Sunday, August 28, 2011

Metro Beach banding report - August 21 & 26, 2011

As expected, songbird migration began in earnest this week, though there were fewer birds on the 21st than on the 26th. The 21st had some rain mid-morning, requiring the nets to be closed for an hour with thunderstorms moving in while we took the nets down. Weather on the 26th was ideal.

Highlights of birds banded on Sunday, August 21 included four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds plus one recaptured that was originally banded on August 10.

Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Some flycatchers were present and captured, including two Willow Flycatchers that appeared to have recently fledged. But the surprise was the Least Flycatcher which was an adult female with the remnants of a brood patch, suggesting that the species nested in the park though none were detected over the summer except in early June one was found along the nature trail.

After hatch-year female Least Flycatcher

Two Willow Flycatchers that appeared to be recently fledged, with short tails and giving raspy begging calls in the hand, were banded today.

Hatch-year Willow Flycatcher

An unusually early migrant, as they do not nest in the park, was a Rose-breasted Grosbeak caught out in the Field Nets (a second grosbeak right next to this one escaped before it could be extracted from the nets). This species is not captured often at this station, so they're always a treat to see up close.

Second-year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

As can be seen in the photo above, this bird was still heavily molting. Male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks molt into a duller, female-like winter plumage, which is why its head and back looks like a female. But it was clearly a male because it had a fair amount of red on its breast (and pink on the under-wing coverts).

Second-year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Determining this bird's age required a closer look at the flight feathers to assess its molt. The presence of a very worn, dull brown inner secondary that was a remaining juvenile feather was a good indication he was in his second-year.

Second-year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a flyover Cooper's Hawk, a Great Crested Flycatcher out near the field nets (seen when we were closing them to wait out the rain), and a couple Tennessee Warblers.

Highlights of birds banded on Friday, August 26 included 14 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, the best day so far this fall. As is typical, most were hatch-year birds. Metro Beach probably hosts a couple breeding female hummingbirds, but in spring less than 10 are typically banded and they are not often seen during summer. In fall, between 50-90 have been banded in previous years, with the unusual age composition of approximately 90% hatch-years. As can be seen in the inset in the photo below, hatch-year birds show "corrugations" on the bill which look like small grooves; the bill smooths out by winter and no corrugations (or very few) are present on adults.

Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird showing corrugations on bill (inset)

It was a great day for banding flycatchers. A nice surprise out in the Field Nets was only the second Olive-sided Flycatcher to be banded since 2004, and only the 4th ever, since 1989.

After hatch-year Olive-sided Flycatcher

That this is a long-distance Neotropical migrant, wintering in southern portions of the Amazon basin, can be seen by its long, pointed wings which are somewhat different from most of our flycatchers.

After hatch-year Olive-sided Flycatcher

It was also a good day for Empidonax flycatchers, among my favorite birds to band. Among the 7 individuals captured today was one Least, 3 Willows (including 2 recaptures of recently fledged young banded recently), and 3 Alders. Often, even after taking extensive measurements, some of these Willow/Alder Flycatchers ("Traill's"), they cannot be keyed out to species. Today, all of them keyed out, and the one in the photo below is an Alder Flycatcher based on those measurements. On-site, I had guessed that it was an Alder based on its brighter coloration and more complete, though narrow, eye ring among other characters. This probably only proves that I'm a good guesser, not that I can tell them apart without measuring them! Alders probably did not nest in the park this year, so this one was almost certainly a migrant.

Hatch-year Alder Flycatcher

Another large flycatcher, banded only occasionally here, dropped into the nets; a Great Crested Flycatcher.

After hatch-year Great Crested Flycatcher

Over the past two years, removal of invasive Autumn Olive from the banding area has been one habitat maintenance priority. In 2009, these trees provided berries for many Cedar Waxwings caught that year out in the Field Nets. This year, the dogwoods have regrown and are loaded with berries. Some waxwings have been caught this month, but I really believe that the record number of Warbling Vireos, and today's three Red-eyed Vireos, is because they may prefer dogwood to Autumn Olive. Time will tell, as the number of Red-eyed Vireos has been low for many years.

