Monday, May 2, 2016

Lake St. Clair Metropark Bird Banding Report - April 27 & 30, 2016

For the first time this spring, we were able to band twice in one week as our schedule dodged the rainy days in the forecast. There were some expected spring arrivals, but in general there was a bit of a lull in migration.

On Wednesday, April 27, a few new arrivals were noted, including the first House Wren of the season.
After hatch-year House Wren

Three species of warbler found their way into our nets. A Northern Waterthrush was heard singing near the Channel Nets when we were opening, and on the first net run it was still singing in the nearby dogwoods, but there was also another one in the nets!
After hatch-year Northern Waterthrush

In spring, some Northern Waterthrushes are not as yellow as some birders might expect, as with this individual. They are typically more yellow in their fresher fall (and first basic) plumage. So, identification should be based on the spotting on the throat, and narrower supercilium behind the eye of Northern.
After hatch-year Northern Waterthrush

A little surprising, since we did not hear any singing, was a male Common Yellowthroat in the same net as the Waterthrush.
After hatch-year male Common Yellowthroat

After hatch-year male Common Yellowthroat

A couple of Yellow Warblers were heard singing in the banding area, and so it was not surprising that we caught one today. But what was surprising is that it was a female, which usually arrive after the males.
After second-year female Yellow Warbler

The highlight of the day was the male Eastern Towhee, which was also captured in the Channel Nets (great spot today!).
After hatch-year male Eastern Towhee

Interesting birds observed but not banded included two flyover Common Loons, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, Chimney Swift, Purple Martin, two Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and two singing Brown Thrashers. In a class by itself was the male Eastern Bluebird in the trees next to the Nature Center. Unlike almost any other Metropark, this species is very rare at Lake St. Clair Metropark and was only the second time volunteer John Bieganowski and I have ever seen it in the park, and we've each been birding here for about 40 years.

On Saturday, April 30, there were fewer birds around, and fewer captured. One highlight was a singing Wood Thrush during setup that was captured on the first net run, which was a first for the spring.
After hatch-year Wood Thrush

After hatch-year Wood Thrush

The first Gray Catbird (no photo) of the spring was captured today.  Another Yellow Warbler was banded, this one a male, but another male Yellow Warbler was more interesting as it had been banded back at the Point Rosa Marsh station in spring 2014 (0.4 miles away) as a second-year bird.
4th year male Yellow Warbler

Other interesting recaptures today included a male Downy Woodpecker banded as a hatch-year at the Point Rosa Marsh station in fall 2012, making him a 5th year bird (actual age 3 yrs 10 mos). And two American Goldfinches, a male and female within inches of each other in the Meadow Nets, were both banded back at the marsh; the male in fall 2010 as a hatch-year making him a 7th year (actual age 5 yrs 10 mos), and the female in fall 2011 as an after hatch-year making her an after 6th year (actual age at least 5 yrs 10 mos).

Interesting birds observed but not banded included a flyover Lesser Yellowlegs (no shorebird habitat in the banding area), three Rock Pigeons (they roost less than a mile outside the park entrance, but are rarely observed in the park), and a flyover Sandhill Crane.

Banding could not have been conducted on these two days without the very welcome help of volunteers, including: John Bieganowski, Jacob Charlebois, Caitlyn Hogan, Marie McGee, Ann ross, and Blanche Wicke.

Bird Banding Results

April 27, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.0
Net Hours: 113.25
Temperature (F): 36-57
Cloud Cover: 10-20%
Wind Direction: NNW-NE
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-10
Barometer: 30.06 - 30.02
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 42 (plus 11 recaptured and 2 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 17
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 48.6
Banding Assistants (10.0 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Marie McGee.

{Northern Flicker - 1 released unbanded}
Tree Swallow - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 recaptured)
House Wren - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 7
Hermit Thrush - 1
American Robin - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow Warbler - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Eastern Towhee - 1
Field Sparrow - 1
[Song Sparrow - 3 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 6 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 5
Northern Cardinal - 1 (plus 4 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 10 (plus 1 recaptured)
Common Grackle - 3
{American Goldfinch - 1 released unbanded}

April 30, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
Net Hours: 110.375
Temperature (F): 41-59
Cloud Cover: 5-100%
Wind Direction: NE-E
Wind Speed (mph): 1-3-5
Barometer: 29.52 - 29.50
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 31 (plus 11 recaptured and 3 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 20
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 40.8
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Jacob Charlebois, Caitlyn Hogan, Ann Ross, Blanche Wicke.

[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Blue Jay - 1
Tree Swallow - 1
{House Wren - 1 released unbanded}
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Hermit Thrush - 2 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Wood Thrush - 1
American Robin - 1
Gray Catbird - 1
European Starling - 1
Yellow Warbler - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Northern Waterthrush - 1 recaptured]
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
[White-throated Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Northern Cardinal - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 9
Common Grackle - 3
Brown-headed Cowbird - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
House Sparrow - 1

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