Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lake St. Clair Metropark Bird Banding Report - May 6-21, 2016

Getting out to band this month has been difficult. Some difficulties included an occasional shortage of volunteers, and inconveniences of my own schedule too. But mostly, it has been Mother Nature who has hindered us, with a wetter than normal spring. We were able to get out on May 6 and 8, but then we had an 11-day gap before banding again on May 19 and 21. Two days in that gap had to be cancelled due to rain, wind, or cold temperatures (on one day, all three!).

On Friday, May 6, the first (3) Warbling Vireos of the season were banded.
After hatch-year Warbling Vireo

And right on schedule, we also has the season's first Veery.
After hatch-year Veery

Although not the first of the season, today's captures of Yellow Warbler signaled a clear influx of birds, mostly males. It is also interesting to notice the total number of Yellow Warblers banded on all four days, which comes close to the record banded back at the Point Rosa Marsh station. Do they nest in higher densities in this habitat? Another Field Sparrow was banded, bringing the season's total to 4, which is double the spring record back in the marsh. The first Baltimore Oriole of the spring was banded in the nets adjacent to the hummingbird feeders, which wasn't surprising.
After hatch-year female Baltimore Oriole

Interesting birds observed, but not banded included a male Eastern Bluebird sitting on top of one of the nest boxes in the Meadow Nets area. But it didn't stay. And an Indigo Bunting was heard briefly as a flyover. As the day warmed up, the American Toads in the Channel started calling, providing good photo (and video) opportunities.
American Toad

On Sunday, May 8, an unusual capture was a Mourning Dove. This species is large enough to often "bounce out" of the nets we use for songbirds as the mesh is not large enough to hold most of them.
After hatch-year female Mourning Dove

The second species of flycatcher to arrive, after Eastern Phoebe, is typically Least Flycatcher, which often arrives in late April. But not this year. Today's Least Flycatcher was the first of the spring here.
After hatch-year Least Flycatcher

In spring, the contrast between the grayish crown and greenish back is usually more obvious than on some birds in the fall.
After hatch-year Least Flycatcher

Two Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in the same net, and close together, was unusual since previously only one or two in any single season was the norm. Perhaps yet another difference this new location will consistently show us?
After hatch-year male Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

It was a good day for warblers, and not just another bunch of Yellows! A bit unusual was an Orange-crowned.
After hatch-year male Orange-crowned Warbler

The orange crown of males is very well hidden at the bases of the crown feathers.
After hatch-year male Orange-crowned Warbler

Other "early" warbler migrants that are expected this time of year includes Nashville, Palm, and Yellow-rumped, all of which were banded today.
After hatch-year male Nashville Warbler

The more extensive chestnut in the crown of males (females have chestnut, but less) is mostly hidden by the broad gray tips of the crown feathers, but is less hidden than the crown patch of Orange-crowned Warbler.
After hatch-year male Nashville Warbler

Sexing (Western) Palm Warblers by the extent of chestnut on the crown is something I'm not entirely comfortable with.
After hatch-year (male?) Palm Warbler

After hatch-year (male?) Palm Warbler

After hatch-year (female?) Palm Warbler

Sexing Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers is a little easier, as males tend to have more black on the head, and more blue-gray (instead of brownish) on the back, and brighter and more extensive yellow (and longer wings, on average).
After hatch-year male Yellow-rumped Warbler

After hatch-year male Yellow-rumped Warbler

It was also a good day for sparrows, with several handsome White-crowned Sparrows captured.
After hatch-year White-crowned Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrows are expected to arrive in early May, but the 8 banded today was an unexpectedly large number. This subtly marked sparrow is one of my favorites. It also has a beautiful, almost thrush-like song.
After hatch-year Lincoln's Sparrow

And the 5 Baltimore Orioles banded today was more than expected.
After second-year male Baltimore Oriole

Interesting birds observed, but not banded today included a flyover Green Heron, Black-throated Green Warbler, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, and Orchard Oriole.

Thursday, May 19 saw the first (5) Ruby-throated Hummingbirds of the season banded, although they surely arrived in the area sometime in the 11 days since we were last able to band here (thanks mostly to a wetter than normal spring).
After hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

After hatch-year female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Two more Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were a surprise, and the spring's first Swainson's Thrush was released without a photo. Thrush and flycatcher numbers seem quite low this spring so far. Another good bunch of Yellow Warblers was banded, along with the first American Redstart of the spring, which was a female (males typically arrive first...but perhaps that happened in the 11-day gap when we couldn't band).
After hatch-year female American Redstart

It was also nice to band a couple of brightly-colored male Magnolia Warblers.
After second-year male Magnolia Warbler

After second-year male Magnolia Warbler
A second-year female Black-throated Blue Warbler had a smaller than normal white patch on the wing, which is something we see more often on hatch-year females in fall.
Second-year female Black-throated Blue Warbler

Other warblers banded today included Nashville, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, and Common Yellowthroat. A Field Sparrow was the 5th of the spring. And even more Baltimore Orioles (7) were banded today than last week. Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a flyover Black-bellied Plover, Tennessee Blackburnian, and Blackpoll (3) Warblers.

On Saturday, May 21, we encountered some very sparse sprinkles in the morning, which turned into a light shower for about 15 minutes, which forced us to close the nets for 30 minutes, and set up a canopy to keep us dry. During the net run to close the nets, the highlight of the day (or the season?) was captured. The volunteers are seen here huddling around it, to take photos. What is it?
Banding volunteers photographing a great bird.

