Sunday, November 2, 2014

Metro Beach banding station report - the final week

Banding was planned to be conducted on two days in this final week, on Thursday October 30 and on Saturday November 1. But the weather had other ideas, and the session on November 1 was canceled due to high winds present even 2 hours before sunrise, when winds are typically calmest.

Thus concludes my 10th spring and 11th fall season of banding at this locale. This is an identical number of banding seasons conducted between 1989-1999 by my predecessor and mentor, Ellie Cox. I have decided to take a break from banding here, so will not be banding at Lake St. Clair Metropark during 2015. The worsening conditions in the banding area as a result of the successful marsh restoration flooding us out was definitely frustrating and contributed to this decision. Equally frustrating has been the continuing decline in the number of active volunteers coming out to help, leaving a dedicated and much appreciated (and over-worked) core of people without whom I might have thrown in the towel a couple years ago.

My email list for banding at this station will be dissolved, though nobody will be removed from my address book. I have some ideas for restarting a banding program at Lake St. Clair Metropark in 2016, at a different and drier site, and potential volunteers should take the initiative to contact me in January 2016. I will be working on a more extensive comparison between the 1989-1999 and 2004-2014 banding periods, and will post about it here on this blog sometime next year. So, stay tuned!

This season's totals are below the daily highlights.

Highlights of the 18 birds banded on Thursday, October 30 was the fact that we had more than the 10 birds banded last Saturday! Really, though, capturing a Brown Creeper with a band was fairly interesting. Same-season recaptures of this species are not frequent, but when I read the band number I knew it was my first returnee from a different year. This creeper was in fact banded as a hatch-year bird in late fall 2011, making it 4 years old.
4th year Brown Creeper

I seem to recall a bander in northern Ontario, Bruce Murphy, starting to investigate the buff spots on the tips of the primary coverts. I don't remember if it was supposed to be age-related or sex-related, but here is a 4-year old Brown Creeper with quite tiny buff tips there, for what its worth.

A single Golden-crowned Kinglet was welcome in this year of very low numbers of kinglets. They often feed on insects in the goldenrod that is usually quite abundant throughout the banding area. But it seems that the cool temperatures of the summer and early fall resulted in shorter and less dense herbaceous growth, and thus less available foraging habitat for these, and some other migrants (including Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Orange-crowned, and Nashville Warblers). 

It was also nice to catch two more Fox Sparrows today; a species that has been in short supply this fall, along with other migrant sparrows including American Tree, White-throated, White-crowned, and Lincoln's Sparrows. As noted above, the herbaceous growth was sparser this fall than it has ever been. The Swamp Nets did not have to be cleared at all at the beginning of the fall and were rather barren, and caught few birds. Black-throated Blue Warblers favor the Swamp Nets quite heavily, so the total this fall for them was less than half the previous record low. But the sparrows also lost solid ground with leaf litter to forage on, because a large portion of that habitat was under water for the entire fall. The up side to these wet conditions was the first banding of species of wetland associations, like Wilson's Snipe, Green Heron, and Belted Kingfisher, as well as Spotted Sandpipers and Virginia Rails.

Highlights of birds observed but not banded included three flyover Common Goldeneyes and a flyover Snow Bunting (yes, winter is on the way!). Quite unexpected was a Red-eyed Vireo foraging in the treetops near the banding area, one of the latest I've seen in Michigan. A Cattle Egret was an interesting find at the North Marsh in the park, well away from the banding area.

On Saturday, November 1, the wind shut down operations before we got started. Volunteers helped take down feeders and feeder poles, then we went birding. I leave you with one photo that is representative of the wet banding area we're leaving behind. I truly hope the health of this marsh improves, even though it is nearly impossible to conduct bird banding research there any more.
Swamp adjacent to Upland Nets;
the driest part of the banding area

Banding Data
THURSDAY, October 30, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 7:03
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
No. of Nets: 4.0-12.0 (fewer nets due to less volunteers)
Net Hours: 80.00
Temperature (F): 43-52
Cloud Cover: 100-10-100%
Wind: NW-S @ 3-5 mph
Barometer:  29.47-29.46
Precipitation: None.
No. Banded: 18 (plus 10 recaptured)
No. of Species: 10
Capture Rate: 35.0 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 10.0 hours, 5:00-15:00): John Bieganowski, Blanche Wicke.

