Monday, May 10, 2010

Metro Beach banding report - May 7 & 8, 2010

The closer it got to the weekend, the more apparent it was that banding on Friday, May 7 and Saturday, May 8 would be a challenge. And indeed it was, but with surprising results. On Friday we set up the first three nets, and almost immediately had to close them due to a rain shower starting. Hoping it would be temporary, we set up two more nets and furled them closed, then went to the Upland area to set up those four nets. The rain had stopped, so I re-opened the Field, Field Edge and one Willow net. Then we set up the Swamp Nets and did the first net run. We got a few birds, banded them, and just when we set out for the second net run it started to rain lightly. I took birds out, and the volunteers furled the nets closed behind me. In the 1.5 hours that all the nets were open, a total of 55 new birds and 13 recaptures had been caught! These were banded under the shelter of the hatchback of my car, and a couple umbrellas. We waited for 4 hours more but the rain increased instead of diminished. No wonder the cattails that were 3-inches tall just last week in the burn were now 18-24 inches tall today. We took all the nets down in the rain. The word of the day: Yuck!

Saturday at least didn't have rain in the forecast, but there was a high wind advisory. We got the Field and Field Edge nets open, but a loop broke on the Willow Net so we continued on to the Upland Nets and set them up. At that point, it started to rain, so we furled them all closed for an hour, and replaced the Willow Net with one backup net that I had. Once the rain stopped, it was obvious that all the nets we'd set up so far weren't safe to open due to the wind. But in the Swamp area, there was much less wind due to the sheltering trees, so we set those three up, and moved the other Willow net to the roadside as there were lots of swallows foraging around low to the road. This strategy rarely works, as swallows are very good at avoiding nets. But this time, we had an initial catch of 5 swallows in the roadside net. Then, on the very next net run, there were 79 swallows of three species in these four nets! I quickly worked to get them out (swallows don't tangle much so come out easily) and we closed the nets after maybe a little over an hour's effort. The word of the day: Weird!

Highlights of birds banded on Friday, May 7 included single Veery and Swainson's Thrushes which were firsts for the season, and a single Hermit Thrush rounding out a trio of thrushes captured today. A single Brown Thrasher which is a species we don't catch here every year, was nice to see.

There were lots of warblers in the bushes, frolicking in the rain, which was somewhat frustrating as for most of the day it wasn't safe to have nets open. But, during the brief dry spell, we did manage to catch 8 species of warbler including Nashville, several Yellows, a nice pair of male Black-throated Blues, a small flock of Yellow-rumpeds, single Black-and-white and Ovenbird, two Northern Waterthrushes, and a few Common Yellowthroats.

Black-and-white Warbler, After hatch-year female

Black-throated Blue Warbler, After hatch-year male

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Second-year female

Nashville Warbler, After hatch-year female

Ovenbird, After hatch-year

Probably the most unusual catch of the day was on the very first net run, the station's 4th Field Sparrow out in the Field Nets (appropriately, though it is really a marsh-edge).

Interesting birds observed today but not banded included a Solitary Sandpiper in a puddle between the Field and Field Edge nets, good numbers of Chimney Swifts and swallows, an Eastern Kingbird flying over, a Wood Thrush calling from near the Upland nets, two Northern Parulas, two Chestnut-sided Warblers, and single Magnolia, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, and Palm Warblers, and two American Redstarts. Non-warblers included single Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breeasted Grosbeak, and Indigo Bunting, and several Baltimore Orioles.

Highlights of birds banded on Saturday, May 8 were hard to come by, as only 5 species was captured. But the story of the day had to be the swallows. There were hundreds of them in the banding area, including foraging low over the road, even perching on the roadside picking bugs out of the vegetation. It wasn't particularly cold (48-50 degrees), but the high winds apparently were keeping insects low to the ground. Other than a single Yellow Warbler and a single Common Yellowthroat, and two recaptured Yellows, all birds captured today were of three swallow species. Though not the most numerous species observed, Northern Rough-winged Swallows found their way into the nets more than the other species.

Next most frequently captured, but more numerous overall in the swirling flocks, was the Barn Swallow.

Tree Swallows were numerous too, but apparently were most adept at avoiding the nets as these were captured in the lowest number.

Interesting birds observed today but not banded included Purple Martin and Cliff Swallow, single Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and multiples of several warbler species including Nashville, Chesnut-sided, Mangnolia, Black-throated Blue, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, Black-and-white Warblers, and American Redstart, Ovenbird, and Northern Waterthrush. Sparrows were not much in evidence, but there were a couple Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and a few Baltimore Orioles.

Many thanks to the following volunteers, who worked in difficult conditions on both days, and put in a real team effort to get the job done: Mary Buchowski, Andrea Charlebois, Chris Charlebois, Jacob Charlebois, Jennifer Munson, Aaron Potts, Tom Schlack, and Judi Wade.

Banding Data
FRIDAY, May 7, 2010
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:20
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:15
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 8:30
Hours Open: 2.25
No. of Nets: 4.25-13.25
Net Hours: 25.063
Temperature (F): 50-52
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind: NE-E @ 5-7-15 mph
Barometer: 30.08-29.86
Precipitation: Rain from 8:30-13:00
No. Banded: 55 (plus 13 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 23
Capture Rate: 275.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 8 hours, 6:00-2:00):  Jennifer Munson, Aaron Potts, Tom Schlack, Judi Wade

Warbling Vireo - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Tree Swallow - 1 recaptured]
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
Veery - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Hermit Thrush - 1
American Robin - 4
Gray Catbird - 3
Brown Thrasher - 1
Nashville Warbler - 1
Yellow Warbler - 7 (plus 5 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 5
Black-and-white Warbler - 1
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 4 (plus 2 recaptured)
Field Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 9 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 8
Red-winged Blackbird - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 recaptured]
[Baltimore Oriole - 1 recaptured]

SATURDAY, May 8, 2010
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:19
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 9:00 (closed early due to wind)
Hours Open: 2.25 (closed 6:30-7:30 during rain)
No. of Nets: 3.25-6.25 (too windy at most locales)
Net Hours: 10.688
Temperature (F): 50-48
Cloud Cover: 90-100%
Wind: NW @ 10-12-20+ mph
Barometer: 29.59-29.73
Precipitation: Light rain from 6:30-7:30
No. Banded: 86 (plus 2 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 7
Capture Rate: 842.1 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 7.5 hours, 6:00-1:30): Mary Buchowski, Andrea Charlebois, Chris Charlebois, Jacob Charlebois

[Downy Woodpecker - 1 released unbanded]
Tree Swallow - 12
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 53
Barn Swallow - 19
[American Robin - 1 released unbanded]
Yellow Warbler - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat - 1

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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