September banding ended with an extraordinary surge of migrants, with the daily total of 179 banded on Wednesday, September 29, being the third highest here since the project began in 1989. In contrast, October began with a whimper, as we were rained out on our first attempted banding day of the month, Saturday, October 2. Despite the rain, we did get the hummingbird feeders and thistle feeders cleaned and refilled, and tagged a couple more Glossy Buckthorn trees to be removed after the banding season ends this fall.
Banding highlights of Wednesday, September 29 included what may be the last two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds of the fall here. Both were hatch-year males carrying considerable fat, weighing 3.6 and 4.2 grams each. Typical "non-fat" weight would be about 3.0 grams.
Among the 8 species of warbler banded today was a somewhat overdue first Orange-crowned Warbler of the season.
A good number of Black-throated Blue Warblers was banded today and the species is close to tying the record season total of 50 set in 2008. Among those captured today was an unusually-plumaged hatch-year male. In most warblers, immatures resemble females until they attain breeding plumage the following spring. Black-throated Blue is an exception, and immature males closely resemble adult males, with typical differences including some white mottling on the throat, and greenish instead of blue edging on the alula in the immature males. Both of these features are visible on the bird in the photo below, but also note that it seems to have some female-like characteristics including a white line over the eye, a white arc below the eye, and yellow-tinted underparts.
Sparrows continued to move into the banding area in greater numbers. The 13 Swamp Sparrows banded today more than doubled the total for the season so far, which is concerning because well over 100 had been banded by this date last year. White-crowned Sparrows are infrequently caught in the banding area as they prefer more open areas instead of the tangly, swampy habitats prevalent here. So, the first three of the season were nice to see, including one adult (top photo) and two hatch-years (bottom).
The biggest surprise of the day came early, when Chris brought back a hawk in a large bird bag! It was a hatch-year female Sharp-shinned Hawk, which is only the third since 2004, and only the fifth since 1989, all in fall.
Interesting birds observed but not banded today included Cooper's and Red-tailed Hawks, a flyover Belted Kingfisher, a begging juvenile Great Horned Owl heard before dawn, and a calling Wood Thrush (we haven't caught one yet this fall).
Many thanks to the following volunteers, without whom banding would not be possible: Andrea Charlebois, Mike Charlebois, Chris Goulart, Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack, and Judi Wade.
WEDNESDAY, September 29, 2010
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:26
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: 101.813
Temperature (F): 50-70
Cloud Cover: 10%
Wind: Calm-SE @ 0-3-7 mph
Precipitation: None (a.m. fog)
No. Banded: 179 (plus 11 recaptures and 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 25
Capture Rate: 189.6 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.5 hours, 6:00-16:30): Chris Goulart, Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack, Judi Wade (1 hour only).
Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
Brown Creeper - 4
House Wren - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Winter Wren - 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 17
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 3
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Hermit Thrush - 5
Gray Catbird - 1
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 7
Magnolia Warbler - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 11 (plus 2 recaptured)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 9
Palm Warbler - 2
Blackpoll Warbler - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 8 (plus 3 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 13
White-throated Sparrow - 45 (plus 1 released unbanded)
White-crowned Sparrow - 3
American Goldfinch - 32 (plus 2 released unbanded)
SATURDAY, October 2, 2010
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:30
Time Open (E.S.T.): NOT OPENED
Time Closed (E.S.T.): -
Hours Open: -
No. of Nets: 0.00
Net Hours: -
Temperature (F): 50
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind: NE @ 7-12 mph
Precipitation: Rain all day
No. Banded: 0
No. of Species: 0
Capture Rate: 0.0 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 3.0 hours, 6:00-9:00): Andrea Charlebois, Mike Charlebois.
NO BIRDS BANDED TODAY.
Lots of birds were in the banding area, including dozens of White-throated Sparrows and Golden-crowned Kinglets. A Merlin flew over the road briefly in the rain. At least one Winter Wren was heard singing.