October 18th & 19th – Crazy Busy!

Just some of the bird bags from the 213 18th- “ring & fling” time. -MMG


Sometimes it doesn’t rain but it pours! We’ve had a very hectic and busy couple of days. Nancy started it off the night of the 17th with an owling night – they ended up catching 5! We followed this up on the morning of the 18th with a really big day – we banded 214 birds!! And then, that night, we headed to Fern Hill Oakville for more owling. There we caught and banded 2 more in front of a very appreciative and enthusiastic audience. Then this morning, Nancy was at Ruthven and I travelled back to Oakville. Whew! And tomorrow is the start of our annual Bird Festival with banding and talks during the day, owling at night, a sleepover for keeners, and then more banding Sunday morning. You’re given only so many migrations; you don’t want to waste any of them……

October 18th; Ruthven Park, Banded 214:
4 Mourning Doves

Eastern Phoebe. -KMP


1 Eastern Phoebe
4 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
3 White-breasted Nuthatches
2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
16 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Brown Creeper
1 Winter Wren
2 Eastern Bluebirds
1 Swainson’s Thrush
8 Hermit Thrushes
10 American Robins

Cedar Waxwing with both red “waxy tips” and yellow edging to some of the primaries. -MMG


91 Cedar Waxwings
5 Myrtle Warblers
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
4 Song Sparrows
14 White-throated Sparrows
3 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
5 Purple Finches
33 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 54 spp

Fern Hill Burlington:
Banded 23:
Mourning Dove – 1
Downy Woodpecker – 1
Blue Jay – 1
Black-capped Chickadee – 1
White-breasted Nuthatch – 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet -1
Chipping Sparrow – 1
Field Sparrow – 3
Song Sparrow – 2
White-throated Sparrow – 1

Adult White-crowned Sparrow checking out the map of Africa!? -KAP


Eastern White-crowned Sparrow – 2
American Goldfinch – 1
House Sparrow – 7

ET’s: 39 species
Katherine

Fern Hill Oakville:

One of two Northern Saw-whet Owls we caught at Fern Hill Oakville last night. -KAP


2 Northern Saw-whet Owls

October 19th; Ruthven Park:
The catching was more subdued due to the brisk wind but there were good numbers of birds around – especially robins and waxwings. It’s too bad we don’t have nets on the river flats……

Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar. -NRF


Banded 68:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Brown Creeper
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Hermit Thrushes
12 American Robins
12 Cedar Waxwings
11 Myrtle Warblers
3 Northern Cardinals
1 Fox Sparrow
4 Song Sparrows

Young Swamp Sparrow -KMP


1 Swamp Sparrow
5 White-throated Sparrows
1 Red-winged Blackbird

Male Purple Finch. -SEF


Female (or young male) Purple Finch. -SEF


3 Purple Finches
2 American Goldfinches

Common Nighthawk!! -NS


ET’s: 42 spp (including a Common Nighthawk!)

Fern Hill Oakville:
We had quite a good day at the school. Although it was windy first thing in the morning we caught some nice birds in the sheltered nets. It was a busy day at the school as there was a dunk tank for raising funds for local charities. Students got to purchase the opportunity to dunk their teachers (a bunch of good sports I can tell you as it was quite chilly in that wind!!).

A cold and windy day for the fund-raising dunk tank but the teachers are great sports. (In the background, against the building wall, a banding lab will soon be built!) -KAP


Banded 29:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Black-capped Chickadees
2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
5 Hermit Thrushes
2 Nashville Warblers
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Chipping Sparrow

Fox Sparrow. -KAP


1 Fox Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow

Katherine with one of her favourite birds – Dark-eyed Junco.


3 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 House Finches

Helping French teacher Heather Burke band her first bird – Mourning Dove. -KAP


Heather’s proud smile says it all….. -KAP


ET’s: 34 spp.

October 16th & 17th – Flowing Through

The rainy weather on the 15th seemed to slow migration down but it has quickly ramped up again – despite windy weather. Yesterday the winds had a southerly touch to them and this (with clear skies) somewhat limited the flow though. Today it was much more unsettle with a 30% chance of showers and heavy overcast. The winds started in the west but shifted to the NW in the course of the morning bringing the temperature down a few degrees as it did so. There was a heavy movement and we ended up banding good numbers. It’s exciting when you walk around in the early pre-dawn opening nets and listen to the chips of White-throated Sparrows, robins, and Myrtle Warblers that have spent the night in the meadow shrubs or dogwood as they awaken and get moving.