After hatch-year Red-eyed Vireo

The first migrant thrushes of the fall season were banded today, a little later than normal. Veery nests west and even south of Metro Beach, but there isn't enough appropriate habitat here, so today's bird was clearly a migrant.

Hatch-year Veery

This was followed by the season's first Swainson's Thrush. Adults have been banded here as early as the first week in August.

After hatch-year Swainson's Thrush

Eight species of warbler dropped into the nets today, plus one species recaptured from last week. These included the first Magnolia Warblers. There should be many more of these as their migration typically extends into the first week of October.

Hatch-year Magnolia Warbler

Cape May Warbler is one of the less frequent warbler species banded at Metro Beach, and in fact since 2004 only two have been banded here although it was nearly annual in small numbers from 1989-1999. Both were in the Field Nets (eating dogwood berries?) on the same net run, one a rather dull hatch-year female and the other a much brighter hatch-year male. This is one of the easier warblers to sex in the fall.

Hatch-year female Cape May Warbler

Hatch-year male Cape May Warbler

The first American Redstarts were banded today; like Magnolia Warblers, the migration of redstarts can extend into early October. Many birders would pass this individual off as a "female", but the orange on the flank patches indicates it is a hatch-year male.

Hatch-year male American Redstart

Mourning Warbler tends to be an early migrant, so capturing one today was expected. This individual is showing fairly prominent "eye arcs" that might lead some to think it is a rare vagrant, MacGillivray's Warbler, but the arcs are narrow and this bird is typical of many hatch-year Mourning Warblers. Not visible in this photo is the partly hidden blackish spots on the breast, indicating it is a male.

Hatch-year male Mourning Warbler

Another early migrant is the Canada Warbler, represented today by this adult female.

After hatch-year female Canada Warbler

And the first Wilson's Warblers are expected to arrive by late August.

Hatch-year male Wilson's Warbler

Following on a very good spring for Baltimore Orioles, it has been very good this fall as well with three banded today bringing the season's total to a record of 10.

After hatch-year male Baltimore Oriole

After hatch-year female Baltimore Oriole

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a Virginia Rail that almost got caught in the Field Nets, two Great Horned Owls calling to each other before sunrise, and a Blackburnian Warbler near the road.

Banding could not have been done on these two days without some very helpful, and cheerful (in the face of hordes of mosquitos) volunteer banding assistants, including Stevie Kurda, Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack, and Bruce Watson. Also thanks to Jeff Silence for stopping by for an hour at a very helpful time in the morning on the 26th.

Banding Data
SUNDAY, August 21, 2011
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 14:00
Hours Open: 7.00 (closed due to rain from 8:30-9:30)
No. of Nets: 2.50-13.50
Net Hours: 82.00
Temperature (F): 66-75
Cloud Cover: 40-100-50%
Wind: SW-W @ 1-3-7 mph
Barometer: 29.95-29.92
Precipitation: Brief light rain in a.m., showers after close
No. Banded: 21 (plus 11 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 14
Capture Rate: 41.5 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 6:00-16:00): Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Willow Flycatcher - 2
Least Flycatcher - 1
American Robin - 2
Gray Catbird - 1
Yellow Warbler - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 3 (plus 5 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Swamp Sparrow - 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
[Red-winged Blackbird - 1 recaptured]
House Finch - 1
American Goldfinch - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)

FRIDAY, August 26, 2011
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:50
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.50
No. of Nets: 4.50-13.50
Net Hours: 91.75
Temperature (F): 61-77
Cloud Cover: 20-0%
Wind: NW-S @ 1-3-10 mph
Barometer: 30.09-30.10
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 80 (plus 20 recaptures)
No. of Species: 29
Capture Rate: 109.0 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 6:00-16:00): Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack (plus Jeff Silence for 1 hour).

