Monday, October 8, 2012

Metro Beach banding station report - October 4 & 6, 2012

It was another good week of banding, with 72 new birds on Thursday October 4 and 138 new birds on Saturday, October 6. Among these were new arrivals for the fall and some interesting species. The weather on these two days were quite different. The 4th was clear and mild, with the temperature getting close to 80 degrees by early afternoon when we closed, while the 6th was chilly in the morning and only getting up to 50 degrees.

Many thanks to the following volunteers who made banding on these two days possible: John Bieganowski, Paul Bowling, Chris Charlebois, Jacob Charlebois, Trisha Charlebois, Stevie Kuroda, Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack, Bruce Watson, and Blanche Wicke.

Highlights of the 72 birds banded on Thursday, October 4 was the second Northern Parula of the season, which was part of an early afternoon influx of warblers in the Upland Nets.
Hatch-year female Northern Parula

Among the other warblers captured today were Tennessee, Orange-crowned, nashville, and Black-throated Blue. Another Red-breasted Nuthatch was also banded today.

There was also a modest showing of thrushes, allowing a good comparison of three species; Gray-cheeked, Swainson's, and Hermit. Below is a comparison of the heads of all three species, which is sometimes all you can see as they skulk around in the undergrowth. I tried to capture all three species in the same pose, and in the same light, so that a good comparison can be made.

The Gray-cheeked Thrush has "cooler" olive-brown tones on the upperparts, a more whitish and narrower eye ring, and no prominent pale area above the lores. The gray on the cheek is often difficult to see; on this individual it is most evident in front of the eye, and there are small whitish streaks in the cheek. The blackish breast spots are on a mostly whitish or pale buff breast.
Hatch-year Gray-cheeked Thrush

The Swainson's Thrush has "warmer" olive-brown tones on the upperparts, a bold buffy eye ring, and pale buffy line above the lores. The cheek is not grayish, and is mottled with buffy splotches. The blackish breast spots are on a mostly buffy breast.
Hatch-year Swainson's Thrush

The Hermit Thrush is a warmer olive-brown on the upperparts, and has a narrow but prominent whitish eye ring, and only a little buffy above the lores (not forming spectacles as on many Swainson's). The bold black breast spots are on a mostly whitish breast.

Hatch-year Hermit Thrush

And for the sake of completeness, here is the head of a Veery banded on September 1. The upperparts have a definite rusty tone from crown to rump, and the eye ring is indistinct at best. The cheeks can actually appear quite gray, suggesting Gray-cheeked Thrush to some, but the brownish breast spotting is very light and sparse, and on a yellowish-buff breast, quite different from the others.
Hatch-year Veery banded 9/1/12

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a calling Great Horned Owl when we first arrived, a singing Carolina Wren, a modest migration overhead of Blue Jays and American Robins, and single Magnolia and Black-throated Green Warblers. A single Indigo Bunting called briefly in the early morning from out in the field.

A non-bird highlight was yet another hatchling (or the same one from last month) Northern Water Snake. This one was pretty aggressive, locking its small jaws onto my knuckle. After I pried it off, it got a bit more docile as I was supporting its body more so that it felt more comfortable.
Northern Water Snake

Highlights of the 138 birds banded on Saturday, October 6 included a surprising number of warblers. The most interesting of the 8 species banded were the 5 Palm Warblers, a species that doesn't get captured in such numbers at this station.
Hatch-year Palm Warbler

And somewhat surprising was not one, but two Bay-breasted Warblers, both hatch-year males (showing chestnut on the flanks). It is a tad late for these. 
Hatch-year male Bay-breasted Warbler

Other warblers banded today included Tennessee, Nashville, Magnolia, a good number of Black-throated Blues, and Blackpoll. A Red-eyed Vireo was only about the 5th for the season, and a Gray Catbird was surprisingly only the third of the season! Two more Red-breasted Nuthatches brought the season total to 7, officially making it a good year for the species.

Sparrows are becoming more prominent as the season progresses, and the two Fox Sparrows today arrived right on time.
Hatch-year Fox Sparrow

A few White-crowned Sparrows have already been banded this fall, but one of the two today appeared to be of the more westerly (central Canadian tiaga) subspecies gambellii. Hatch-years are more difficult to assign to this subspecies, but this individual was showing the clean white loral area and brighter orange bill typical of Gambell's White-crowned Sparrow.
Hatch-year "Gambell's" White-crowned Sparrow

The biggest surprise today was the handsome adult male Purple Finch, which was only the second banded here since 2004, and only the third ever here.
After hatch-year male Purple Finch

After hatch-year male Purple Finch

Interesting birds observed but not banded today inluded a flyover immature Bald Eagle, a briefly singing Blue-headed Vireo (none banded yet this fall), and a Black-throated Green Warbler near the road.

Another non-bird highlight was yet another Northern Water Snake. This one was larger though, about 15 inches in length, and may have been the one that we saw on the side of the banding road last week (it didn't make the photo highlights then). I can't remember when I've ever seen so many water snakes in the banding area.
Northern Water Snake

Banding Data
THURSDAY, October 4, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:33
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): 61-77
Cloud Cover: 30-10-40%
Wind: SSW @ 7-10-12 mph
Barometer: 30.10-30.08
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 72 (plus 6 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 20
Capture Rate: 82.0 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.00 hours, 5:00-15:00): John Bieganowski, Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack.

[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Brown Creeper - 3
Winter Wren - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 4
Hermit Thrush - 5
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 7 (plus 1 recaptured)
Northern Parula - 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat - 2
Song Sparrow - 11 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 3
White-throated Sparrow - 16 (plus 1 released unbanded)
White-crowned Sparrow - 2
American Goldfinch -8 (plus 2 recaptured)

SATURDAY, October 6, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:35
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: 94.250
Temperature (F): 42-50
Cloud Cover: 20-95%
Wind: SW-S @ 5-7-12 mph
Barometer: 29.98-30.07
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 138 (plus 15 recaptured and 7 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 27
Capture Rate: 169.8 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): Paul Bowling, Chris Charlebois (5.5 hrs), Jacob Charlebois (5.5 hrs), Trisha Charlebois (5.5 hrs), Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke.

Red-eyed Vireo - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 2
Brown Creeper - 3
Winter Wren - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 9 (plus 2 released unbanded)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 5
Swainson's Thrush - 5
Hermit Thrush - 20 (plus 3 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 2
Nashville Warbler - 3
Magnolia Warbler - 3
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 8
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 9
Palm Warbler - 1
Bay-breasted Warbler - 2
Blackpoll Warbler - 2
Fox Sparrow - 2
Song Sparrow - 21 (plus 3 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Swamp Sparrow - 3
White-throated Sparrow - 18 (plus 2 recaptured and 3 released unbanded)
White-crowned Sparrow - 2
Northern Cardinal - 2 (plus 2 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
American Goldfinch - 5 (plus 3 recaptured)

1 comment:

Sandy said...


I just discovered your blog today and love it! I'd like to suggest turning your comment word verification off because I'll bet you will get a lot more comments. I have already tried 3 times and about to give up.

Hubby and I are backyard birders and love bird watching! We have a little black capped chickadee who has been sleeping in our rolled-up shade/blind on our covered porch! Today, October 13, 2012 I witnessed a hummingbird feeding at my hanging fuschia plant this morning. Don't hummingbirds migrate south or west? I took down my feeder in mid September thinking they were already gone.

I'm a new follower so if I can get this comment to appear (in spite of word verifcation) I'll come back to see your response. Sandy