October 16th; Banded 50:

Male Mourning Dove. -KMP


1 Mourning Dove
1 Blue Jay

Young Blue Jay. The passage of jays through the site seems to be winding down. -KMP


2 Black-capped Chickadees
4 Golden-crowned Kinglets
7 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Swainson’s Thrushes
2 Hermit Thrushes
7 Myrtle Warblers
1 Song Sparrow
12 White-throated Sparrows
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
8 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 39 spp.

Larking About:
A ladies’ group – the Larks – came out last night, ostensibly to experience Northern Saw-whet Owls. Alas, it wasn’t to be. After 3 net checks it became clear that these little owls eschew Larks……And did you know that I am the sole (token) male member of this group? They took me on so they couldn’t be accused of sexism. [We did band one White-throated Sparrow that flung itself into one of the owl nets – so all was not lost.]

October 17th; Banded 133:

One of two Hairy Woodpeckers banded today. -KMP


2 Hairy Woodpeckers
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
5 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 White-breasted nuthatch
5 Brown Creepers

After “skulling”, this Golden-crowned Kinglet male sports a funked up do. -KMP


2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
12 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Hermit Thrushes
5 American Robins

An adult Cedar Waxwing finishing off a complete moult – including a “waxy” tip on a tail feather. -KMP


40 Cedar Waxwings
1 Nashville Warbler

This Myrtle Warbler was missing its right foot – an old injury that clearly had healed over. It seemed to be none the worse for wear and had good muscle and fat scores. _KMP


22 Myrtle Warbler
1 Western Palm Warbler
1 Field Sparrow

Our largest sparrow: Fox Sparrow. -KMP


1 Fox Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
2 Swamp Sparrows
9 White-throated Sparrows

For comparison: HY White-crowned Sparrow (on the left with a brown and tan-striped head) and an adult (with the black and white head). -KMP


2 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows

Male Purple Finch – one of 7 banded today. -KMP


7 Purple Finches

Pine Siskin – an unusual visitor to southern Ontario. -KMP


2 Pine Siskins
6 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 44 spp.
Rick

October 12th-15th – The Push

Stately adult White-crowned Sparrow. -KMP


It’s getting to be crunch time. Days are shorter and the temperatures are (finally) dropping; there was even snow up north. Time for lingering long-distance migrants to head south and for southern winter residences to move out of the north for wherever their winter “home” is, whether it’s Yellow-rumped Warblers going to Florida, White-throated Sparrows to Virginia, or Juncos to southern Ontario.

Although today was a washout at Ruthven, in the previous 3 days (Friday to Sunday) we banded 460 birds there.

October 12th; Ruthven Park:
This was the anniversary of last year’s record Big Day – 379 birds were banded. Three of those participants were there to try to recreate the magic: Marnie, Karen, and Nancy. They were not able to better that mark but still had a big day.
Banded 127:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Eastern Phoebe
2 Blue Jays
1 Tufted Titmouse
1 Black-capped Chickadee
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
15 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Swainson’s Thrush
14 Cedar Waxwings

Cape May Warbler. -NRF


1 Cape May Warbler
3 Nashville Warblers

Male Black-throated Blue Warbler. -KMP


1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
50 Myrtle Warblers
3 Blackpoll Warblers

We don’t often get Pine Warblers. -KMP


1 Pine Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat

A late female Indigo Bunting. -NRF


1 Indigo Bunting
9 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrows

Dark-eyed Juncos have yet to arrive en masse. -KMP


9 Dark-eyed Juncos
4 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 57 spp.

October 12th – Owl Night;

Bellying up to the buffet on “Owl Night”. -KMP


It was a night of patchy drizzle, no owls, but great good (thanks to Irene Fotheringham)!

October 12th; Fern Hill School Oakville Campus:
We had cool overcast conditions and it was a bit “breezy” but we did reasonably well.
Banded 24:
3 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper
1 Winter Wren
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Tennessee Warbler
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Northern Parula
12 Myrtle Warblers
1 Song Sparrow
1 Dark-eyed Junco

ET’s: 33 spp.

