Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Metro Beach banding report - August 3-14, 2014

After a cool, wet summer, a team of volunteers came out to Lake St. Clair Metropark on Sunday, August 3 to clear net lanes to kick off the fall banding season at the Metro Beach banding station. The cool temperatures left the vegetation not as tall as it often is in August, but the rain (and improved water flow of the marshes) kept mud and water in the area for the first time...ever. So, over the next couple weeks, we had to don our boots that we'd used during spring, as more than half of the 7-acre banding area had both mud and water. The first half of August is typically characterized by the capture of recently fledged young of locally breeding species, and that is primarily what was captured. Based on the number of birds captured, many of these birds had a great nesting season. Record rainfall on August 11 filled up the wetlands of the banding area even more.

Highlights of the 31 birds banded on Sunday, August 3 included hatch-year Yellow Warblers, with pristine and bright feathers.
Hatch-year Yellow Warbler

Juvenile Swamp Sparrows were captured also, looking a lot like Lincoln's Sparrow. But note that the buffy malar is not bordered with dark on both sides, as it is in Lincoln's, and the crown is generally darker.
Hatch-year Swamp Sparrow

I always like to photograph the first bird captured for the season. Often, I have a choice as multiple birds can be captured on the first net run of the first day. This fall, it was unambiguous as just a single bird was captured on the first run...a hatch-year male Brown-headed Cowbird.
Hatch-year male Brown-headed Cowbird

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a Green Heron perched in the dead branches in the center of the Field Nets (before the nets were up), a singing Alder Flycatcher in the marsh, and a calling Northern Waterthrush near the road.

Highlights of the 119 birds banded on Thursday, August 7 included the first Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (7) of the fall, including the hatch-year male below.
Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

An Eastern Wood-Pewee recaptured today had been originally banded as an adult in 2009.
After hatch-year Eastern Wood-Pewee

Another flycatcher captured was an Eastern Kingbird, a species that is very infrequently banded at this station.
Hatch-year Eastern Kingbird

The last thing a dragonfly sees!

Another infrequently captured species is Carolina Wren, represented today by this hatch-year bird.
Hatch-year Carolina Wren

Cedar Waxwings, so far, have only ever been captured during August, and only in the Field Nets. There is a good crop of dogwood berries that attracts them there, but it is unclear why only that time of year as the berries persist well into the fall.
After hatch-year female Cedar Waxwing

Hatch-year Cedar Waxwing

Very few Chipping Sparrows are found at any time of year in the banding area, as they do not frequent swamp woods and cattail marsh. So it was a surprise to catch a juvenile in the "Upland" nets.
Hatch-year Chipping Sparrow

Hatch-year Chipping Sparrow

The only Common Grackle of the day was this juvenile, which had dark eyes typical of the youngest birds. Most will have yellow eyes by next spring, but a very few will still have duller yellow even then.
Hatch-year Common Grackle

Only a single Baltimore Oriole was captured, suggesting that perhaps they've moved out of the area already.
After hatch-year female Baltimore Oriole

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a Red-shouldered Hawk calling for at least two hours in the morning near the residential area outside the park to the west of the banding area. An American Woodcock was flushed from the Field Nets net lane during setup in the morning.

Highlights of the 120 birds banded on Sunday, August 10 included a station first, and a personal first, Green Heron! Surprisingly, it was not captured in the Field Nets where one had been seen checking out the numerous Leopard Frogs in the net lanes there, but in one of the Willow Nets near the road.
Hatch-year Green Heron

Hatch-year Green Heron

This bird was aged as hatch-year based on the round white tips on the greater secondary coverts. They aren't supposed to have any green iridescence on these feathers, but many of them did.
Hatch-year Green Heron

An excellent total of 7 Warbling Vireos was banded today, all of them captured in the Field Nets where they are probably attracted to the dogwood berries.
Hatch-year Warbling Vireo

Judging by the call notes coming from the marsh, it was a good year for Marsh Wrens, and the first of the season was captured today.
Hatch-year Marsh Wren

Other than some (most?) of the Yellow Warblers and Willow/Alder Flycatchers, the first migrants of the fall season were two Northern Waterthrushes banded today.
Hatch-year Northern Waterthrush

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a Common Gallinule calling from somewhere north of the banding road, and a calling Least Flycatcher which was probably a migrant.

