Friday, May 3, 2013

Metro Beach banding station report - April 24-30, 2013

This past week was quite a mixture of seasons. An attempt to band on April 24 was thwarted first by an insufficient number of volunteers. Then, after working out a "plan B" where with one volunteer we'd open only 8 of the 13 nets, the weather forced cancellation for the second time this spring. The temperature was 39 at 6 a.m., and the rain was steady and blowing nearly sideways. By 9 a.m., when we threw in the towel (and used it to dry off!), it was down to 36 degrees and there was some snow mixed in, and still blowing sideways. The prediction from a few days earlier was nowhere near this bad! But conditions on Saturday, April 27 and Tuesday, April 30, were much improved, although the starting temperature on the 27th was a bit low and a band of rain that was not predicted shut us down early on the 30th. Results for these two days were remarkably similar in numbers, though the species composition of each day was quite different. There were still a fair number of sparrows being captured, as well as Red-winged Blackbirds, with just the first trickle of warblers starting to come in.

Many thanks to the following volunteers who made banding on these two days possible: Mary Buchowski, Kathy McDonald, Marie McGee, Scott Nottmeier, and Blanche Wicke. And special thanks to David Boon for waiting out the freezing monsoon on the 24th before we had to cancel, and to Tom Schlack for coming in a little later for support.

Highlights of the 54 birds banded on Saturday, April 27 included a Mourning Dove, a very common species that is rarely banded at this station.
After hatch-year male Mourning Dove

Another infrequently banded species here is Hairy Woodpecker, so it was nice to catch this second-year female.
Second-year female Hairy Woodpecker

In-hand, the nasal tufts that give the species its name can be examined closely, though they do use their bills on fingers the same way they use it on trees.
Second-year female Hairy Woodpecker

Continuing on the theme of infrequently banded species, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher typically arrives in mid-April though this year they were a week later than that, so it was surprising to catch one today.
After hatch-year male Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

After hatch-year male Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

The only warbler captured today was the first Black-throated Green Warbler noted in the banding area this spring.
Second-year male
Black-throated Green Warbler

Second-year male
Black-throated Green Warbler

An American Tree Sparrow was a surprise today, as the latest one had been banded here previously was April 23.
After hatch-year American Tree Sparrow

The first Common Grackles of the season were banded today, even though they've been around for at least a month. This nice after second-year male showed off his iridescence nicely.
After second-year male Common Grackle

Interesting birds observed but not banded included two flyover Turkey Vultures possibly migrating late, at least a dozen Blue-winged Teal out in a temporary pond near the Field Nets, a Solitary Sandpiper teasing us as it flew everywhere except into the nets, a single and somewhat late Golden-crowned Kinglet, and an Eastern Towhee.

Highlights of the 53 birds banded on Tuesday, April 30 included yet another Hairy Woodpecker, this one a male, along with the recapture of the one banded on the 27th, and another recaptured that had been banded in 2007. Never before has there been three Hairy Woodpeckers captured in the same day here!
After hatch-year male Hairy Woodpecker

The first Yellow Warblers of the season, two of them, were both males that had been banded previously including one that had been banded in 2007.
After second-year male Yellow Warbler

A new arrival was Common Yellowthroat, which was only detected in the banding area for the first time this spring today, and was followed up by capturing a previously banded individual.
After hatch-year male Common Yellowthroat

Interesting birds observed but not banded today included two flyover Common Loons, two calling Soras, three Wilson's Snipe, including two sitting just a few feet from the Field Edge net that flushed away from the nets (frustrating!), a singing Blue-headed Vireo, and a singing Northern Waterthrush.

Banding Data
SATURDAY, April 27, 2013
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:33
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 14:00
Hours Open: 8.00
No. of Nets: 3.75-13.75
Net Hours: 97.50
Temperature (F): 39-66
Cloud Cover: 10-0-20%
Wind: Calm-SE @ 0-3-7 mph
Barometer: 29.70-29.63
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 54 (plus 14 recaptured and 5 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 20
Capture Rate: 74.9 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.50 hours, 5:00-15:30): Mary Buchowski (5.0 hrs), Scott Nottmeier (8.5 hrs), Blanche Wicke (10.5 hrs)
Mourning Dove - 1
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Hairy Woodpecker - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Brown Creeper - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
House Wren - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 1
[Hermit Thrush - 1 recaptured]
American Robin - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
European Starling - 1
Black-throated Green Warbler - 1
American Tree Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 10 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 15 (plus 2 recaptured and 4 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 2
American Goldfinch - 11 (plus 4 recaptured)

TUESDAY, April 30, 2013
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:28
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:15
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 11:15 (rain forced early close)
Hours Open: 5.00
No. of Nets: 4.75-13.75
Net Hours: 59.25
Temperature (F): 52-59
Cloud Cover: 10-100%
Wind: SE @ 5-7-10 mph
Barometer: 29.36-29.49
Precipitation: Rain at 11:30+
No. Banded: 53 (plus 14 recaptured and 5 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 14
Capture Rate: 121.5 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 8.5 hours, 5:00-15:30): Kathy McDonald, Marie McGee.

Hairy Woodpecker - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Blue Jay - 9 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Tree Swallow - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
American Robin - 1
[Yellow Warbler - 2 recaptured]
[Common Yellowthroat - 1 recaptured]
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 15 (plus 1 recaptured)
[White-throated Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Northern Cardinal - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 17 (plus 1 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 2 (plus 2 released unbanded)
American Goldfinch - 4 (plus 5 recaptured)

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