It was the 9th Black-billed Cuckoo ever banded in the park, and only the second since 1997!
After hatch-year Black-billed Cuckoo

Another Ruby-throated Hummingbird banded was a highlight, as always. There was less warbler diversity today, but this adult male American Redstart was a nice catch.
After second-year male American Redsart

And the first Chestnut-sided Warbler banded here this spring was a female, signalling that their migration is past peak.
Second-year female Chestnut-sided Warbler

Females have less brilliant yellow crowns, less black in the face, and less chestnut on the flanks.
Second-year female Chestnut-sided Warbler

Other warblers banded today included a few more Yellows, Magnolia, and Black-throated Blue, but the warbler of the day was Common Yellowthroat, with a surprising 11 banded today...there is not a lot of marsh or wetland in the banding area.
After second-year male Common Yellowthroat

Surely, the brightest bird banded today was the male Indigo Bunting.
After second-year male Indigo Bunting

After second-year male Indigo Bunting

Interesting birds observed but not banded today included this Great Egret that attempted (and failed) to swallow a large perch that it had stabbed in the channel right behind the banding table.
Great Egret

Banding on these four days could not have been done without the help of very eager and capable volunteers, including John Bieganowski, Jacob Charlebois, Caitlyn Hogan, Stevie Kuroda, Dave Lancaster, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Ava Lau, Tessa Lau, Joan Tisdale, Bruce Watson, and Blanche Wicke.

Bird Banding Results

May 6, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:45
Hours Open:6.75
Net Hours: 110.375
Temperature (F): 46-70
Cloud Cover: 40-60-10%
Wind Direction: NNW-NE
Wind Speed (mph): 7-10
Barometer: 29.28 - 29.24
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 79 (plus 8 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 22
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 79.7
Banding Assistants (9.5 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Dave Lancaster, Joan Tisdale (4 hrs).

Warbling Vireo - 3
Blue Jay - 2
Tree Swallow - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Tufted Titmouse - 1
House Wren - 1
Veery - 1
Hermit Thrush - 4
American Robin - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow Warbler - 15 (plus 2 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat - 1
Field Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 3 (plus 3 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 3
White-throated Sparrow - 3
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 15 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 3
Baltimore Oriole - 1
American Goldfinch - 3
House Sparrow - 1

May 8, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:00
Hours Open: 6.25
Net Hours: 101.625
Temperature (F): 45-63
Cloud Cover: 10-50%
Wind Direction: WNW-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-10
Barometer: 29.23 - 29.29
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 121 (plus 15 recaptured and 5 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 29
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 138.7
Banding Assistants (8.0 hours worked): Jacob Charlebois, Caitlyn Hogan, Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson.

Mourning Dove - 1
Northern Flicker - 1
Least Flycatcher - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 7
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 2
Hermit Thrush - 2
Wood Thrush - 1
American Robin - 4
Gray Catbird - 1 (2 recaptured)
European Starling - 1
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 4
Yellow Warbler - 18 (plus 7 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 5
Palm Warbler - 5
Common Yellowthroat - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 2 (plus 3 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Swamp Sparrow - 6
Lincoln's Sparrow - 8
White-throated Sparrow - 13
White-crowned Sparrow - 4
Northern Cardinal - 3
Red-winged Blackbird - 13 (plus 1 recaptured, 3 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 3
Brown-headed Cowbird - 3
Baltimore Oriole - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 1

May 19, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:15
Hours Open: 6.75
Net Hours: 110.375
Temperature (F): 45-68
Cloud Cover: 10-0%
Wind Direction: Calm-SE
Wind Speed (mph): 0-3
Barometer: 29.56 - 29.57
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 69 (plus 23 recaptured)
Species Captured: 25
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 83.4
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): John Bieganowski, Dave Lancaster, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Ava Lau, Tessa Lau, Blanche Wicke (7.0 hrs).

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 5
Warbling Vireo - 1
Tree Swallow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 1
American Robin - 5
Gray Catbird - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Nashville Warbler - 1
Yellow Warbler - 16 (plus 9 recaptured)
Magnolia Warbler - 2
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 2
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 5
Field Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Swamp Sparrow - 2
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
Northern Cardinal - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 5 (plus 3 recaptured)
Common Grackle - 1
[Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 recaptured]
Baltimore Oriole - 7 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 2 (plus 3 recaptured)

May 21, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.5 (closed 9:00 - 9:30 due to rain)
Net Hours: 106.00
Temperature (F): 57-64
Cloud Cover: 100%
Wind Direction: NNW-NE
Wind Speed (mph): 1-3-7
Barometer: 29.38 - 29.42
Precipitation: Trace Rain
No. Banded: 44 (plus 25 recaptured)
Species Captured: 19
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 65.1
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): Jacob Charlebois (7.5 hrs), Caitlyn Hogan (7.5 hrs), Stevie Kuroda (8.0 hrs), Bruce Watson (8.0 hrs), Blanche Wicke.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Warbling Vireo - 1
[Black-capped Chickadee - 2 recaptured]
House Wren - 1
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Black-billed Cuckoo - 1
Yellow Warbler - 3 (plus 10 recaptured)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 1
Magnolia Warbler - 3
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
American Redstart - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat - 11
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 3 recaptured)
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
Indigo Bunting - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 10 (plus 1 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 2 (plus 6 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 1

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