-78
Cloud Cover: 0-20%
Wind: SW-S @ 3-5-7 mph
Barometer: 30.10-30.12
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 104 (plus 21 recaptured and 4 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 31
Capture Rate: 126.1 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.5 hours, 6:00-16:30): John Bieganowski, Amanda Grimm, Dave Lancaster.

[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
[Northern Flicker - 1 recaptured]
Warbling Vireo - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 released unbanded]
House Wren - 2
Marsh Wren - 1
Veery - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 14
American Robin - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 2
European Starling - 1
Northern Parula - 1
[Yellow Warbler - 2 recaptured]
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 2
Magnolia Warbler - 10
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 5
Ovenbird - 3
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 11 (plus 6 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Wilson's Warbler - 2
Canada Warbler - 6
Song Sparrow - 3 (plus 4 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 6
Swamp Sparrow - 7 (plus 2 recaptured)
White-crowned Sparrow - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 8 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 3 (plus 3 recaptured)

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