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 14
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 3
Willow Flycatcher - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Least Flycatcher - 1
Great Crested Flycatcher - 1
Red-eyed Vireo - 3
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
House Wren - 1
Veery - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 1
American Robin - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 4
Cape May Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 2
[Northern Waterthrush - 1 recaptured]
Mourning Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 1
Canada Warbler - 1
[Song Sparrow - 5 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 2
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 4 (plus 2 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 3
House Finch - 1
American Goldfinch - 23 (plus 8 recaptured)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Metro Beach banding report - August 15 & 18, 2011

The number of birds being banded this early in the season continues to be quite good, and this week the first migrant warblers arrived as expected, while juvenile birds of locally nesting species continue to be captured. A total of 81 birds was banded on the 18th while 70 were banded on the 15th. There were interesting birds on both days, so in that category we'll have to call it a draw.

Highlights of birds banded on Monday, August 15 included an excellent total, for so early in the season, of 9 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. As is typical for this locale in fall, the majority were hatch-year birds but two adults were banded including one female and the nice adult male below. The adult males won't be around much longer as they depart earlier than the females and immatures.

After hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

An interesting recapture was a female Hairy Woodpecker. I could tell that the band wasn't very new, but was surprised when I got home and looked it up. She was banded by me at Metro Beach on May 23, 2004 as an after third year, making her an after TENTH year now! The top photo below is from this year. Luckily, I had photographed her in 2004 as well, and that photo is the bottom photo below.

Female Hairy Woodpecker, After TENTH Year in 2011

Female Hairy Woodpecker, After Third Year in 2004

It is shaping up to be a good year for Eastern Wood-Pewees. Two were banded today, and an adult (probably female based on the very extensive brood patch) was a returnee from 2010...the first ever returnee of her species at this banding station.

After hatch-year (female?) Eastern Wood-Pewee

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are infrequently captured at Metro Beach, so this adult female (with brood patch) was nice to see. There have been a couple pairs in the park all summer.

After hatch-year female Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Continuing with last week's series of "baby pictures", we finally caught some American Robins today including mostly spotty juveniles like this one.

Hatch-year (juvenile) American Robin

The first migrant warbler of the fall season was banded today. Although they nest at a similar latitude on other nearby parts of Michigan, there is no breeding habitat for Northern Waterthrushes at Metro Beach so it is certain that this was a migrant. I have banded them as early as August 7 in other years so it isn't really unexpected by mid-August.

Hatch-year Northern Waterthrush

Interesting birds observed but not banded today included an adult Bald Eagle circling low over Point Rosa Marsh (over the Field Nets!), which headed off southeast into Lake St. Clair. And an Indigo Bunting was heard calling out in the field briefly in the morning.

Highlights of birds banded on Thursday, August 18 included two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and a Northern Flicker. It was too busy (and too many mosquitos) to allow photos of these species today. But the Warbling Vireos, of which 3 were banded today, have earned another photospot because of the number banded to date this fall. The past several years has been rather poor for all vireo species compared with the 1989-1999 data. My suspicion has been a change in the plant species composition of the undergrowth. This year, after removing a bunch of Glossy Buckthorn from the area of the Field Nets, the Alternate-leaved Dogwood has come back strong with lots of berries, probably also thanks to a wet spring and summer. The result is that these 3 Warbling Vireos today bring the season total to 17. The previous record was 13 in fall 1992 and the most recent high was 9 in fall 2009. They're clearly feeding on these dogwood berries, as evidenced by the purple poop they leave behind on my hands!

Hatch-year Warbling Vireo

Cedar Waxwings also deserve additional mention as it is shaping up to be a good fall for them too, although it is still far short of a record season. In 2009 we captured quite a few in the Field Nets as they fed on the Glossy Buckthorn berries. This year, with the buckthorn gone and the dogwood flourishing, we caught 5 waxwings today. They're also deserving of a photospot just because they're such neat birds.

After hatch-year male Cedar Waxwing

A second species of migrant warbler was banded today, in the form of a half-dozen Tennessee Warblers, all caught in the Field Nets, and all of them hatch-year birds.

Hatch-year Tennessee Warbler

And a third migrant warbler species was a single Chestnut-sided Warbler, followed by the second Northern Waterthrush of the fall.

