Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Metro Beach banding report - October 2-11, 2014

Cooler and drier conditions prevailed during this two-week period (4 days of banding), allowing the banding area to dry out a bit, though there is still plenty of mud. Warblers are clearly not finished yet, with some surprising and somewhat late captures. And sparrows were increasing, but not building yet to the large numbers expected by this time. Thrushes continued in rather low numbers, while kinglets are late getting started.

Many thanks to the following volunteers for making banding possible on these four days: David Flak, Randy Kling, Dave Lancaster, Steve Mangas, Ann McKlinsky, Jeff Silence, and Blanche Wicke.

Highlights of the 39 birds banded on Thursday, October 2 included the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird captured at this location during October. More interesting was that it had originally been banded here 7 days before, on September 25. And even more interesting, it weighed 2.7 grams when banded, and 5.0 grams today, nearly doubling its body weight in a week!
Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The first Wood Thrush of the fall was somewhat late, but a nice capture as typically only one or two are banded each fall.
Hatch-year Wood Thrush

And a rather late, but not the latest, Northern Waterthrush was banded today. Another was observed in the banding area later, lacking any bands, so clearly there were two around.
Hatch-year Northern Waterthrush

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a calling Virginia Rail near the Field Nets, and somewhat late Black-and-white Warbler and American Redstart, and a flyover Pine Siskin.

Highlights of the 33 birds banded on Saturday, October 4 included an interesting adult Black-capped Chickadee.
After hatch-year Black-capped Chickadee

It was interesting because it showed the tail pattern that is shown in the Pyle Guide for adult (after hatch-year) chickadees. The reason this is unusual is that despite my having recaptured many known adult chickadees over the years, almost none actually show this pattern. Notice in the photo below how the white on the outer webs of the tail feathers wraps around the tips to the inside of the feather.
After hatch-year Black-capped Chickadee

Most adult chickadees I've handled have worn tail feathers that are pointy, and white only on the outer webs, like hatch-year birds. I don't know if other banding stations have experienced this.

The first Winter Wrens of the season were captured today.
Hatch-year Winter Wren

And a late Ovenbird was a bit of a surprise, after a season with fewer than normal.
Hatch-year Ovenbird

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a flyover Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Peregrine Falcon perched in a tree on the shoreline feeding on a Blue Jay (thanks Paul!), a calling Sora in the marsh, both species of kinglet, and Tennessee, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, and Blackburnian (very late) Warblers.

Highlights of the 106 birds banded on Thursday, October 9 included the first kinglet of the season, a male Golden-crowned.
Hatch-year male Golden-crowned Kinglet

A single Swainson's Thrush among the many Hermits was somewhat late. The retained buff-spotted juvenile greater secondary coverts clearly indicate this bird is a hatch-year.
Hatch-year Swainson's Thrush

Just about on schedule, the first Yellow-rumped Warblers of the fall were banded today.
Hatch-year female Yellow-rumped Warbler

Not terribly late, but not many are banded in October here, was an American Redstart.
After hatch-year female American Redstart

And yet another Northern Waterthrush was banded today, this one a record late for banding. Another Ovenbird today was also late, but nowhere near the record (Oct 22, 2009).
Hatch-year Northern Waterthrush

An unusual species for us to catch in the marsh is Field Sparrow, and we had one today, which may be the only one we get though last fall we had an amazing 10, which broke the previous record of two!
Hatch-year Field Sparrow

Hatch-year Field Sparrow

An unusual White-throated Sparrow found its way into the nets; it had orange spots in front of the eyes instead of yellow, and the feathers at the bend of the wing which are usually pale yellow were peach-colored.
After hatch-year White-throated Sparrow

After hatch-year White-throated Sparrow

Interesting birds observed included flyover Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks, and a very curious Red-tailed Hawk that perched on a branch only about 10 yards away from where I was banding the birds!
Red-tailed Hawk

In the marsh, Sora and Marsh Wrens were heard and a Wilson's Snipe was seen and heard. Two Great Horned Owls were calling first thing in the morning, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was heard after daybreak. A Fox Sparrow was the first of the season, and there was a flyover Pine Siskin later in the day. Butterflies were seen today, includign a Monarch, Red Admiral, Question Mark, and a nice Mourning Cloak that perched on a tree right next to the banding station. This individual is likely to overwinter in leaf litter and emerge again early next spring.
Mourning Cloak
Highlights of the 52 birds banded on Saturday, October 11 included the very early capture of an Eastern Screech-Owl. As it turns out, it was already banded...last fall as a hatch-year bird. It is interesting that although its facial feathering suggests it is a gray morph, there are quite a few brown feathers on its upper parts.
After hatch-year Eastern Screech-Owl

After hatch-year Eastern Screech-Owl

After hatch-year Eastern Screech-Owl

Three Downy Woodpeckers were captured today, all of them showing an interesting peach-colored stain (?) on their foreheads and throats. Possibly some type of pollen?
Hatch-year male Downy Woodpecker

Typically a later migrant, the first Blue-headed Vireo of the season turned up today as almost the last bird of the day.
Hatch-year Blue-headed Vireo

