August 31st – Practice Run

Three of the eight Bobolinks banded this morning. The middle, light breasted bird, is an older (AHY) male. -DOL

A banding season is a long haul. And you have to prepare – like you would train for a marathon. So today was a “training” day. We opened all the nets (we had up – we put up the last ones, 8 & 9, at the end of the day). I wanted to see how early I would have to get up in order to start opening well before sunrise but I didn’t feel compelled to get there and start right at 6:00. And I didn’t motor around from net to net opening as I went….more of a casual pace. Even so, the nets were ready to go by 7:00. We also opened the 2 nets in the Bobolink field and put on the sound system. Filled the feeders. Wrote down the weather. In short, we did all the things at a leisurely pace that we will have to start doing tomorrow in earnest. But we’re ready!

There was a nice movement of birds during the cool of the first part of the morning and we were able to tap into it. We banded 37 birds and retrapped another 17, thus handling 54 overall.

Odd head feather colouring on a female Downy Woodpecker. -DOL

The pace allowed us to take a good look for migrants and we weren’t disappointed. Most interesting was the movement of birds very high above us: swallows (too high to identify) and 5 Common Nighthawks. I love nighthawks. They used to be so common when I was a kid in east Hamilton. But now…..seeing just a few is a treat. They appeared to be generally following the track of the river. Mixed in with these high fliers was a number of migrating Monarch Butterflies, heading SW while riding a NE breeze. We saw some of these wonderful insects quite early and at great height and I wonder whether they fly through the night when weather conditions are right…..just musing….it’s a long way to Mexico with a lot of odds stacked against them so if they can catch a good wind…..

And while I’m musing: we encountered the first Red-breasted Nuthatch of the year. I wonder if this will be an irruption year for northern breeders. Sometimes we see quite a few of them and some years hardly any. This is early as we don’t expect to see them – if we see them – until later in the Fall.

Banded 37:
1 Mourning Dove
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Eastern Wood-pewee
2 Traill’s Flycatchers
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 House Wrens
3 Gray Catbirds
1 Warbling Vireo
5 Red-eyed Vireos

Female (left) and male Blue-winged Warblers. -DOL

2 Blue-winged Warblers
1 Magnolia Warbler

First Magnolia Warbler of the Fall season. -DOL

2 Common Yellowthroats
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Field Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
8 Bobolinks

ET’s: 43 spp.

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