Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lake St. Clair Metropark banding report - May 6-14, 2017

Banding the first half of May had some challenges, and many rewards. The first day we planned to band, May 5, was rained out and on two days the park opened late (15-20 minutes), so we got a later start than we'd planned. And the rain also replenished the puddles and mud that we dealt with all during April. Once again, it was hard to distinguish the Channel Net lane from the channel itself! Wind was also a factor every day, even forcing us to close early one day. Luckily, it was possible to schedule a "make up" day of banding to keep to the protocol. A total of 434 birds was banded in 5 days of effort.













Highlights of the 55 birds of 18 species captured on Saturday, May 6 included a Solitary Sandpiper that perhaps not surprisingly was caught in the Channel Nets!
Second-year Solitary Sandpiper
















Second-year Solitary Sandpiper
















Among the four Ruby-crowned Kinglets banded today, this female was unusual because of the white spots in the crown.
After hatch-year female Ruby-crowned Kinglet
















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a calling American Bittern, a Sandhill Crane soaring very high overhead, a Bald Eagle flyover, and a few Cliff Swallows.

Highlights of the 49 birds of 18 species captured on Sunday, May 7 included the first female Blue-gray Gnatcatcher of the spring, told by her less prominent black over the eye.
After hatch-year female Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

















It has been easy to take Red-winged Blackbirds for granted this spring. Last year, we banded 138 of them, but we reached 200 this week and still going strong. Of course most birders are well aware of the black body plumage with red and yellow wing patches of the male, but they might not be aware that it takes them two years to attain this plumage. We band lots of second-year males that might appear unfamiliar. They are not brown and sparrow-like, as the females are, but they do have a lot of brown and pale edging on their upperparts, and the shoulder patch varies quite a bit at this age, most often being orange with black spotting...and the yellow edge to this patch is usually absent.
Second-year male Red-winged Blackbird
















Sometimes, something truly enchanting happens with a bird in-hand. I encourage you to watch the short video below of this after second-year male Baltimore Oriole. Make sure your speakers are turned on.
video

Interesting birds observed, but not banded, again included the American Bittern calling from the North Marsh, as well as a Solitary Sandpiper in the Meadow Loop trail. We didn't see the sandpiper well enough to determine if it was the one we banded yesterday. We also had a larger flock of Cliff Swallows today, as well as a Purple Martin which, sadly is becoming more rare in our area.

Highlights of the 63 birds of 26 species banded on Friday, May 12 included the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the season.
After hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

















The first Veeries of the season (3) were a sign that perhaps it would be a good spring for thrushes.
Second-year Veery
















The season's second, and perhaps last, White-crowned Sparrow was banded today.
After hatch-year White-crowned Sparrow

















Two Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were in the net together; with this second-year male showing mixed brown and black flight feathers characteristic of that age.
Second-year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak
















The large crushing bill of this species makes banders cautious when extracting them from mist nets!
After second-year female Rose-breasted Grosbeak
















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher right above the banding table, and a singing Carolina Wren.

Highlights of the 154 birds of 34 species captured on Saturday, May 13 included three Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and it was a very good day for flycatchers and thrushes, but not as many warblers as might be expected by this date.
After hatch-year Least Flycatcher
















Several Least Flycatchers were heard singing all day long in the banding area, and a total of 8 were banded. In a difficult group-, this species is fairly easy to identify by its large white eye ring, and relatively short bill and grayish tones to the head and greenish back. Five "Traill's" Flycatchers were captured, with four of them keying out as Willlow Flycatcher. The overall brownish-olive tones on the head and back, fairly prominent white throat, larger bill, and indistinct buffy eye ring all help to identify Willow/Alder (Traill's) Flycatchers.
After hatch-year Willow Flycatcher
















Among the few warblers captured today, the season's first Orange-crowned was perhaps the most unusual.
After hatch-yer male Orange-crowned Warbler
















Always a favorite, four Magnolia Warblers were among the 46 warblers of 7 species captured today.
After second-year male Magnolia Warbler















After second-year male Magnolia Warbler
















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included a Great Crested Flycatcher, a few White-crowned Sparrows, and singing Pine Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and Orchard Oriole.