Hatch-year Chestnut-sided Warbler

House Finches are infrequently banded at Metro Beach, as they don't often spend time in the swamp woods and marsh edge habitat of the banding area. The two banded today, added to the two on the 15th, brings the season total to four, which is the most since 2004, but several fall seasons between 1989 and 1999 had more banded.

Hatch-year House Finch

Interesting birds observed but not banded included an adult female Northern Harrier circling over the swamp woods, and good numbers of swallows including Bank Swallow.

I'd like to thank the volunteers who came out and helped on these two days. It was great to have more than the minimum of two for each day, easing the workload for everyone. Thanks to Jean Gramlich, Dave Lancaster, Gisela Lendle-King, Tom Schlack, Joan Tisdale, and Judi Wade.

Banding Data
MONDAY, August 15, 2011
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:39
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 4.50-13.50
Net Hours: 87.50
Temperature (F): 64-75
Cloud Cover: 5-50-80%
Wind: NW @ 5-7-15 mph
Barometer: 29.93-29.96
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 70 (plus 12 recaptured and 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 17
Capture Rate: 97.1 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 6:00-15:30): Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack, Judi Wade.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 9
[Hairy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Willow Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 6
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 1
American Robin - 6
Cedar Waxwing - 4
Yellow Warbler - 6
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 4 (plus 3 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 14 (plus 2 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
[Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 recaptured]
[Baltimore Oriole - 1 recaptured]
House Finch - 2
American Goldfinch - 13 (plus 1 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)

THURSDAY, August 18, 2011
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:42
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 4.50-13.50
Net Hours: 87.50
Temperature (F): 68-77
Cloud Cover: 20-100-20-80%
Wind: SW-SE @ 1-3-12 mph
Barometer: 30.04-29.98
Precipitation: Trace
No. Banded: 81 (plus 17 recaptures and 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 18
Capture Rate: 114.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 6:00-16:00): Jean Gramlich, Gisela Lendle-King, Joan Tisdale.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2
Northern Flicker - 1
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 2
Warbling Vireo - 3
American Robin - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 2
Cedar Waxwing - 5
Tennessee Warbler - 6
Yellow Warbler - 5
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 3
Song Sparrow - 12 (plus 9 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 8 (plus 3 recaptured)
House Finch - 2
American Goldfinch - 24 (plus 4 recaptured)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Metro Beach - Fall Banding Season Begins!

It has been a productive summer for banding hummingbirds, though with only one species there isn't much to blog about and photos would tend to get repetitive! Back in June, I promised that the spring banding report would be finished "soon". Well, that day has arrived, and the full report can be dowloaded as a PDF file at my Metro Beach Banding web page. Just scroll down to the Spring 2011 Banding Report link.

The Fall 2011 banding season began on Sunday, August 7, with three volunteers turning out to clear net lanes and see what we might band once everything was set up. This first day is always unpredictable, as there can be quite a lot of vegetion grown into the net lanes over the summer. As I'd been conducting surveys once a week all summer, I knew we were in for a lot of work. I really hate gas-powered garden implements...or gas-powered anything for that matter. But it was a real time saver that the park maintenance department loaned us a weed whacker. It saved time until it jammed before getting to the longest stretch out into the field, and although they were very helpful in getting it unjammed for me, and refilling the tank with gas, I hooked the gas cap on the inside of the back of my car and dumped all the gas out into the car. A week later it is still smelling like gas. So, we had to take turns using the manual weed whacker all the way out into the field. It was a long, hot morning, but we got the job done. Around noon we decided to put up six of the nets for a couple hours to see what we could catch. It was the heat of the day, so bird activity was low, and we only caught 3 birds. The first bird caught and banded for the Fall 2011 season was a species not banded in spring, in a family also not banded in spring, a Warbling Vireo.

Hatch-year Warbling Vireo

From the photo above, some might see a suggestion of dark lores, and some yellow on the underparts, and wonder if it might be an early migrant Philadelphia Vireo. Luckily, the diagnostic character of this bird was visible,and I've highlighted it in an inset (click on the photo to enlarge). In vireos, the 10th (outermost) primary is vestigial so is much shorter than the others. In Philadelphia Vireo, it does not extend past the primary coverts on the folded wing, while in Warbling Vireo it does extend past them. The other two birds banded today were a juvenile Common Yellowthroat and an adult female Swamp Sparrow with a fully developed brood patch.

