Sunday, October 9, 2011

Metro Beach banding report - October 2 & 7, 2011

The weather on these first two banding days in October were quite different, weather-wise. On Sunday, October 2 it was cool and becoming windy while Friday October 7 was warmish, sunny, and almost windless. There were still a few warblers around, and sparrows started making a stronger showing.

Highlights of the 96 birds banded on Sunday, October 2 included two Eastern Wood-Pewees which were somewhat late, but not a record. Note the suggesting of a slight, narrow eye ring, confined mainly to the rear part of the eye on this individual, as well as the extensive dark coloration on the lower mandible. This is not too unusual in hatch-year Eastern Wood-Pewees.

Hatch-year Eastern Wood-Pewee

The first Hermit Thrushes of the season were banded today, and they came in strong with 4 banded.

Hatch-year Hermit Thrush

Six species of warbler were banded today, but dominating with 23 captured was Yellow-rumped. This is nearly double the highest day since 2004, but short of the one-day record of 31 on 6 October 1991.

After hatch-year female Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler

Among the 5 species of sparrows today was the first White-crowned Sparrow of the season, a hatch-year bird.

Hatch-year White-crowned Sparrow

Interesting birds observed but not banded today included a Wilson's Snipe heard giving its "scaip" alarm call as it flew off in the darkness near the Field Nets, a calling Great Horned Owl at dawn, and the first Rusty Blackbirds of the fall.

Highlights of the 68 birds banded on Friday, October 7 included four firsts for the season, all of them somewhat overdue. Perhaps the most stunning was the Blue-headed Vireo caught in the Field Nets.

After hatch-year Blue-headed Vireo

After being noted in the banding area for more than a week, we finally caught the first Brown Creeper of the fall.

Hatch-year Brown Creeper

There has been some discussion on bird banding forums, with interesting exchanges of information with European "ringers" who age their Common Treecreeper by the amount of white on the tip of the longest primary coverts. Creepers can be aged as hatch-year if their skulls show incomplete ossification, but after mid-October even a hatch-year may have a completely ossified skull; similar to the rapid ossification of kinglets. For comparative purposes, the spread wing of this individual is shown below which, even if you're not a bander you can enjoy the beauty of the markings. The white tip on the longest primary covert measured 2 mm in this individual. I wonder if something like this might be useful for sexing these birds eventually?

Hatch-year Brown Creeper

And after more than a week in the banding area, we finally caught the first Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets of the fall.

Hatch-year female Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Hatch-year male Golden-crowned Kinglet

And among increased numbers of sparrows, of 5 species again, were more White-crowned Sparrows including some crisply plumaged adults.

After hatch-year White-crowned Sparrow

One species was notable by its absence today; American Goldfinch, which has been banded every day this fall except the first day (August 7) and today. The peak of their migration is just past, but more should be banded throughout the month of October.

Interesting birds observed but not banded today included the continuing pair of Great Horned Owls, re-affirming their pair bond, an Eastern Phoebe out in the field, a fairly good migration of Blue Jays overhead, and a Carolina Wren that after staying well away from the banding area all fall, finally came into the middle of it, and even was watched right next to the road; but not captured. A Wood Thrush and Brown Thrasher teased us near the Swamp Nets in the morning but soon disappeared, while a few warblers were also observed including Black-throated Blue, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, and American Redstart.

I really appreciate the help of the following volunteers, who made banding this past week possible: Chris Charlebois, Mike Charlebois, Jacob Charlebois, Brandon Charlebois, Sandy Cohen, Karen Fenwick, Dave Lancaster, and Tom Schlack.

Banding Data
SUNDAY, October 2, 2011
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:30
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): 42-61
Cloud Cover: 30-10-100%
Wind: NW @ 5-7-20 mph
Barometer: 30.17-30.11
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 96 (plus 11 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 22
Capture Rate: 123.4 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Chris Charlebois, Mike Charlebois (5.0 hrs), Jacob Charlebois, Brandon Charlebois, Sandy Cohen, Karen Fenwick.

Downy Woodpecker - 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 2
Black-capped Chickadee - 2
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 3
Swainson's Thrush - 2
Hermit Thrush - 4
American Robin - 1
Gray Catbird - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Nashville Warbler - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Magnolia Warbler - 1 recaptured]
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 3
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 23
Blackpoll Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 1
Ovenbird - 2
Song Sparrow - 6 (plus 3 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 8 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 14 (plus 1 released unbanded)
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 7
American Goldfinch - 10 (plus 4 recaptured)

FRIDAY, October 7, 2011
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:35
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
No. of Nets: 4.50-13.50
Net Hours: 86.375
Temperature (F): 50-73
Cloud Cover: 0%
Wind: Calm-S @ 0-3 mph
Barometer: 30.40-30.46
Precipitation: a.m. Fog
No. Banded: 68 (plus 6 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 18
Capture Rate: 88.0 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.0 hours; 5:00-14:00): Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack.

Blue-headed Vireo - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
Brown Creeper - 1
Winter Wren - 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 6
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Hermit Thrush - 7
Nashville Warbler - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Palm Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 2
Song Sparrow - 10 (plus 2 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2
Swamp Sparrow - 2
White-throated Sparrow - 23
White-crowned Sparrow - 6 (plus 2 released unbanded)
[Northern Cardinal - 2 recaptured]

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