Highlights of the 51 birds banded on Thursday, August 14 were difficult to determine, as there were no new species for the season. Juvenile Common Yellowthroats continued to be captured. They can be confusing to some birders, as for a short time after leaving the nest they have very little yellow on the underparts, and distinct cinnamon wing bars.
Hatch-year (juv) Common Yellowthroat

Three Marsh Wrens today was a good total.
Hatch-year Marsh Wren

Interesting birds observed but not banded included an apparently migrating Broad-winged Hawk, and three flyover (and noisy) Caspian Terns.

Banding Data
SUNDAY, August 3, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:27
Time Open (E.S.T.): 9:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 4.00
No. of Nets: 4.0-12.0
Net Hours: 38.00
Temperature (F): 61-77
Cloud Cover: 20%
Wind: WNW @ 1-3-5 mph
Barometer: 30.18-30.18
Precipitation: Haze
No. Banded: 31 (plus 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species:12
Capture Rate: 84.2 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 8.0 hours, 7:00-15:00): Mary Buchowski, Jacob Charlebois (6.0 hrs), Annie Crary (2.0 hrs), Joan Tisdale.

Downy Woodpecker - 1
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Gray Catbird - 1
Yellow Warbler - 7
Common Yellowthroat - 4
Song Sparrow - 7
Swamp Sparrow - 3
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 3
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
American Goldfinch - 1

THURSDAY, August 7, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:31
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.0
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 91.00
Temperature (F): 59-77
Cloud Cover: 20-40%
Wind: Calm-SE @ 0-5-7 mph
Barometer: 30.14-30.15
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 119 (plus 12 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 21
Capture Rate: 147.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): Chris Charlebois (0.5 hrs), Jacob Charlebois, Sarah Luca (4.5 hrs), Marie McGee (4.5 hrs), Steve Mangas, Blanche Wicke

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 7 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Northern Flicker - 1 recaptured]
[Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1 recaptured]
Willow Flycatcher - 3
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 3
Warbling Vireo - 2
Black-capped Chickadee - 2
Carolina Wren - 1
House Wren - 1
American Robin - 2
Gray Catbird - 2
Cedar Waxwing - 2
Yellow Warbler - 22 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Yellowthroat - 11 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Song Sparrow - 17 (plus 1 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Swamp Sparrow - 15 plus 2 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 24
Common Grackle - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 1
American Goldfinch - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)

SUNDAY, August 10, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:34
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 84.00
Temperature (F): 63-81
Cloud Cover: 70-40%
Wind: NE-SE @ 1-3-7 mph
Barometer: 30.10-30.13
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 120 (plus 19 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 22
Capture Rate: 167.9 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): Jacob Charlebois, Steve Mangas, Blanche Wicke

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Northern Flicker - 3
Alder Flycatcher - 1
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 7
Black-capped Chickadee - 3
Tufted Titmouse - 2
House Wren - 1
Marsh Wren - 1
American Robin - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 2
Cedar Waxwing - 2
Yellow Warbler - 17 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Northern Waterthrush - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 5 (plus 5 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Song Sparrow - 29 (plus 6 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 14 (plus 3 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 11
Baltimore Oriole - 1
House Finch - 3
American Goldfinch - 6 (plus 3 recaptured)

THURSDAY, August 14, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:38
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:15
Hours Open: 6.5
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 84.00
Temperature (F): 55-66
Cloud Cover: 20-40%
Wind: NW @ 5-7-12 mph
Barometer: 30.04-30.06
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 51 (plus 17 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 13
Capture Rate: 83.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Steve Mangas, Marie McGee, Sarah Toner (8.5 hrs), Blanche Wicke (7.0 hrs)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 2
Northern Flicker - 1
Willos Flycatcher - 1
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 4
Marsh Wren - 3
American Robin - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 1
Yellow Warbler - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 4 (plus 7 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Swamp Sparrow - 3 (plus 3 recaptured)
House Finch - 8
American Goldfinch - 16 (plus 3 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)