One of the reasons for starting the fall banding season so early is to assess the nesting productivity in the banding area, so we look forward to catching lots of young birds of locally nesting species. Surveys through the summer saw parent birds with beaks crammed full of Mayflies (Ephemeroptera, often erroneously called "fish flies"), which this summer provided a better than average bounty for nesting birds.

Ephemeroptera (Mayflies) on Nature Center. 7 July 2011.

Elsewhere in the park, birds are also still attending young, but a large part of the park's area is taken up with a huge parking lot (see map here). In 30+ years of visiting this park, I have never seen so many beach-goers that this lot was close to even half full. For much of the year, this vast expanse of asphalt is as welcoming to life as the surface of the Moon. But from late summer into fall, gulls find portions attractive for loafing much of the day. And often there are interesting things mixed in, like a few Killdeer, and Caspian Terns with begging juveniles. The adult Caspian Terns try to ignore them at this age, mostly just running away from them as they squeal and beg.

The first full day of fall banding, Wednesday, August 10, was possibly the best opening day since I began here in 2004, with a total of 84 new birds banded and 10 recaptures. Last year's first full banding day netted only 21 birds, while other recent years have started with 40-50 birds on the first full day. Highlights included the first 6 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds of the season, all of them hatch-year birds. It is unclear if they all hatched locally or if they're the first migrants of the fall.

Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

It was a good day for flycatchers. The number of Eastern Wood-Pewees banded each year at Metro Beach varies greatly from zero to a few. This adult was a welcome first.

After hatch-year Eastern Wood-Pewee

Willow Flycatchers nested in the banding area this summer, so it wasn't surprising that a youngster was caught out in the Field Nets.

Hatch-year Willow Flycatcher

A Least Flycatcher was a bit of a surprise as they don't often nest in the park, and had been undetected here since early June. But the most interesting flycatcher was the Eastern Kingbird, which was only the second banded here since 2004 (the first was in spring 2009) and only the third ever.

Hatch-year Eastern Kingbird

Swallows are very difficult to catch in the banding area, as they usually forage above net height, and have excellent vision to avoid getting caught. And most swallows to date have been banded in spring, so the two Northern Rough-winged Swallows in the Field Nets were a real treat. Both were juveniles, as evidenced by the broad cinnamon edgings on their wing coverts.

Hatch-year female Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Of course the fleshy corners of the mouth were another giveaway that they were juveniles. They were both sexed as females based on the lack of "serrations" on the front of the outermost primary.

Hatch-year female Northern Rough-winged Swallow

An adult female Cedar Waxwing was a nice catch, as they aren't banded here every year. She had very limited black on the chin, and a fully developed brood patch.

After hatch-year female Cedar Waxwing

She was soon followed by a hatch-year Cedar Waxwing, easily identified by its streaky breast and short crest, but they cannot be sexed at this stage.

Hatch-year Cedar Waxwing

Yellow Warblers nest commonly in the banding area, but are very early migrants, so it is always interesting to see how many we can catch before they all depart. Typically, the peak of migration is the last week of July or the first week of August. There were a lot of them still around on opening day, but we couldn't get the nets up early enough to catch them. Today, we managed to catch three hatch-years, identified by their generally yellow coloration with a suggestion of an eye ring (somewhat like a Nashville Warbler) and yellow tail spots. Only those with chestnut streaks can be sexed as male; the remainder must be recorded as unknown.

Hatch-year Yellow Warbler

Another warbler that nests in the banding area, but doesn't depart as early, is the Common Yellowthroat. In early August, many are just out of the nest and wearing a briefly-held juvenile plumage that will confound even some experienced birders. The lack of yellow on the throat, along with cinnamon wing bars, are the most confusing characters, and are molted out into more expected patterns by late August. They cannot be sexed when in this juvenile plumage. The individual in the photo below had the shortest tail of all those banded today, but when it flew off it was very strong, just like it had a full-length tail.