Highlights of the 107 birds of 37 species captured on Sunday, May 14 included lots of warblers (57 individuals of 16 species), but it was interesting that almost none of the flycatchers and very few thrushes from yesterday were in evidence. Among the three Black-and-white Warblers banded today was this second-year male, aged in part by his white-speckled throat.
Second-year male Black-and-white Warbler
















A singing male Black-throated Green Warbler told us the species was in the banding area, but we captured this female instead (note whitish, not black throat).
After hatch-year female Black-throated Green Warbler
















Surely the most stunning bird of the day was this adult male Cape May Warbler, the first I've ever banded in spring (and it is very uncommon in fall).
After second-year male Cape May Warbler
















The Cape May is a spruce budworm specialist, so historically has been prone to boom-and-bust population cycles. But control of this native pest in the Canadian Boreal Forest seems to have eliminated the "boom" part. Its slightly longer, slightly curved bill might come in handy for poking into flowers to drink nectar on its West Indian wintering grounds.
After second-year male Cape May Warbler

















Today was an interesting mix of early and late warblers, with Yellow-rumped and Palm alongside later species like this first Wilson's Warbler of the season.
After second-year male Wilson's Warbler

After second-year male Wilson's Warbler































The rarest bird banded today was this adult male Connecticut Warbler, which was a bit earlier than expected, and only the 3rd ever banded in spring in the park (first by me), and the 19th overall (my 11th).
After hatch-year male Connecticut Warbler















After hatch-year male Connecticut Warbler

















Interesting birds observed, but not banded, included Northern Parula, Tennessee and Bay-breasted Warbler, and singing Scarlet Tanager and Orchard Oriole.

Banding on these 5 days could not have been possible without the help of the following volunteers: Sandy Cohen, Stevie Kuroda, Matthew Porter, Anne Ross, Edie Schmitz, Holly Todero, Bruce Watson, and Blanche Wicke.

Detailed Bird Banding Results

May 6, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 11:00 (closed early due to wind)
Hours Open: 5.25
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 5:20
Net Hours: 87.5
Temperature (F): 43-52
Cloud Cover: 90-60-100%
Wind Direction: NW
Wind Speed (mph): 7-10-15
Barometer: 29.65 - 29.66
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 55 (plus 14 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 18
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 81.1
Banding Assistants (7.5 hours worked): Matthew Porter, Anne Ross, Edie Schmitz, Blanche Wicke. 

Solitary Sandpiper - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Hairy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
[Warbling Vireo - 1 recaptured]
House Wren - 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 4
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Robin - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Yellow Warbler - 1 (plus 4 recaptured)
Palm Warbler - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Song Sparrow - 1
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 3
Red-winged Blackbird - 23 (plus 2 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 2
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
American Goldfinch - 8 (plus 2 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

May 7, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 6.75
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:19
Net Hours: 113.75
Temperature (F): 39-59
Cloud Cover: 20-0-10%
Wind Direction: WNW-NNW
Wind Speed (mph): 5-7-12
Barometer: 20.85 - 29.92
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 49 (plus 17 recaptured, 9 released unbanded)
Species Captured:  18
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 65.9
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Sandy Cohen, Stevie Kuroda, Holly Marie Todaro, Bruce Watson. 

[Black-capped Chickadee - 2 recaptured]
House Wren - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Ruby-crowned kinglet - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 1
American Robin - 5
Gray Catbird - 1
Yellow Warbler - 2 (plus 6 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat -2
[Song Sparrow - 2 recaptured]
Swamp Sparrow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
White-throated Sparrow - 1
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 24 (plus 2 recaptured, 9 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 3
[Brown-headed Cowbird - 1 recaptured]
Baltimore Oriole - 1
American Goldfinch - 4
House Sparrow - 2
-----------------------------------------------

