Sunday, October 28, 2012

Metro Beach banding statrion report - October 25 & 26, 2012

As often happens in Michigan this time of year, we had a day of near-summer followed by a day of near-winter this past week. On Thursday, October 25, the warm conditions allowed us to keep the nets open for the full standardized time period in the protocol. On Friday, rain closed us down fairly early for nearly three hours, but once that stopped it was a very productive banding day despite the temperature having dropped 7 degrees since sunrise with the passage of the cold front. A new species for the station was banded this week, but surprisingly not just a single individual but a total of 19...13 on Thursday and 6 on Friday!

Many thanks to the following banding volunteers who made banding on these two days possible: John Bieganowski, Paul Bowling, Doug Carmack, Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack, Blanche Wicke, and Sue Wright.

Highlights of the 69 birds banded on Thursday, October 25 included a good number of Hermit Thrushes, plus a late (for us in this habitat) American Robin that was drawn in to the owl "tape" that we play at the end of October before the sun comes up. The first (and possibly only) Eastern Towhee of the fall was this hatch-year female.

Hatch-year female Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhees can be aged by their eye color; red in after hatch-year and brown in hatch-year.
Hatch-year female Eastern Towhee

A fairly good number of sparrows were captured today, including a fairly late Lincoln's, but the real highlight was a new species for the station, Pine Siskin! The second one banded (both from the same net run) is shown in the photos below, but before the day ended we had banded a total of 13 of them.
After hatch-year female Pine Siskin

After hatch-year female Pine Siskin

After hatch-year female Pine Siskin

Siskins are aged by skull ossification, and according to Pyle only after hatch-year birds can be sexed this time of year. My entire life's experience with banding siskins before today was two winters ago in my backyard banding station when I banded 28 of them. Of the 13 siskins banded today, only two were after hatch-year, the female above and the male below.
After hatch-year male Pine Siskin

After hatch-year male Pine Siskin

After hatch-year male siskins tend to have more yellow, and longer wings, than females. The male above even had broad yellow tips on its greater secondary coverts (the larger wing bar). I also noticed that the hatch-year siskins seemed to be a bit more contrasty with more sharply defined streaking, but I don't know if this is a dependable characteristic.
Hatch-year Pine Siskin

The amount of yellow in the wings (on the bases of primaries and secondaries) of these hatch-years varied from a little to none.
Hatch-year Pine Siskin

Hatch-year Pine Siskin

And the yellow in the tail also varied, though only one individual showed almost no yellow.
Hatch-year Pine Siskin

Hatch-year Pine Siskin

Interesting birds observed but not banded today included an Eastern Screech-Owl that responded by calling back to the audio lure, but not going into the net, a Carolina Wren still singing, two flyover American Pipits, two Fox Sparrows (one singing!), and a singing Purple Finch. Today was the first day since early August with no warblers seen or banded.

Highlights of the 73 birds banded on Friday, October 26 included four Brown Creepers, which brought the season's total to a record of 28.
Hatch-year Brown Creeper

An influx of Yellow-rumped Warblers after the rain stopped gave us hope that there may still be a few yet to come through.
Hatch-year female Yellow-rumped Warbler

And sparrow numbers remained fairly good, especially of Song Sparrow which seems to peak later than most species except Fox, Tree, and Dark-eyed Junco.
Hatch-year Song Sparrow

And getting 6 more Pine Siskins today made me wonder why we haven't gotten them before now...the winter of 2009/2010 was a really big one for siskins yet none dropped into our nets. And there have been flyovers in other years as well.
Hatch-year Pine Siskin

Interesting birds observed but not banded today included a flyover Killdeer, a flyover Eastern Bluebird (rare in this park), and a calling Eastern Towhee. No American Tree Sparrows have arrived yet in the banding area, which they typically do around October 25.

Banding Data
THURSDAY, October 25, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:57
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
No. of Nets: 5.0-13.5
Net Hours: 85.875
Temperature (F): 57-72
Cloud Cover: 20%
Wind: S-SE @ 5-7-10 mph
Barometer: 30.03-29.97
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 69 (plus 6 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 14
Capture Rate: 88.5 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.00 hours, 5:00-14:00): Paul Bowling, Doug Carmack, Blanche Wicke, Sue Wright.

Black-capped Chickadee - 2
Brown Creeper - 3
Winter Wren - 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 2
Hermit Thrush - 10
American Robin - 1
Eastern Towhee - 1
Song Sparrow - 5 (plus 3 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 7 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 15 (plus 1 recaptured)
PINE SISKIN - 13 (plus 1 released unbanded)
American Goldfinch - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)

FRIDAY, October 26, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:58
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 14:00
Hours Open: 5.5 (closed from 7:15-10:00)
No. of Nets: 5.0-13.5
Net Hours: 68.00
Temperature (F): 55-48-50
Cloud Cover: 100-90-100%
Wind: WNW-NW @ 7-10-15 mph
Barometer: 30.02-30.24
Precipitation: Rain from 7:15-10:00
No. Banded: 73 (plus 17 recaptured and 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 15
Capture Rate: 136.8 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.5 hours, 5:00-15:30): John Bieganowski, Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack.

Downy Woodpeker - 2
Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Brown Creeper - 4
Winter Wren - 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 6
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Hermit Thrush - 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 2
[Fox Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Song Sparrow - 14 (plus 4 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 9 (plus 3 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 9 (plus 3 released unbanded)
Northern Cardinal - 4
PINE SISKIN - 6 (plus 2 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 9 (plus 5 recaptured)

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