April 16th – Tough Times!

I went to Oakville first thing and had to rescue 6 nets that had come down. A couple were in the snow and had to be carefully taken up. But it was raining hard so I packed it in after doing a walk about. I then headed back to Ruthven where Nancy was holding down the fort. She opened a couple of traps close to the lab and was getting a few. But around noon the rain tapered off and birds came to the baited traps to make up for lost time and put on some energy…so catching was good, with just a couple of traps.

We also did an early afternoon census to see what might be about. With all the snow and then rain and ensuing melt the river was rising quickly. But the wind had shifted to the SW and had dropped so there weren’t the mass of birds eking out their survival at the water’s edge. For a treat, 2 different species of grebe were foraging along the near shore: Pied-billed and Horned. This was only the 2nd or 3rd Horned Grebe I’ve seen here.

I watched some of the Tree Swallows that were looking for emerging midges over the river. When they were facing into the wind, which would give them some effortless lift, they would seem to “bounce” on the surface: dropping to pick up something then lifting upwards for a couple of meters and before dropping again, over and over. It was very reminiscent of gulls and terns over the ocean. One hapless swallow was so intent on grabbing morsels beneath it that it failed to see the Sharp-shinned Hawk that had flown out from the trees on the far shore. The hawk flew in a straight line for the swallow from behind the swallow’s right wing tip. The hawk grabbed its prey effortlessly and flew with it right over our heads into the trees in front of the Mansion to enjoy its meal. Tough break for the swallow. A nice meal for the raptor.

Continuing the census along the Carolinian Trail we came upon the first Myrtle Warblers of the year (3 brilliant males) and the first Hermit Thrush.

Banded 45:
2 Mourning Doves
1 European Starling
4 American Tree Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
15 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Red-winged Blackbird
16 Brown-headed Cowbird
5 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 40 spp.

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