Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Metro Beach banding report - September 18-27, 2014

The last half of September saw the weather dry out some, but so also did the migration. There were some warblers initially, but later in the month there was a shift to the later stage of migration with the arrival of some of the sparrows that will dominate banding during October.

Thanks to the following volunteers for making banding on these four days possible: Mary Buchowski, Terri Chapdelaine, Jacob Charlebois, Randy Kling, Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack, and Blanche Wicke. 

Highlights of the 98 birds banded on Thursday, September 18 included 3 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and 3 Marsh Wrens. The only new species banded for the fall was a Gray-cheeked Thrush.
Hatch-year Gray-cheeked Thrush

The lack of a strong buffy eye ring and supraloral stripe, and grayish cheeks, of course distinguish this species. There is another character that I see on some of these Gray-cheeked Thrushes that might be useful in the field. Notice the white patch below the cheek on this individual. Not all Gray-cheeks appear to have it, but on Swainson's Thrushes it is not white, but buffy and not so contrasting. Check it out on the Swainson's Thrush below.
Hatch-year Swainson's Thrush

Warbler species banded included Tennessee, Nashville, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Ovenbird, and Common Yellowthroat. Nearly half the birds banded today were American Goldfinches.

Interesting birds observed but not banded included flyover Northern Harrier and Cooper's Hawk, and a Solitary Sandpiper heard briefly out in the marsh that may also have been a flyover. Two adult Great Horned Owls were calling from two widely separated areas, and a young bird was giving a begging call from yet another area; all well before sunrise. An Eastern Wood-Pewee and a Northern Waterthrush were both calling most of the day, but avoided the nets.

Highlights of the 30 birds banded on Saturday, September 20 included 5 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, which is a good number for this date, although numbers banded so far are on pace to be perhaps the second or third lowest ever at this station.
Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

And on this rather slow day, again about half the birds banded were American Goldfinches, including the 200th of the season.
Hatch-year male American Goldfinch

Interesting birds observed but not banded included an immature Cooper's Hawk that hung around the banding area for too long in the morning, perhaps limiting our catch, a lingering Eastern Wood-Pewee, and a Wood Thrush that popped up right next to our cars. The first White-throated Sparrow of the fall was observed, but failed to find the nets.

Highlights of the 59 birds banded on Thursday, September 25 included the first arrivals of some of the later migrants, like the first Brown Creeper of the season.
Hatch-year Brown Creeper

Palm Warbler is a later migrant than some other warblers, and we had our first of the fall today.
Hatch-year Palm Warbler

And the first two, of many more to come, White-throated Sparrows found their way into our nets today.
Hatch-year White-throated Sparrow

An interesting recapture was a Swamp Sparrow that was originally banded in 2010. Conventional wisdom is that only juveniles have streaks, which sometimes are retained into their first spring. Clearly, this 4 year old bird is retaining some faint streaks.
5th year Swamp Sparrow

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a Sora calling out near the Field Nets, single Eastern Screech and Great Horned Owls, more than 100 Blue Jays flying south over the banding area, and two more arrivals that indicate we're in the second half of migration; single Winter Wren and Golden-crowned Kinglet. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak was heard near the cars.

Highlights of the 67 birds banded on Saturday, September 27 included the first Blue Jay of the season, which is always nice to see, and especially to share with visitors despite how common they are.
Hatch-year Blue Jay

An unusual capture, for us, was a Tufted Titmouse. This was the 5th one this fall, which is a record number for the station. They are not terribly common in the park, with limited habitat, and don't often find their way back to the swamp woods where the station is located.
Hatch-year Tufted Titmouse

A Marsh Wren captured today was the 19th of the season, which is the most since 2004 (Ellie Cox had three fall seasons with more than 20 each. This was a very fresh hatch-year, with "dandruff" in the form of white specks of feather sheaths visible on its crown and back. The plumage they have just after leaving the nest is duller, with much less prominent black back feathers with white centers.
Hatch-year Marsh Wren

Usually, the first Hermit Thrushes of the fall are seen before they are captured, but today the opposite was true, as the only one seen was hanging in the nets.
Hatch-year Hermit Thrush

Right on schedule, the first two White-crowned Sparrows of the fall were captured today, also just seen in the nets, not around the banding area.
Hatch-year White-crowned Sparrow

Probably the most nondescript bird of the day was the most unusual, a female Indigo Bunting. The average number of Indigo Buntings banded at this station is less than 1 per season.
After hatch-year female Indigo Bunting

Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a flyover Northern Harrier, a single Ruby-crowned Kinglet near the cars, a calling Wood Thrush, a somewhat late Northern Waterthrush, and a flyover Pine Siskin in the early morning.

Banding Data
THURSDAY, September 18, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:15
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 52-61
Cloud Cover: 0-100-70%
Wind: NW-NE @ 3-5-10 mph
Barometer:  29.40-29.52
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 98 (plus 31 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 19
Capture Rate: 141.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): Dave Lancaster, Tom Schlack (5.5 hrs), Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Downy Woodpecker - 2 recaptured]
[Black-capped Chickadee - 2 recaptured]
Marsh Wren - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 2
[Gray Catbird - 1 recaptured]
Tennessee Warbler - 2
Nashville Warbler - 3
Magnolia Warbler - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
Ovenbird - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 12 (plus 4 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 8 (plus 10 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 8
American Goldfinch - 48 (plus 7 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)

SATURDAY, September 20, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:17
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 11:45 (wind forced early close)
Hours Open: 5.75
No. of Nets: 4.0-10.0 (shortage of volunteers = fewer nets open)
Net Hours: 54.00
Temperature (F): 56-73
Cloud Cover: 70-40%
Wind: SW-S @ 3-5-15 mph
Barometer: 29.36-29.25
Precipitation:  None.
No. Banded: 30 (plus 14 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 9
Capture Rate: 83.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 8.5 hours, 5:00-13:30): Mary Buchowski (3.0 hrs), Jacob Charlebois, Tom Schlack (2.5 hrs). 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
Marsh Wren - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Nashville Warbler - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 3 (plus 3 recaptured)
[Song Sparrow - 3 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 16 (plus 5 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)

THURSDAY, September 25, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:23
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 59-73
Cloud Cover: 20-30%
Wind: S-SE @ 3-5-7 mph
Barometer: 29.71-29.70
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 59 (plus 10 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 16
Capture Rate: 76.1 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Randy Kling, Dave Lancaster, Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 7
Tufted Titnouse - 1
Brown Creeper - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 3
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 2
Palm Warbler - 1
Blackpoll Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 6 (plus 2 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 1
American Goldfinch - 27 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)

SATURDAY, September 27, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:25
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.50
No. of Nets: 5.0-14.0
Net Hours: 94.00
Temperature (F): 54-75
Cloud Cover: 20-0%
Wind: Calm-SE @ 0-3-5 mph
Barometer: 29.66-29.65
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 67 (plus 15 recaptured)
No. of Species: 17
Capture Rate: 87.2 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Mary Buchowski, Terri Chapdelaine, Blanche Wicke. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Northern Flicker - 2
Blue Jay - 2
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured]
Tufted Titmouse - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Marsh Wren - 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 2
Hermit Thrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 12 (plus 4 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 6 (plus 4 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 12
White-crowned Sparrow - 2
Indigo Bunting - 1
American Goldfinch - 18 (plus 3 recaptured)

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