Sunday, August 26, 2012

Metro Beach banding station report - August 19 & 23, 2012

The weather cooperated this week, allowing two full days of banding, though the pace of migration was still slow with only a trickle of migrant warblers.

Thank you to the volunteers who made banding on these two days possible: Rebecca Blundell, Brandon Charlebois, Chris Charlebois, Jacob Charlebois, Mike Charlebois, Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack, Joan Tisdale, and Blanche Wicke.

Highlights of the 34 birds banded on Sunday, August 19 included 6 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, an Empidonax flycatcher that keyed out to Alder, and a White-breasted Nuthatch which is surprisingly uncommon in the banding area.

After hatch-year female White-breasted Nuthatch

Only two migrant warblers were captured today, both of them Tennessee Warblers. One was a very green and clean (fresh plumage) hatch-year.

Hatch-year Tennessee Warbler

The other was an adult male. It was aged based on skull ossification, and sexed based on its extensive gray crown.

After hatch-year male Tennessee Warbler

Also, adult Tennessee Warblers typically show symmetrical wing (and often tail) molt as they appear to be undergoing some type of molt migration that is not yet completely understood.

After hatch-year male Tennessee Warbler
molting its 3rd, 4th, and 5th primaries. Note
the very worn outer (6th-10th) primaries that
haven't been molted yet.

At most banding stations, dragonflies get caught in the mist nets too, and Metro Beach is no exception. Today it was a Mottled Darner, which is an uncommon species and only recently documented for Macomb County, based on individuals caught in mist nets here.

Mottled Darner (Aeshna clepsydra)

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a Northern Harrier flyby, a Belted Kingfisher flyover, a calling Red-breasted Nuthatch, two Northern Waterthrushes, and what may be one of the last Yellow Warblers of the season.

Highlights of the 46 birds banded on Thursday, August 23 included 7 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, one of which was an adult male. For some reason, more than 90% of the hummingbirds banded at this station are hatch-year birds even though migration of adults continues all during August and well into September. Since they migrate earlier than females, adult males are also less frequently caught here.

After hatch-year male
Ruby-throated Hummingbird undergoing
contour feather molt.

Carolina Wrens have been resident in the park for many years, and several have been banded previously. But in the past couple years they seem to have moved their territories away from the banding area a bit, so we have caught very few. So it was nice to catch two of them today, both in the Swamp Nets and on the same net run. Both were adults in heavy molt.

After hatch-year Carolina Wren

Two more Tennessee Warblers were banded today, along with the first American Redstart of the season.

Hatch-year female American Redstart

Another first of season was this Ovenbird.

Hatch-year Ovenbird

The second Mourning Warbler of the season was followed by the first Canada Warbler of the fall. This one was sexed as male based on the presense of black feathers in the necklace, which females tend not to show.

Hatch-year male Canada Warbler

And another dragonfly hit the net today, this one a somewhat more common species, a female Black-tipped Darner.

Black-tipped Darner (Aeshna tuberculifera)

Interesting birds observed but not banded today included a Sora heard out by the Field Nets, an Olive-sided Flycatcher north of the banding road, and quite a few warblers near (but not in) the Swamp Nets including several Tennessee, a couple Chestnut-sided, Black-and-white, and Blackburnians, and a single Magnolia.

Banding Data
SUNDAY, August 19, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:42
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
No. of Nets: 4.5-13.5
Net Hours: 86.375
Temperature (F): 57-70
Cloud Cover: 100-80%
Wind: Calm-SW @ 0-3 mph
Barometer: 29.99-30.00
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 34 (plus 7 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 9
Capture Rate: 48.6 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 8.50 hours, 5:00-13:30): Rebecca Blundell, Chris Charlebois, Jacob Charlebois, Mike Charlebois (6.5 hrs), Joan Tisdale, Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 6
Alder Flycatcher - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
House Wren - 2
Tennessee Warbler - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 4 (plus 2 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 6 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 11 (plus 4 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)

THURSDAY, August 23, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:47
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.5-13.5
Net Hours: 89.625
Temperature (F): 61-81
Cloud Cover: 10-0%
Wind: Calm-ESE @ 0-7-10 mph
Barometer: 30.16-30.18
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 46 (plus 11 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 13
Capture Rate: 64.7 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Brandon Charlebois (3.0 hrs), Jacob Charlebois, Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 7
Carolina Wren - 2
House Wren - 1
Gray Catbird - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 2
American Redstart - 1
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Mourning Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 4 (plus 2 recaptured)
Canada Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 2 (plus 7 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
American Goldfinch - 22 (plus 2 recaptured)

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