[Downy Woodpecker - 3 recaptured]
Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Brown Creeper - 1 recaptured]
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1
Fox Sparrow - 2
Song Sparrow - 2 (plus 4 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 4
Northern Cardinal - 1
American Goldfinch - 3

SATURDAY, November 1, 2014
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 6:49
Time Open (E.S.T.): NOT OPENED
Time Closed (E.S.T.): -
Hours Open: NONE
No. of Nets: NONE
Net Hours: NONE
Temperature (F): 34
Cloud Cover: 80%
Wind: N @ 15-20 mph
Barometer: 29.54
Precipitation:  Trace of snow
No. Banded: NONE
No. of Species: NONE
Capture Rate: -
Volunteers (worked 1.0 hours, 5:00-6:00): Dave Lancaster, Ann McKlinsky, Blanche Wicke.

Station not opened, no birds banded.

Fall 2014 New Birds Banded

Effort was high, diversity was good, but numbers were low.

Days Open: 25 (Aug 3 - Oct 30)
Hours Open: 169.50 [3rd highest]
Net Hours: 2099.25 [2nd highest]
No. Banded: 1483 (plus 350 recaptured, 36 released unbanded) [3rd lowest]
No. of Species: 76 [4th highest]
Capture Rate: 89.0 [2nd lowest]

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 59 (low)
Downy Woodpecker - 9
Hairy Woodpecker - 3
Northern Flicker - 10 (high)
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 8 (high)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 3
Alder Flycatcher - 5
Willow Flycatcher - 4
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 12
Least Flycatcher - 6
Eastern Phoebe - 4
Great Crested Flycatcher - 2
Blue-headed Vireo - 1 (low)
Warbling Vireo - 19 (high)
Red-eyed Vireo - 2 (low)
Blue Jay - 2
Black-capped Chickadee - 19 (high)
Tufted Titmouse - 12 (record high)
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Brown Creeper - 8 (low)
Carolina Wren - 1
House Wren - 2 (low)
Winter Wren - 4 (low)
Marsh Wren - 18 (high)
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 20 (low)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 5 (low)
Veery - NONE
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 8 (low)
Swainson's Thrush - 23 (low)
Hermit Thrush - 59 (low)
Wood Thrush - 2
American Robin - 20
Gray Catbird - 16
Cedar Waxwing - 4
Tennessee Warbler - 19
Orange-crowned Warbler - 4
Nashville Warbler - 30 (low)
Northern Parula - 1
Yellow Warbler - 48 (high)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 2 (low)
Magnolia Warbler - 18 (low)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 8 (record low)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 10
Black-throated Green Warbler - NONE
Blackburnian Warbler - 1
Palm Warbler - 13 (high)
Bay-breasted Warbler - 6
Blackpoll Warbler - 15
Black-and-white Warbler - 2 (low)
American Redstart - 9 (low)
Ovenbird - 6 (low)
Northern Waterthrush - 7 (low)
Mourning Warbler - 3
Common Yellowthroat - 77
Wilson's Warbler - 3 (low)
Canada Warbler - 1 (low)
Northern Cardinal - 9
Indigo Bunting - 2
American Tree Sparrow - 4 (low)
Field Sparrow - 2
Fox Sparrow - 3 (low)
Song Sparrow - 201 (high)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 10 (low)
Swamp Sparrow - 95
White-throated Sparrow - 95 (record low)
White-crowned Sparrow - 5 (low)
Red-winged Blackbird - 55 (high)
Common Grackle - 1
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 2 (low)
House Finch - 14 (high)
American Goldfinch - 321

1 comment:

Linda said...

Very nice blog. I have always loved birds ever since I can remember.