The first full week of the banding season resulted in only one day of banding, one day short of the hoped for protocol to allow comparisons with previous years' data. Hopefully, as the fall wears on, the heat and humidity will let up, and summer vacations of volunteers will be over, and we can get back to banding two days a week.
And it was hot and humid on the day we banded, Saturday August 14. Highlights included the first two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds of the season.
The hatch-year male above is showing two red gorget feathers. Contrary to popular belief, male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds do not gradually grow in more and more red throat feathers as they age. But instead, follow a molt schedule like all other birds. Some immature males have a few scattered red throat feathers in late summer or early fall, but the full red gorget is not grown in until they are ready to migrate northward from their Central American breeding grounds.
The first migrants of the fall were also banded today, including this nice hatch-year female Canada Warbler.
And later in the day, we caught a hatch-year Northern Waterthrush, which was very uncooperative for his portrait session.
Other than these highlights, mainly breeding residents were banded, including hatch-year individuals of American Robin, Common Yellowthroat, American Goldfinch, and Song Sparrow. The first Empidonax flycatcher of the season was banded, which keyed out as an Alder Flycatcher. The last Empid banded in early June also keyed out as Alder, which suggests the species may have bred in the area this summer. Of course, a recaptured Alder in breeding condition a couple years ago provided evidence the species does nest here, but it is not detected every year and Willow Flycatchers are probably more regular.
The recaptured adult male Common Yellowthroat turned out to be fairly interesting. Upon returning home and checking the database, it turned out that he'd been banded in May 2009 here at Metro Beach, but my notes indicated that I had a photo of him (below) taken because he had a tumor-like growth on his chin. Although no photo was taken of him this time (he was molting quite heavily), he clearly did not have that growth any more.
Interesting birds observed but not banded were few and far between. The flock of Cedar Waxwings perching in the lone dead ash tree at the center of the Field Nets never took the plunge, while Eastern Wood-Pewees and Great Crested Flycatchers called from the treetops, seeming to state emphatically that they will not be caught...at least not yet.
The overcast conditions later in the day were not very conducive to dragonfly activity, but nonetheless a few Lance-tipped Darners were active, including one unfortunate individual that got caught in the Upland Nets.
Many thanks to Mary Buchowski and Kathy McDonald for helping today. Banding could not have been done without you!
SATURDAY, August 14, 2010
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:38
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:00 (closed early due to oppressive combination of heat and humidity)
Hours Open: 6.0
No. of Nets: 4.25-13.25
Net Hours: 71.875
Temperature (F): 76-84
Cloud Cover: 20-100%
Wind: SE-SW @ 5-12-5 mph
No. Banded: 20 (plus 2 recaptures and 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 9
Capture Rate: 33.4 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.0 hours, 6:00-15:00): Mary Buchowski, Kathy McDonald.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Alder Flycatcher - 1
American Robin - 4
Yellow Warbler - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Canada Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 3 (plus 1 released unbanded)