Hatch-year (juv.) Common Yellowthroat

A pair of sparrow species also nest in the banding area, with the Song Sparrow being the most common. Both species leave the nest with a fairly nondescript streaked juvenile plumage that can be confused with the other nesting sparrow, the Swamp Sparrow. The hatch-year below has no rufous in its wing coverts and is developing the clear bold malar marks that identifies him as a Song Sparrow.

Hatch-year Song Sparrow

Some years I have resorted to checking the wing formula on some sparrows captured in early August, but that was not necessary on this juvenile Swamp Sparrow as it had a distinctive pattern on the crown and rufous in the wing coverts. It is, however, very similar to a Lincoln's Sparrow which does not nest in this area.

Hatch-year Swamp Sparrow

In keeping with the theme of young birds, this young male Northern Cardinal seems surprised that he blundered into our nets. The bill color is mostly yellow when in the nest and at fledging, but quickly becomes mostly dark gray, which then gradually turns orange through the fall.

Hatch-year male Northern Cardinal

Red-winged Blackbirds nest very commonly in the banding area, but are rarely caught in fall as they seem to only raise one brood and then depart the marshes during mid-July. They seem to prefer foraging in open areas, including agricultural fields, until they migrate south in October and November. It seems like they could raise a second brood in this time, but for some reason they do not. They're a remarkably successful species even so. The hatch-year below is a male, only identifiable by his size. Wing measurements are the most reliable means of sexing young Red-wings though birds that are not full grown can present banders with a puzzle, which I've solved in the past by using the bander's leg gage as a last resort, as males take a larger band size than females. How many birders would pass this individual off as a female?

Hatch-year male Red-winged Blackbird

After a very good spring, Baltimore Orioles were caught in surprising (near record in fact) numbers today. Some were hatch-year as expected, but some were adult females in heavy body molt as they prepare for their early southward migration. Most will be gone by Labor Day, and most years none are banded in fall at Metro Beach.

After hatch-year female Baltimore Oriole

And while some species like the orioles and Yellow Warblers are done nesting and well on their way south, some species like American Goldfinches are still feeding young in the nest (a male Common Yellowthroat was also seen today carrying a fat green caterpillar). Several short-tailed juveniles, like the one in the photo below, were captured and a few adult females with fully developed brood patches were also banded.

Hatch-year female American Goldfinch

Interesting birds observed today included Green Heron, Blue-winged Teal, an early Eastern Phoebe by the Field Nets, and two Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (present all summer).

I would like to thank Stevie, Joan, and Bruce for working so hard to clear net lanes on the 7th, and thanks to Tom, Joan, and Mike for helping process a lot of birds on the first full day on the 10th.

Banding Data
SUNDAY, August 7, 2011
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time Open (E.S.T.): 11:15
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:45
Hours Open: 2.50
No. of Nets: 3.25-5.25
Net Hours: 12.125
Temperature (F): 72-82
Cloud Cover: 30-90%
Wind: WSW @ 1-3-7 mph
Barometer: 29.77-29.75
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 3 (plus 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 4
Capture Rate: 33.0 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 8.0 hours, 8:00-16:00): Stevie Kuroda, Joan Tisdale, Bruce Watson.

Warbling Vireo - 1
[American Robin - 1 released unbanded]
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 1

WEDNESDAY, August 10, 2011
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:33
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:45
Hours Open: 7.75
No. of Nets: 4.50-13.50
Net Hours: 96.375
Temperature (F): 66-73
Cloud Cover: 5-70-40%
Wind: WSW-WNW @ 5-7-15 mph
Barometer: 29.70-29.79
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 84 (plus 10 recaptures and 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 18
Capture Rate: 99.6 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.5 hours, 6:00-16:30): Mike Charlebois, Tom Schlack, Joan Tisdale.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 6
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1
Willow Flycatcher - 1
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1
Least Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 7
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 2
House Wren - 1
[American Robin - 1 released unbanded]
Cedar Waxwing - 2
Yellow Warbler - 3
Common Yellowthroat - 4 (plus 2 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 22 (plus 1 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 2
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 7 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 19 (plus 4 recaptured)