Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Metro Beach banding report - May 30 - June 8, 2013

Late migrants have been banded at this station into the first week of June, which is why the season is extended into this month. In addition, this last week or so typically results in the capture of the first fledged young of some locally breeding species, as well as documenting the initiation of breeding of others through the detection of brood patches, cloacal protuberances, or visible eggs in their abdomens. Other than one final migrant on May 30, this week's results focused on the latter though there were still some interesting captures. In addition to banding on Thursday, May 30, an attempt was made to band a third day this week, on Saturday, June 1, to compensate for the days rained out earlier in the season. But ironically, the threat of rain caused me to cancel this day too, something that I rarely do in advance. And unfortunately, the rain never materialized despite the dire predictions on The Weather Channel and elsewhere. Banding on Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8 went well, with good weather both days.

Banding could not have been conducted on these three days without the help of the following volunteers: John Bieganowski, Jacob Charlebois, Mary Mangas, Steve Mangas, Marie McGee, Tom Schlack, Joan Tisdale, and Blanche Wicke.

Highlights of the 29 birds banded on Thursday, May 30 included only a single migrant, and the last migrant of the spring season, a single Swainson's Thrush.
After hatch-year Swainson's Thrush

Interesting birds observed but not banded included flyover Green Heron and Black-crowned Night-Heron, and a reappearance of winnowing Wilson's Snipe after they'd fallen silent for a couple weeks. Other migrants in the banding area were singles of Wood Thrush and Wilson's Warbler.

Highlights of the 71 birds banded on Friday, June 7 included the 20,000th bird banded here since 2004, a Yellow Warbler. It was also the 42nd Yellow Warbler banded this spring, along with 20 individuals returning from previous years. So this common nesting species is a fitting milestone.
Second-year male Yellow Warbler. 20,000th bird banded!

And, here is the happy banding crew with this celebrity bird.
Left to Right, Allen Chartier, Steve Mangas, Yellow Watrbler,
Tom Schlack, Marie McGee

An amazing SEVEN Northern Rough-winged Swallows were banded today, including males with cloacal protuberances and females with brood patches.
After hatch-year male Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Another surprise today was the capture of two Cedar Waxwings, only the second and third of the spring.
After hatch-year female Cedar Waxwing

One of the waxwings I aged as second-year based on a single old and worn retained (apparent) juvenile primary feather.
Second-year female Cedar Waxwing

Yet another surprise was a stunning male Indigo Bunting...a surprise since none have been heard singing in the banding area all spring. It had a cloacal protuberance, so was likely breeding in the area but may have been a late migant.
Second-year male Indigo Bunting

 More expected were the recently fledged young of American Robin and European Starling.
Hatch-year American Robin

Hatch-year European Starling

 Many banding stations do not band non-native species, like House Sparrows and European Starlings, but the protocol established at this station by my predecessor, Ellie Cox, means that all these get banded. Typically, very few are captured, but this spring there have been many more European Starlings than ever before. Among the SIX banded today (more than in most YEARS), were two adults allowing a comparison of the pink bill base of the female and the blue bill base of the male.
After hatch-year female European Starling

After hatch-year male European Starling

But the biggest surprise of the day came around noon, when an American Woodcock blundered into a net we had just walked past 5 minutes prior. They do nest in the banding area, but are rarely detected after they stop displaying in mid-April, though this is not the first banded here. This was the fourth since 2004, and the third in spring.
After second-year male American Woodcock

After second-year male American Woodcock

 Highlights of the 32 birds banded on Saturday, June 8 included three Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, which included two nice adult males. The two photos below show quite well the directional characteristic of the red iridescence on the throat. Almost every year, someone communicates with me that they have a Black-chinned Hummingbird coming to their feeder, but so far in every case it has been a Ruby-throat in lighting conditions that did not reflect the red of the throat, but mostly (or entirely) black.
After hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Of course, at the right angle, the throat glows ruby-red as expected.
After hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 Two more American Goldfinches banded today, including the bright after second-year male below, brought the season's total to a record of 111.
After second-year male American Goldfinch

 Seven more Red-winged Blackbirds banded today brough the season's total to 101, which is on a par with the totals for the past 5 spring seasons, but higher than in earlier years. The second-year male below was a bit unusual in that it looked a lot like a female, lacking coloration in the shoulders. But it was clearly larger, as males tend to weigh about 60 grams and females about 40.
Second-year male Red-winged Blackbird

And the last bird banded in the Spring 2013 season  was a second-year female (large brood patch) Common Grackle.
Second-year male Common Grackle

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a flyover Great Egret, a singing Willow Flycatcher, singing Red-eyed Vireo (probably not nesting), and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (probably nesting).

Banding Data
THURSDAY, May 30, 2013
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 4:59
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open: 7.0
No. of Nets: 4.75-13.75
Net Hours:89.25
Temperature (F): 64-79
Cloud Cover: 30-10-60%
Wind: SSW @ 3-5-12 mph
Barometer: 29.42-29.40
Precipitation: None (thunderstorms after close)
No. Banded: 29 (plus 21 recaptured)
No. of Species: 13
Capture Rate: 56.0 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): John Bieganowski, Dave Lancaster, Marie McGee, Tom Schlack.

Downy Woodpecker - 1
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swainson's Thrush - 1
American Robin - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
European Starling - 1
Yellow Warbler - 2 (plus 4 recaptured)
[Common Yellowthroat - 3 recaptured][Song Sparrow - 2 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 4 (plus 4 recaptured)
Common Grackle - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 1
American Goldfinch - 14 (plus 3 recaptured)

FRIDAY, June 7, 2013
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 4:56
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.50
No. of Nets: 4.75-13.75
Net Hours: 96.125
Temperature (F): 55-59
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind: NNW-NNE @ 3-5-10 mph
Barometer: 29.27-29.28
Precipitation: Trace rain
No. Banded: 71 (plus 25 recaptured and 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 23
Capture Rate: 103.0 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.5 hours, 5:00-15:30): Steve Mangas, Marie McGee, Tom Schlack.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3
Willow Flycatcher - 1
["Traill's" Flycatcher -1 recaptured]
Tree Swallow - 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow -7
[Black-capped Chickadee - 3 recaptured]
House Wren - 1
American Robin -6 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Gray Catbird - 1 recaptured]
European Starling - 6
Cedar Waxwing - 2
Yellow Warbler - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Song Sparrow - 6 (plus 6 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Swamp Sparrow - 2
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
Indigo Bunting - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 23 (plus 5 recaptured)
Common Grackle - 4 (plus 2 released unbanded)
[Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 recaptured]
[Baltimore Oriole - 2 recaptured]
American Goldfinch - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)

SATURDAY, June 8, 2013
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 4:56
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.75-13.75
Net Hours: 93.938
Temperature (F):59-66
Cloud Cover: 100-80%
Wind: NW-SE @ 1-3-10 mph
Barometer: 29.30-29.39
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 32 (plus 21 recaptured)
No. of Species: 13
Capture Rate: 56.4 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Jacob Charlebois (6.0 hrs), Mary Mangas, Steve Mangas, Dave Lancaster (5.5 hrs), Joan Tisdale, Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird -3
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 2
American Robin - 4 (plus 2 recaptured)
European Starling - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow Warbler - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat - 1 (plus 4 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 7 (plus 5 recaptured)
Common Grackle -3
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 2 (plus 4 recaptured)