October 13th; Ruthven Park:

The start of a busy day! -CHS


We had a wonderful day – bird-wise and people-wise. We had a class of biology students from McMaster visiting to begin to learn birding/banding skills and we had a group of 5 young ladies ranging in age from 9 – 14 who wanted to do the same. So…..we established 3 banding stations and began to teach as we processed birds. Interestingly, ALL of the students (of all ages) were female! Where are the males!? We caught a lot of birds today so there were lots of learning opportunities. And we caught lots of Cedar Waxwings which are great birds to learn on as they are relatively docile, easily manipulated and easy to age and sex. Perfect.

Part of Saturday’s very competent crew. -ELO


Banded 183:

Male Hairy Woodpecker -ELO


1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch

Male Golden-crowned Kinglet -ELO


4 Golden-crowned Kinglets
7 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 Hermit Thrushes

A net full of Cedar Waxwings – “ring & fling” time. -CHS


121 Cedar Waxwings
1 Blue-headed Vireo
1 Tennessee Warbler
1 Orange-crowned Warbler
1 Magnolia Warbler
21 Myrtle Warblers
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
2 Western Palm Warblers
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Purple Finch
6 American Goldfinches

Turkey Vulture head on. -KMP


ET’s: 46 spp.

October 13th; Lowville Park:
Ben Oldfield was running his station in Lowville. I don’t know what his totals were but he did send pictures of two neat birds: a Pine Siskin, denizen of the boreal forest and a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, which should have been well on its way to Central America.

Pine Siskin -BGO


In Lowville Ben got a very late Yellow-billed Cuckoo. -BGO

October 13th; Impromptu Owling at Ruthven:

The reward for staying till the end on Saturday night. -KMP


Nancy was providing “security” at a wedding on the grounds and decided to try for owls while doing so. A few of us were asked to help out at the last minute. After 3 fruitless net checks I packed it in to try and get some beauty sleep for the next day but those that toughed it out were rewarded by the catching of 2 Northern Saw-whets! W

Saturday night visit by Christine and Elliot (and Teddy). -RF


We also were treated to a surprise visit by Christine Madliger, husband Chris and little Elliot.

October 14th; Ruthven Park:
Cool, overcast, and no wind – great Fall banding conditions for us.
Banded 150:
1 Mourning Dove
2 Northern Saw-whet Owls (from early morning)
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Brown Creeper
1 House Wren
13 Golden-crowned Kinglets
31 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
9 Hermit Thrushes
1 American Robin

Funky Cedar Waxwing. -NRF


28 Cedar Waxwings
1 Blue-headed Vireo
4 Tennessee Warblers
6 Myrtle Warblers
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Field Sparrow
8 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
31 White-throated Sparrows
2 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco
4 Purple Finches
5 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 45 spp.

October 15:
Funny how different weather can be only 30 kilometers away. Ruthven was pretty well rained out while at Fern Hill Oakville we got just patchy light drizzle and were able to open with frequent net checks until the drizzle stopped altogether around mid-morning. As well as banding some nice birds we got a look at a passing Peregrine Falcon!

Banded 17:

Female Hairy Woodpecker. -KAP


1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
2 Hermit Thrushes

The distinctive reddish tail of a Hermit Thrush. -KAP


4 American Robins
3 Myrtle Warblers
1 Western Palm Warbler
4 Song Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow

Andrew with his first banded bird: Song Sparrow. -KAP


ET’s: 30 spp.
Rick

October 9th-11th – Catching Up

Early morning sunrise over Burlington. -DOL


It’s been a hectic 3 days with banders spread between Ruthven and Fern Hill’s two campuses with an owling venture on the night of the 9th at Oakville thrown in for good measure. So I’ve fallen a bit behind…. The most striking factor has been the abnormally high temperatures: into the high 20’s with the humidex going into the low 30’s! This seemed to result in a slowdown on both the 9th and 10th. (Despite this we still got 2 owls on the night of the 9th!!) But as the conditions began to change today the bird numbers started to pick up. Here’s the rundown on these 3 days:

October 9th; Ruthven Park Banding Station:
Looks like summer is back with a vengeance, and the birds agree with us; it’s too hot! We definitely saw a lull in bird movement having only 32 birds banded (41 handled overall), compared to our previous high counts. That said, we had an incredible 19 species banded, meaning over half of the birds were different species which is nice to see. Most times high banded numbers means less species diversity as we often get many of the same species, so it’s nice to see some diversity! Hopefully as this heat wave passes and we move back into low double digits by Friday, we’ll see an increase in bird activity.

