Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Metro Beach banding station report - May 12-19, 2012

The number of birds banded on three days this past week (May 12, 14 & 19) was lower than the previous week but there was still good diversity and some interesting highlights, as well as a couple of interesting recaptures. A total of 152 birds were banded over the three days. The weather was generally good - perhaps too good as no strong systems came through to hold up migration or cause fallout conditions. While this may be disappointing for birders, it is probably good news for migrating birds.

Many thanks to the volunteers who made banding on these three days possible: John Bieganowski, Corey Braden, Jacob Charlebois, Stevie Kuroda, Dave Lancaster, Steve Mangas, Tom Schlack, Edie Schmitz, Bruce Watson, Judi Wade, and Blanche Wicke.

Highlights of the 52 birds banded on Saturday, May 12 included the first Alder Flycatcher of the season, which was keyed out to species after "running the numbers" at home in the evening.

After hatch-year Alder Flycatcher

Swamp Sparrows were big news last week as they were clearly peaking in migration, as well as resident nesting individuals arriving. This week there were fewer of them, but the number banded for the spring went well past 200, which is a record by a considerable margin.

After hatch-year Swamp Sparrow

Another sparrow captured today was truly a highlight; this Savannah Sparrow was only the 5th ever banded at this station, and the 4th since 2004. It is interesting to see that the tertials on this species are nearly as long as the primaries, a characteristic shared by the pipits which are also generally open country birds.

After hatch-year Savannah Sparrow

After hatch-year Savannah Sparrow

Interesting birds observed but not banded included two flyover Common Loons early in the morning, the first Eastern Wood-Pewee of the spring, singing Willow and Least Flycatchers, and several warblers that were not banded: Tennessee, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Bay-breasted, Black-and-white, American Redstart, and a singing Mourning Warbler. A male Scarlet Tanager was high in the trees over the banding area.

Highlights of the 37 birds banded on Monday, May 14 included two Ruby-throated Hummingbird, another Alder Flycatcher, and the first Swainson's Thrush of the spring. Thrushes have been either late or in low numbers so far this spring.

Second-year Swainson's Thrush

Among the warblers banded today were a single Black-throated Green Warbler.

Second-year female
Black-throated Green Warbler

And the first Mourning Warbler of the spring was captured today.

After second-year male Mourning Warbler

After an unusually early individual a couple weeks ago, Wilson's Warblers were banded again today closer to their expected migration period.

After hatch-year male Wilson's Warbler

Interesting birds observed but not banded included two Spotted Sandpipers which flew over the banding area; they typically stay well away preferring the lakeshore to the marsh. A single Marsh Wren was heard singing from the cattails beyond the Field Nets, and there was a similar mix of warblers to Saturday but with the addition of Black-throated Blue and the first Canada of the spring.

Highlights of the 63 birds banded, and 24 recaptured, on Saturday, May 19 included a recaptured female Ruby-throated Hummingbird that was banded here in 2010. As this site is primarily a migration site with low numbers of breeding hummingbirds, very few "returns" are expected and indeed this is only the second one since 2004.

After hatch-year "returnee"
Ruby-throated Hummingbird banded in 2010

Another interesting returnee was a female Hairy Woodpecker that was originally banded in 2004 as an after second-year, making her at least 11 years old. She was also recaptured again just last fall. Perhaps we should name her, since she's been around so long?

After 10th year female Hairy Woodpecker

A nice male Eastern Kingbird was only the 4th ever banded here, the 3rd in spring. He cooperated nicely in showing his usually concealed red crown patch.

After hatch-year male Eastern Kingbird

The Red-eyed Vireo is a fairly common species, but since 2004 numbers banded have been much lower than in the 1989-1999 period, and today's was the first in spring since 1996 when 10 were banded.

