Monday, October 15, 2012

Metro Beach banding station banding report - October 11 & 13, 2012

Banding this week was a bit challenging, with high winds forcing us to close down part of the station (Upland Nets) early on Thursday, October 11. And on Saturday, October 13 high winds at the start prevented us from setting up the Upland Nets, while rain stopped us entirely by late morning. The result was that no large numbers were captured, but there were some interesting captures nonetheless.

Many thanks for the following volunteers for making banding on these two days possible: John Bieganowski, Paul Bowling, Jean Gramlich, Stevie Kuroda, Tom Schlack, Bruce Watson, and Blanche Wicke.

Highlights of the 60 birds banded on Thursday, October 11 included a common species, but only the fourth ever banded at this station, a Mourning Dove.
After hatch-year male Mourning Dove

After hatch-year male Mourning Dove

One more Black-throated Blue Warbler was banded today, bringing the season total to 34.
Hatch-year female
Black-throated Blue Warbler

There are many interesting aspects to this species' migration in our area. Partly because I am a little competitive, but also because I like to look at what other banding stations are doing, I have been comparing the captures of Black-throated Blue Warblers to the Kalamazoo Nature Center on the western side of Michigan. BTBs are known to migrate on one of the more easterly paths of any warbler, and the majority of them spend the winter in the West Indies. They breed mostly east of Michigan, with most of the northern parts of our state having breeding populations, and their range extends north of Lake Superior not too far west into western Ontario. Most years, the number of BTBs banded at Metro Beach is very close to (sometimes more than) the number banded at KNC, even though they operate at least 5 times as many nets, and band almost every day. It appears to me that KNC is close to the western limit of the migration path of this species. It may also have something to do with Metro Beach's "coastal" location perhaps concentrating migrants here. BTBs are also one of few warblers that are expected to migrate into mid-October at our latitudes. At Metro Beach, they also show a more distinct preference for one habitat than the other Setophaga species of warbler, with most of them being caught in the Swamp Nets, and almost never out in the Field Nets (which are preferred by species like Nashville, Tennessee, and Orange-crowned). Black-throated Blue Warbler also tends to be the most frequently recaptured migrant here, as they seem to spend more time stopping over before continuing on.

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a calling juvenile Great Horned Owl, a good bunch of Chimney Swifts overhead (and not quite low enough to be captured!) all day, an Eastern Phoebe, probably the last Swainson's Thrush of the season, and no less than 4 Eastern Towhees (none found their way into the nets!).

Highlights of the 52 birds banded on Saturday, October 13 included another Northern Flicker, which is always an interesting experience, and a good number (4) of Winter Wrens and a single Orange-crowned Warbler. The Ovenbird recaptured today was the second latest ever at this station, and had gained 3.2 grams (17%) since it was banded on September 29.
Hatch-year Ovenbird

A Common Yellowthroat today was also rather late, but the Chipping Sparrow was only the third ever banded here (they're not in swamp forests and cattail marsh edge very often), and the first adult.

After hatch-year Chipping Sparrow

Interesting birds observed but not banded included two flyover Great Egrets, a Tree Swallow (swallows have been mysteriously absent at this locale since late August), three Carolina Wrens, one Marsh Wren calling from only a few feet from the Field Nets, and possibly the last Gray Catbird of the fall.

Banding Data
THURSDAY, October 11, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:41
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 4.5-13.5
Net Hours: 78.50 (wind forced 4 nets closed @ 10:30)
Temperature (F): 36-61
Cloud Cover: 10-30-0%
Wind: S @ 5-7-15 mph
Barometer: 30.21-30.08
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 60 (plus 8 recaptured and 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 13
Capture Rate: 90.4 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.00 hours, 5:00-14:00): John Bieganowski, Paul Bowling, Tom Schlack, Blanche Wicke.

Winter Wren - 1
Hermit Thrush - 5
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 8
Blackpoll Warbler - 1
Fox Sparrow - 3
Song Sparrow - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 2
White-throated Sparrow - 23 (plus 3 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
White-crowned Sparrow - 3
Northern Cardinal - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch -8 (plus 2 recaptured)

SATURDAY, October 13, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:43
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 9:30 (rain forced early close)
Hours Open: 3.50
No. of Nets: 4.5-9.5 (wind prevented full setup)
Net Hours: 30.75
Temperature (F): 46-50
Cloud Cover: 10-100%
Wind: SE @ 7-15-5 mph
Barometer: 30.35-30.31
Precipitation: Rain started @ 9:30
No. Banded: 52 (plus 4 recaptured)
No. of Species: 16
Capture Rate: 182.1 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 6.5 hours, 5:00-11:30): Jean Gramlich, Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson.

Northern Flicker - 1
Winter Wren - 4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 5
Hermit Thrush - 11
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 7
[Ovenbird - 1 recaptured]
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Fox Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 4
Swamp Sparrow - 31
White-throated Sparrow - 10
Dark-eyed Junco - 1
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
American Goldfinch - 4 (plus 2 recaptured)

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