Saturday, August 20, 2016

Lake St. Clair Metropark Bird Banding Report - August 7-14, 2016

Fall migration is underway for shorebirds during early July, and by late July or early August for some songbirds. So I always like to start in early August to detect the first migants, and capture some young of the year of nesting species that depart early, such as Yellow Warbler. Although we were only able to band half the days I'd planned, we did succeed in both of these. In some ways, the lighter schedule in the first half of August might be for the best as temperatures and humidity have been a bit extreme, in the 90s for days in a row and heat indices over 100 some days. Hopefully cooler weather will move in once the songbird migration gets going in earnest later this month.

On Sunday, August 7, we were able to start setting up nets at 6 a.m. This new area lacks the mud and water of the old site near Point Rosa Marsh, so I was able to come out over the summer a few times to mow the net lanes, making them ready to use on the first day. We also set up the two hummingbird feeders adjacent to the Meadow Nets where they'll be maintained into the first week of October. It was great to have early success by catching a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a hatch-year male with an atypically clean white throat. This bird was sexed by its smaller size (shorter wing chord), diagnostic shape of the sixth primary, and pattern of white in the 3rd rectrix (tail feather).
Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The only clear migrant of the day was a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.
Hatch-year Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

A Marsh Wren that was working the cattails along the channel eventually found its way into the nets.
Hatch-year Marsh Wren

It was a bit surprising that we only caught one Yellow Warbler, an adult female, as there were a few males still singing and a few juveniles seen as well.
After hatch-year female Yellow Warbler

The first bird banded today, and first of the season, was this juvenile Common Yellowthroat. They have broad cinnamon tips on their greater coverts for a couple weeks after they leave the nest. They seem to molt all of them at once, as many have been captured with all of them in sheath.
Hatch-year Common Yellowthroat

Interesting birds observed but not banded included several Wood Ducks in the channel, along with a single Blue-winged Teal and two Spotted Sandpipers on the muddy edge, and a few Purple Martins were migrating south overhead.

On Sunday, August 14 fewer birds were banded than last week, but did include four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. This hatch-year male had a more typical throat pattern.
Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

As last week, only a single migrant was captured, a Least Flycatcher. This species has occasionally summered in the park, mostly more than a decade ago, but is generally not a breeding species.
Hatch-year Least Flycatcher

And two species of Vireo found their way into the nets. The Warbling Vireo is a very common nesting species in the park, with Red-eyed tending to be very sparse or even absent some summers.
Hatch-year Warbling Vireo

Hatch-year Red-eyed Vireo

Interesting birds observed but not banded included flyover Turkey Vultures, Red-tailed Hawk, Caspian Tern, Belted Kingfisher, and a few Purple Martins.

Bird Banding Results

August 7, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open: 7.25
Net Hours: 115.125
Temperature (F): 66-79
Cloud Cover: 30-0-50%
Wind Direction: NW
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-12
Barometer: 29.34 - 29.42
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 50 (plus 7 recaptured and 3 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 15
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 52.1
Banding Assistants (9.5 hours worked): Harry Lau, Tessa Lau, Christian Zammit (8.5 hrs), Julian Zammit (8.5 hrs).

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
[Northern Flicker - 1 recaptured]
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 2
House Wren - 2
Marsh Wren - 1
American Robin - 14
Gray Catbird - 3
European Starling - 1
Yellow Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 2
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Northern Cardinal - 4 (plus 2 recaptured)
Red-winged Blackbird - 17 (plus 2 recaputred, 3 released unbanded)
[Baltimore Oriole - 1 recaptured]

August 14, 2016

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 7.00
Net Hours: 111.75
Temperature (F): 73-82
Cloud Cover: 30-90%
Wind Direction: NW
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-7
Barometer: 29.30 - 29.41
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 28 (plus 11 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 10
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 35.8
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson, Blanche Wicke. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 4
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1
Least Flycatcher - 1
Warbling Vireo - 1
Red-eyed Vireo - 1
American Robin - 16 (plus 1 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
[Gray Catbird - 3 recaptured]
Northern Cardinal - 3 (plus 4 recaptured)
[American Goldfinch - 3 recaptured]