April 30th – Clean-up Day

Early morning fog.

Trying to open the nets in the mist.

I arrived early (5:30) intent on getting the nets up before any birds were on the move. But Mother Nature was having none of this zeal – the temperature was just below freezing and the fog/mist iced up the nets and slicked the poles. We had to wait until the sun was well clear of the horizon before the frost melted and we could start opening.

This was Clean-up Day, the day when board members and volunteers spend a morning sprucing up the grounds, getting ready for the coming “tourist season”. The timing was impeccable, falling just 2 days after the Big Blow, so there were branches all over the place that needed to be picked up and treeslimbs to cut down. We had a great turn out of helpers to do the work. My role on this day is quite varied: oversee the banding (that should read: get out of the way of the banders), help organize, by matching people with tasks (“look at those hands, you look like the perfect person to pull garlic mustard….”), check to make sure everything is getting done and people have what they need, and run back and forth to get Marilynn and Natalie coffees to help them stay on task. In truth, I’m a river unto my people……Oh, and did I mention that I had to do quality control checks on all the goodies? You can’t be giving out old coffee and stale muffins! With all this management to do and the number of coffees that the girls required, I didn’t get much chance to actually do any work, much to my chagrin. The whole morning is topped off with a BBQ lunch featuring Walter Peace’s famed potato salad – no matter what else he achieves in life, he will at least be remembered for his potato salad. When all was said and done, we got a lot of work done and the grounds look great.

Unusual for a clean-up day, it was warm and sunny (vs cold and rainy). Of course, as anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time knows, nice weather in the Spring is anathema for catching birds. And this day was no different. We handled only 49 (18 ‘new’ and 31 retraps). We had a pretty good census turning up 38 species and had a total of 53 species for the day. The 2 new arrivals were: Solitary Sandpipers and a Baltimore Oriole. We also had a number of visitors which makes it fun as well. Ethan and his grandfather travelled all the way from Brantford and arrived just as the sun burned off the fog, so fairly early.

Banded 18:
1 Tree Swallow
2 Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warblers
3 Chipping Sparrows
2 Field Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
2 Red-winged Blackbirds
2 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 31:
2 Downy Woodpeckers
2 House Wrens
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
3 American Tree Sparrows
9 Chipping Sparrows
3 Field Sparrows
5 Song Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
4 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Amercian Goldfinch

ET’s: 53 spp.

Today’s Gallery:
Male (L) and female (R) Yellow-rumped Warblers

Nancy and Faye discussing the finer points of....ornithology.

1st White-crowned Sparrow

The infamous #202 - the Chipping Sparrow that's got it figured out.

Faye helping Ethan hold a short-necked Tree Swallow


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