Banded 32:

Female Red-bellied Woodpecker. -KMP


2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
1 Downy Woodpecker
4 Ruby Crowned Kinglets
1 Grey-cheeked Thrush
3 Cedar Waxwings
1 Blue-headed Vireo
7 Myrtle Warblers
3 Blackpoll Warblers
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
3 White-throated Sparrows
1 White-crowned Sparrow
1 Slate-coloured Junco
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 39 spp.
Xavier

October 9th; Fern Hill Burlington:

Wendy Derrick, founder and driving force behind Fern Hill Schools, releasing her first bird: Ruby-crowned Kinglet. -DOL


We had a nice first round but the heat picked up quickly and turned off the tap. The highlight was the observation of 2 separate Peregrine Falcons in the vicinity. One just cruising by and the other checking out a flock of starlings.
Banded 13:
1 Downy Woodpecker
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Nashville Warbler

Female Eastern Towhee. -DOL


1 Eastern Towhee
1 Song Sparrow
3 White-throated Sparrows
2 House Sparrows

ET’s: 30 spp.
Rick

October 9th; Owling at Fern Hill Oakville:

Oakville’s Young Ornithologists with the first Northern Saw-whet Owl of the night. -RW


I must say that I didn’t approach this owling attempt very optimistically because it was so darn hot but….what the heck….if they’re there, they’re there….or not. And what luck! We got one on the first net check – a HY female. The 2nd net check didn’t produce anything but it caused most of the students to head for home – young kids with school the next day. But on the 3rd check we got another, much to the joy of the few older students who were able to stick around.

One of two Saw-whets caught at the Oakville campus. -RW


Rick

October 10th; Ruthven Park Banding Station:
It was warm at opening and got HOT quickly as soon as the sun got up. And although we didn’t have much of a wind, the little we did have managed to festoon the nets with leaves. Given these 2 factors we decided to close down a little early. The disturbing trend in lower banding numbers continued into the 1st ten-day period of October: we averaged 52 birds banded per day, down about 17 per day from the long term average.
Banded 37:
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Hermit Thrushes
5 American Robins
1 Nashville Warbler
5 Myrtle Warblers

Young male Northern Cardinal. -KMP


1 Northern Cardinal
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
12 White-throated Sparrows
2 Purple Finches

Lyn with her first banded bird. -MMG


Shaggy Mane – a good-eating mushroom. -KMP


ET’s: 41 spp.
Rick

October 11 – Ruthven Park Banding Station:
A productive day with the first net round producing most of the birds that were handled today. Both Bill Read and David Brewer were helping with the banding this morning and it was great when a number of the “Larks” came for visit. It was a good time having Bill and Dave showing the ladies the birds and having their help with net rounds and closing when the nets needed all hands on deck to pick leaves out!

A couple of old geezers telling birding yarns of their youth…..when there were LOTS of birds. (Bill Read and David Brewer – great help teaching kids….and just about everyone.) -NRF


No day with the Larks is complete without a picnic!! -E. Serena


Banded 60:
1 Mourning Dove
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 Brown Creepers
9 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 Eastern Bluebirds
2 American Robins
3 Tennessee Warblers
25 Myrtle Warblers
1 Blackpoll Warbler
2 Song Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
9 American Goldfinches

Eastern Bluebird. -E. Serena


Field Sparrow. -E. Serena


ET’s: 45 Species
Nancy

October 11th; Fern Hill Oakville:
It was almost delightful to feel the lower morning temperature (22) and then to feel going down in the course of the morning, reaching just 17 by mid-afternoon. And there were birds on the move: small flocks of American Goldfinches headed over flying SW; a flock of 65 Blue Jays went by followed throughout the morning by 1’s and 2’s; there was a group of at least 7 Western Palm Warblers foraging along the edge (of which we managed to band 3). And, big surprise, 3 Common Ravens flew right overhead, calling!
Banded 16:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 Western Palm Warblers
6 Song Sparrows
1 House Finch

ET’s: 27 spp.
Rick