After hatch-year Red-eyed Vireo

Swallows are infrequently captured here, so a Tree Swallow and four Northern Rough-winged Swallows were unexpected. Thrush numbers ticked up slightly with 3 Veeries and 4 Swainson's Thrushes. Cedar Waxwings seem to have been quite scarce in a lot of areas of Michigan this past winter, and they did migrate farther south than they usually do into the Neotropics. Numbers of migrants have only recently been noted in the banding area, so today's capture was a pleasant surprise.

After hatch-year female Cedar Waxwing

Typically among the earlier migrants, single Nashville and a nice Chestnut-sided were captured today.

After second-year male
Chestnut-sided Warbler

Another Mourning Warbler was banded today, which is typically a later migrant, as is the Canada Warbler which today was represented by the first two banded this spring.

After second-year male Canada Warbler

Second-year male Canada Warbler

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a Black-billed Cuckoo that appeared very near the banding station in the early afternoon, a continuing Northern Parula as well as a couple of Bay-breasted and Blackpoll Warblers singing from high in the maples. A Scarlet Tanager sang a couple times around lunch time and was not heard again.

Banding Data
SATURDAY, May 12, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:14
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.5
No. of Nets: 4.0-13.5
Net Hours: 94.25
Temperature (F): 61-72
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind: S-SW-NW @ 5-7-10 mph
Barometer: 30.19-30.21
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 52 (plus 9 22ecaptured and 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 20
Capture Rate: 79.6 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.25 hours, 5:00-15:15): Corey Braden, Jacob Charlebois (3 hours), Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson, Judi Wade.

Alder Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 1
[Tufted Titmouse - 1 recaptured]
[American Robin - 1 recaptured]
Gray Catbird - 5
Nashville Warbler - 1
Yellow Warbler - 10 (plus 11 recaptured)
Magnolia Warbler - 1
Ovenbird - 2
Northern Waterthrush - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 6 (plus 2 recaptured)
[Song Sparrow - 2 recaptured]
Lincoln's Sparrow - 8
Swamp Sparrow - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 5 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 1

MONDAY, May 14, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:12
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.50
No. of Nets: 4.5-13.5
Net Hours: 93.25
Temperature (F): 48-73
Cloud Cover: 10-0%
Wind: Calm-SE @ 0-3-5 mph
Barometer: 30.12-30.05
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 37 (plus 26 recaptured and 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 21
Capture Rate: 70.0 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): John Bieganowski, Dave Lancaster, Steve Mangas.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2
Alder Flycatcher - 1
[Warbling Vireo - 1 recaptured]
Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 4 recaptured)
Swainson's Thrush - 1
[American Robin - 1 recaptured]
Gray Catbird - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow Warbler - 3 (plus 8 recaptured)
Magnolia Warbler - 3
Black-throated Green Warbler - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Mourning Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 3
Wilson's Warbler - 3
Song Sparrow - 2 (plus 3 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 4 (plus 2 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
Red-winged Blackbird - 2
Common Grackle - 2 (plus 1 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
[Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 recaptured]
Baltimore Oriole - 2 (plus 3 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)

SATURDAY, May 19, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:07
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:30
Hours Open: 7.75
No. of Nets: 4.5-13.5
Net Hours: 96.375
Temperature (F): 52-79
Cloud Cover: 5-0%
Wind: Calm-SE @ 0-5 mph
Barometer: 30.13-30.17
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 63 (plus 24 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 31
Capture Rate: 93.4 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.5 hours, 5:00-15:30): Tom Schlack (6.5 hours), Edie Schmitz, Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Downy Woodpecker - 1
[Hairy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1 banded
Warbling Vireo - 1
Red-eyed Vireo - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Tree Swallow - 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 4
Veery - 3
Swainson's Thrush - 4
American Robin - 3
Gray Catbird - 1
European Starling - 1
Cedar Waxwing - 1
Nashville Warbler
Yellow Warbler - 6 (plus 11 recaptured)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Ovenbird - 2
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Mourning Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 4 (plus 4 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 2
Canada Warbler - 2
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 4 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 6 (plus 2 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 2
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
American Goldfinch - 6 (plus 1 recaptured)

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