April 14th – A Little Spice

A lovely male Yellow-rumped Warbler - one of 5 banded this morning.

There’s some inherent truth in that old adage: variety is the spice of life. Since April 1st we’ve been getting by on “meat and potatoes” it seems. Goldfinches and even more goldfinches. Now don’t get me wrong, I like goldfinches. [I also like meat and potatoes….] Over the years, we’ve banded thousands of them and there’s been some amazing recoveries of our birds – New Orleans, Long Island, West Virginia. But….after awhile it’s nice to handle something different. And the birds that are beginning to arrive bring with them a dash of colour (other than gold and olive). Kinglets with their ruby crowns; White-throated Sparrows with their black and white striping (in the white morphs anyway); the brilliant blue-gray, black, white and gold of a Yellow-rumped Warbler; the subtle russests of a Hermit Thrush or Fox Sparrow.

Joseph, visiting from Aurora, and Faye, with the Yellow-rump.

And we’re beginning to get that variety now – slowly, but it has started to come. During the Winter, a day at Ruthven wold turn up ~25 species on a good day. In March this began to climb to the mid-30’s. In early April we might encounter 40 species. But today, we finally hit the ’50’ mark, made possible by the sighting of the first Fox and Savannah Sparrows of the year. (The latter was a good find as we don’t see many of them in the banding area.) As I was doing the net rounds today, for the first time I became aware of the excitement that comes from anticipating something new and colourful and exciting as one approaches each net. The spice for all this meat and potatoes….

The first Fox Sparrow of the year - heard by and then caught in net #8.

In a way, I was kind of expecting to encounter some interesting migrants. A site I mentioned a few days ago, shows the active winds in the U.S. and it indicated that there were light southerly winds blowing thoughout the night south of us. (I’m going to get in the habit of checking this site the night before and morning of each banding day.)

Evidently, you have to push the 'on' button.....

Banded 40:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Black-capped Chickadee (an unbanded chickadee is a real rarity at this time of year at Ruthven)
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
6 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 American Robins
5 Yellow-rumped Warblers
1 Field Sparrow
1 Fox Sparrow
3 White-throated Sparrows
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
6 Brown-headed Cowbirds
1 Purple Finch
8 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 34:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 American Robin
2 American Tree Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
5 Song Sparrows
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
9 Brown-headed Cowbirds
8 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 50 spp.

Trout-lily along the Fox Den Trail. - A. Klaus

I had a nice note from Anne Klaus who has been working VERY hard on establishing and maintaining the Fox Den Trail. It seems to have become a labour of love as she is putting a lot of time into it but, by doing so, is turning it into one of the nicest bits of woodland trail you could ever want to walk along. Here’s an excerpt:

I am also blown away by the wildflowers on the FDT – such a treasure
that has been, completely unexpected, the best kind, the thousands of
May Apples and Trout Lilies, not to mention violets – it gives the trail
a whole new inspiration, the Wild Flower Trail!!, as I can assure you,
the Cootes trails are desolate in comparison.

Everything is greening up. - A. Klaus

- A. Klaus


Leave a Reply