A bit overdue, but usually banded in small numbers, Orange-crowned Warblers were captured and banded today. In fact, all three were in the Field Edge net on the same net run. There were also at least 3-4 others flying around in the weedy fields near there.
Hatch-year male Orange-crowned Warbler

Note in the photo above that the undertail coverts are the brightest part of this bird, being bright yellow. Also, the face pattern consists of a broken eye ring and a dull darkish eye line. Having three of these birds at once provided us an interesting chance to compare the variations in face patterns, with some birds showing more of a pale eye line than others.
Hatch-year male Orange-crowned Warbler

Hatch-year female Orange-crowned Warbler

Another hatch-year female Orange-crowned Warbler

Not particularly late for this species, this nice male Black-throated Blue Warbler was only the 8th one this fall. The previous 9-year average is 15. Where are they? Note also the large white wing patch on this individual, which some would use in the field to call it an adult. But this bird clearly had an incompletely ossified skull, confirming it as a hatch-year.
Hatch-year male Black-throated Blue Warbler

Common Yellowthroats have been banded here as late as October 30, but by mid-month they are getting sparse. So, the three today was notable, and brought the season's total to 77, which is a bit above average.
Hatch-year Common Yellowthroat

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a little bit of hawk migration in the form of 3 Sharp-shinned and 2 Cooper's Hawks, a calling Eastern Phoebe, a good number of Golden-crowned and a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a somewhat late American Redstart, the first Eastern Towhee,  Dark-eyed Junco, and Rusty Blackbird of the season. Two Pine Siskins flew over, showing no interest in the thistle feeders, which seem to have been abandoned by the goldfinches too.

Banding Data
THURSDAY, October 2, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:30
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 59-70
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind: NNE-ESE @ 3-5-10 mph
Barometer:  29.39-29.35
Precipitation: None. Fog in a.m.
No. Banded: 39 (plus 12 recaptured, 4 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 16
Capture Rate: 59.8 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.0 hours, 5:00-14:00): Randy Kling, Dave Lancaster, Blanche Wicke.

[Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1 recaptured]
[Tufted Titmouse - 1 recaptured]
Swainson's Thrush - 3
Wood Thrush - 1
Gray Catbird - 1
Tennessee Warbler - 5
Nashville Warbler - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Song Sparrow - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2
Swamp Sparrow - 2 (plus 4 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 12 (plus 3 released unbanded)
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
[Northern Cardinal - 2 recaptured]
American Goldfinch - 6 (plus 3 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)

SATURDAY, October 4, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:33
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00 (rain delayed full opening)
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:30 (rain & wind forced early close)
Hours Open: 6.5
No. of Nets: 4.0-14.0
Net Hours: 71.00
Temperature (F): 46-48
Cloud Cover: 100-95-100%
Wind: WSW @ 5-7-15 mph
Barometer: 29.98-29.03
Precipitation:  Rain in a.m.
No. Banded: 33 (plus 16 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 17
Capture Rate: 70.4 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.5 hours, 5:00-14:30): Ann McKlinsky, Jeff Silence (7.0 hrs), Blanche Wicke.

Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Winter Wren - 2
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Wood Thrush - 1
Nashville Warbler - 2
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
Palm Warbler - 2
Ovenbird - 1
[Northern Waterthrush - 1 recaptured]
Common Yellowthroat - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 8 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 2
White-throated Sparrow - 3
White-crowned Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 4 (plus 7 recaptured)

THURSDAY, October 9, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:38
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:15
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.0
No. of Nets: 6.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 45-61
Cloud Cover: 50-20-50%
Wind: WSW-W @ 3-5-7 mph
Barometer: 29.36-29.43
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 106 (plus 13 recaptured)
No. of Species: 25
Capture Rate: 129.3 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.5 hours, 5:00-15:30): David Flak (9.5 hrs), Steve Mangas, Blanche Wicke.

Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Tufted Titmouse - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Brown Creeper - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 1
Hermit Thrush - 17
Gray Catbird - 2
Tennessee Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 3
Palm Warbler - 7 (record day)
American Redstart - 1
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 2
Field Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 9 (plus 3 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
Swamp Sparrow - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 38 (plus 2 recaptured)
[White-crowned Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Northern Cardinal - 1
Indigo Bunting - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 1
American Goldfinch - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)

SATURDAY, October 11, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:40
Time Open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 6.0-14.0
Net Hours: 92.00
Temperature (F): 39-59
Cloud Cover: 20%
Wind: NNW @ 5-7 mph
Barometer: 29.53-29.59
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 52 (plus 11 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 21
Capture Rate: 70.7 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): Steve Mangas, Ann McKlinsky, Blanche Wicke.

[Eastern Screech-Owl - 1 recaptured]
Downy Woodpecker - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Blue-headed Vireo - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 2
Tufted Titmouse - 5
Brown Creeper - 1
Winter Wren - 1
Hermit Thrush - 6 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Orange-crowned Warbler - 3
Nashville Warbler - 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 2
Palm Warbler - 2
[Ovenbird - 1 recaptured]
Common Yellowthroat - 3
Song Sparrow - 6 (plus 5 recaptured)
[Lincoln's Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 4 (plus 1 released unbanded)
White-throated Sparrow - 9
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 1
American Goldfinch - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)

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