April 18th-20th

Note: Both Rick and Jeff are away this week, so the blog will only be updated sporadically.

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April 20th

In keeping with our Charlton Heston theme, Exodus seemed to be the word of the day. Many of the Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, and free-loading American Goldfinches apparently left during the night, as did many of the warblers. There was still decent variety around, just less of it.

Banding was slow until some kindly visitors revived me with chocolate and Mexican Oregano Focaccio (the latter sadly devoured by vultures after I had a mere smidge – vultures from the Gate House being especially voracious in the Ruthven environs). Revived I managed Ruthven’s first Mourning Warbler of the season and a very late White-Throated Sparrow before the weather became too nice and birds stopped moving.

Banded: 31
Blue-Winged Warbler 2
Wilson’s Warbler 2
Magnolia Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 1
American Redstart 1
Common Yellowthroat 2
“Traill’s” Flycatcher 1
Yellow Warbler 4
Blackpoll Warbler 1
House Wren 2
Mourning Warbler 1
Tennessee Warbler 1
Eastern Wood Pewee 1
Red-Eyed Vireo 1
Song Sparrow 1
Swainson’s Thrush 2
White-Breasted Nuthatch 1
Eastern Bluebird 1
White-Throated Sparrow 1
Grey Catbird 4

Retrapped: 15
House Wren 3
Yellow Warbler 5
Field Sparrow 2
Red-Eyed Vireo 1 (banded as a SY in 2004 it had chestnut coloured eyes)
Brown-Headed Cowbird 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Baltimore Oriole 1
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 1

58 species recorded during the day including an Osprey with a White Sucker.

B

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April 19th

A very quiet day with few visitors and sadly, fewer birds. There were a number of warblers around, including the season’s first Orange-Crowned Warblers, but nothing like the diversity observed over the long weekend. A group of three Cape May Warblers foraging in front of the mansion was a nice sighting, and at least one Northern Parula was still around.

Gusting winds came up during census which made birding the river flats rather fruitless and may have contributed to the low 63 species total encountered.

The first Common Green Darner of the season made an appearance.

With close to 80 visitors over the long weekend it was surprising that one of the most frequently asked questions was “What is the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak screaming at you?” invariably asked when one of the pied shrieking finger crunchers was in the midst of vivisectioning my hand. Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks frequently quote Charlton Heston (likely the first time he has been mentioned in the blog) from the movie _Planet of the Apes_ while being banded. Something along the lines of “Get your stinking paws off me you damned dirty ape.” Now you know.

Banded: 29
Magnolia Warbler 2
Least Flycatcher 1
Orange-Crowned Warbler 2 (usually we band only a single one per spring)
Nashville Warbler 1
Tennessee Warbler 1
American Goldfinch 3
Yellow Warbler 3
Blackpoll Warbler 3
Yellow-Rumped Warbler 1
House Wren 1
Red-Eyed Vireo 1
Indigo Bunting 1
White-Breasted Nuthatch 1
Swainson’s Thrush 1
Cedar Waxwing 1
Grey Catbird 2
Baltimore Oriole 1
Northern Cardinal 2
American Robin 1

Retrapped: 16
Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher 1
American Goldfinch 1
Yellow Warbler 3
Common Yellowthroat 1
Chipping Sparrow 1
Black-Capped Chickadee 1
House Wren 1
White-Breasted Nuthatch 1
Baltimore Oriole 1
Grey Catbird 2
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 3

B

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April 18th

There was a probable Clay-Coloured Sparrow at Ruthven late yesterday afternoon after closing time but sadly it was not evident this morning. Totally evident however was the frost covering everything at dawn and the diminishment of bird song in comparison to the past couple of days. There was still a decent variety of birds around though (69 species) they just did not seem as active. Maybe it was me. I did not feel active…apparently a sleepover with 4 year olds does not involve much actual sleep…for any one.

Peter “Census King” Thoem came and did census and led an al fresco birding hike for some of our 42 visitors. The group encountered 61 species which is this season’s highest total. Rick, the previous record holder with 54, has fled in shame to Georgian Bay to try the life of a Great Lakes mariner.

For Giovanni’s birthday celebrations, held today at Ruthven, I captured an extra special European Starling in his honour. He was so touched he was speechless…or perhaps he just ceased talking to me. He was silent in any case. The cake was nice….I was only sorry I couldn’t manage a wonderful House Sparrow too.

We have now had well over 500 visitors to the station this spring. Thanks again to OPG for the grant that allowed us to expand the banding lab. Many visitors say it smells like pancakes and/or maple syrup. All I get is a faint whiff of something rather more fecal in nature….

Banded: 41
Chestnut-Sided Warbler 3
American Goldfinch 5
Blue-Winged Warbler 1
Least Flycatcher 1
Magnolia Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 4
Blackpoll Warbler 4
Yellow-Rumped Warbler 2
Common Yellowthroat 1
Indigo Bunting 3
Swainson’s Thrush 1
Song Sparrow 1
Red-Winged Blackbird 1
Grey Catbird 4
Baltimore Oriole 3
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 3
American Robin 1
European Starling 1
Common Grackle 1

Retrapped: 16
American Goldfinch 4
American Redstart 1
Yellow Warbler 4
Common Yellowthroat 1
Song Sparrow 1
Grey Catbird 1
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 4

B

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