May 12, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open:  6.75
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:13
Net Hours: 113.75
Temperature (F): 43-62
Cloud Cover: 20-40%
Wind Direction: N-NE
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-10
Barometer: 30.02 - 30.01
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 63 (plus 23 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 26
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 76.5
Banding Assistants (9.0 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Bruce Watson. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Warbling Vireo - 1
Tree Swallow - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
House Wren - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  - 1
Veery - 3
American Robin - 4
Gray Catbird - 2
European Starling - 2
Yellow Warbler - 8 (plus 10 recaptured)
American Redstart - 1
Ovenbird - 1
Northern Waterthrush - 2
Common Yellowthroat - 4
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 3 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 5
White-throated Sparrow - 1
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
Northern Cardinal - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 2
Red-winged Blackbird - 13 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 1
Brown-headed Cowbird - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 3
American Goldfinch - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
-----------------------------------------------

May 13, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:15
Hours Open: 7.25
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:12
Net Hours: 131.25
Temperature (F): 45-62
Cloud Cover: 20-100%
Wind Direction: Calm-SW
Wind Speed (mph): 0-5
Barometer: 29.95 - 29.90
Precipitation: Light rain at close
No. Banded: 154 (plus 27 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Species Captured:  34
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 139.4
Banding Assistants (8.5 hours worked): Stevie Kuroda, Matthew Porter, Watson. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 3
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Willow Flycatcher - 4
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 1
Least Flycatcher - 8
Warbling Vireo - 1
Blue Jay - 2
Tree Swallow - 5
House Wren - 5 (plus 1 recaptured)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 9
Veery - 2
Swainson's Thrush - 2
Hermit Thrush - 3
Wood Thrush - 1
American Robin - 1 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 18 (plus 2 recaptured)
Brown Thrasher - 1
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 2
Yellow Warbler - 7 (plus 11 recaptured)
Magnolia Warbler - 4
Palm Warbler - 2
[Northern Waterthrush - 1 recaptured]
Common Yellowthroat - 18
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 12
Swamp Sparrow - 2
White-throated Sparrow - 6
[Northern Cardinal - 2 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 19 (plus 3 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 1
Brown-headed Cowbird - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Baltimore Oriole - 3 (plus 1 recaptured)
House Finch - 1
American Goldfinch - 6
-----------------------------------------------

May 14, 2017

Time open (E.S.T.): 6:00
Time closed (E.S.T.): 13:00
Hours Open:  7.0
Sunrise (E.S.T.):  5:11
Net Hours: 116.0
Temperature (F): 50-64
Cloud Cover: 95-50%
Wind Direction: N-NW
Wind Speed (mph): 3-5-10
Barometer: 29.87 - 29.96
Precipitation:  None
No. Banded: 107 (plus 28 recaptured, 8 released unbanded)
Species Captured: 37
Capture Rate (#/100 net hours): 123.3
Banding Assistants (10.0 hours worked): Matthew Porter, Blanche Wicke. 

[Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1 released unbanded]
[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
[Hairy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
Warbling Vireo - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)
[Black-capped Chickadee - 1 released unbanded]
[Tufted Titmouse - 1 recaptured]
House Wren - 2
[Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 1 released unbanded]
Veery - 1
Swainson's Thrush - 2
American Robin - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Gray Catbird - 6
[Brown Thrasher - 1 released unbanded]
Orange-crowned Warbler - 1
Nashville Warbler - 2
Yellow Warbler - 14 (plus 4 recaptured, 1 released unbanded)
Magnolia Warbler - 5
Cape May Warbler - 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 2
Black-throated Green Warbler - 1
Palm Warbler - 2 (plus 1 released unbanded)
Black-and-white Warbler - 3
American Redstart - 3
Ovenbird - 6
Northern Waterthrush - 1
Connecticut Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 7 (plus 2 recaptured)
Wilson's Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 1 (plus 6 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 20 (plus 1 recaptured, 2 released unbanded)
Common Grackle - 1
Baltimore Oriole - 2 (plus 5 recaptured)
House Finch - 1
American Goldfinch - 10 (plus 4 recaptured)
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