May 21st – Into The Home Stretch

A great recapture: a male Blue-winged Warbler that was originally banded AS AN ADULT in August 2010 making it at least 9 years old. It likely has spent its Winters in Central America, so has flown tens of thousands of kilometers. -KMP


We have just 10 days of Spring banding left….where has the time gone?! And think of the enormous biomass that has passed through the area during this time, much of it high overhead while we slept. We will continue to get latecomers for awhile yet but even these will begin to dwindle before too long. In the meantime locally breeding birds are vying for territories and mates. But once the territories have been sorted out and nesting has started even these birds will be less noticeable (although present). Baltimore Orioles are a case in point. We have banded over 40 of them and they seem to be everywhere but once the eggs are laid you will be hard put to find them in any numbers.

Baltimore Orioles have been around in good numbers for the past week and a half – drawn to the grape jelly feeder just behind the lab. -KMP


Nancy had an interesting retrap: a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird that she banded at her home in 2017 was recaptured two days ago…at her home.

Nancy teaching onlookers about banding hummingbirds.. -C. Rintoul


A just-banded female “hummer” ready for release. -C. Rintoul


Banded 36:
1 Great Crested Flycatcher
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
7 Gray Catbirds
1 Tennessee Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
3 Magnolia Warblers
1 Blackpoll Warbler
3 American Redstarts
1 Ovenbird
5 Common Yellowthroats
1 Wilson’s Warbler
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
2 Indigo Buntings
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 Baltimore Oriole

Orchard Orioles (like this ASY male) can also be seen regularly at the Oriole feeders. -KMP


1 Orchard Oriole
2 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 64 spp.
Photos:

Female Downy Woodpecker. -KMP


Aidan “fishing” – waiting for hummingbirds to go to the feeders at which time he’ll lower a mesh trap in order to catch them. This takes great patience…. -KMP


Tadpoles in the pond in the river flats (below net 8) must be getting nervous as it is shrinking quickly. -KMP


Rick

May 20th – Late Migrants

The late migrants are moving through – Blackpoll Warblers, cuckoos and a variety of flycatchers were noticeable today and we were able to tap into them.

Banded 45:

Black-billed Cuckoo. -KMP


1 Black-billed Cuckoo
1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Eastern Wood Pewees

For comparison: Eastern Wood Pewee (left) and Traill’s Flycatcher/ -KMP


2 Traill’s Flycatchers

Again, for comparison: Eastern Wood Pewee (left) and Traill’s Flycatcher (right). -KMP


1 Eastern Kingbird

Although fiercely territorial up here, Eastern Kingbirds move in flocks in their wintering ground in Central America. -KMP


2 Tree Swallows
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
5 Gray Catbirds
1 Red-eyed Vireo

Male Tennessee Warbler – one of five banded today. -WJA


5 Tennessee Warblers
4 Yellow Warblers

Female Magnolia Warbler. -WJA


3 Magnolia Warblers

One of four male Blackpoll Warblers banded today. -KMP


4 Blackpoll Warblers
2 American Redstarts
1 Common Yellowthroat

Stunning ASY male Indigo Bunting. -WJA


1 Indigo Bunting
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
2 Common Grackles
2 Baltimore Orioles
1 Orchard Oriole
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 59 spp.

Photos:

Tick on a Lincoln’s Sparrow. -WJA


Karen removing the tick which will go to John Scott at the University of Guelph for examination. -WJA


Great Crested Flycatcher. A retrap, this bird was banded in 2017. -WJA


Close-up view of a Black-billed Cuckoo. -KMP


The cryptic eggs of a Killdeer. -KMP


Traill’s Flycatcher (probably a Willow Flycatcher). -KMP


This large Milk Snake can often be found around the front of the Mansion. We think it might spend the Winter under the stairs. -RY


Milk Snake. -CR


Rick

May 19th – Rain Delay

Four amazingly talented young women: (from left) Nola, Laura, Isabella, and Eila. It was a pleasure to spend my morning with them. They have the potential to bring Eila’s T-shirt to reality: “Strong Girls, Strong World”.


It rained through the night and into the start of the banding day causing me to delay opening for about 2 hours. When it started to let up I did a census. I expected to find more species, especially in the woods, but was frustrated. When it stopped I opened nets. Up until this point it has been quite peacefully quiet….sort of like the old days. But then the solitude was invaded by 4 delightful young people who are very keen to learn about birds and banding. So the next four hours were filled with chatter and laughter….and some nice birds. It was fun…..in the end, what this should be about I think.

Although we didn’t get a lot of birds we got enough to keep us busy and at a rate that allowed the girls to learn to handle birds, band and scribe without having to rush. And we got a nice variety (17 species) which kept it interesting.

Banded 34:
1 Traill’s Flycatcher
1 Wood Thrush

Female Yellow Warbler. -ELO


Laura with a Wood Thrush. You can see the encroaching urban sprawl in the background. -IAK


1 Gray Catbird
2 Cedar Waxwings
1 Warbling Vireo
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Blue-winged Warbler
3 Tennessee Warblers
5 Yellow Warblers
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
3 Magnolia Warblers
2 American Redstarts
1 Common Yellowthroat

A very handsome male Wilson’s Warbler. -A. Morgen


1 Wilson’s Warbler
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

Male (left) and female finger-biters: Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. -LCB


3 Baltimore Orioles

Wing detail on young (SY) male (left) and female Baltimore Orioles. -LCB


5 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 60 spp.
Photos:

Laura (left) with a male Baltimore Oriole and Isabella with the female. -ELO


Free Willy time. -ELO


I was worried that the Killdeer, which like to nest in the gravel of the parking lot, would be unsuccessful due to the heavy traffic this year because of the construction. They’re smarter than we think – they made a nest in the short grass just inside the parking barricade and well out of traffic. -ELO


Isabella helping her father, Joakin, through the hurdles of banding. -LCB

Rick

May 18th – Bringing You Up To Speed

One of the jewels of the Spring migration: male Blackburnian Warbler. -D. Ward


May 15, Ruthven Park:
When I arrived at the park hoping to open nets, a thunderstorm was rumbling through at five-thirty am with heavy rain. So, we waited, anticipating it would stop soon (checking the radar helped as well). By seven o’clock it had stopped, leaving the air muggy and misty. Even with the heavy cloud cover, we opened all of the nets and we were ready to run and close if we needed to. Thankfully, the rain held off and it was a good day with calm, overcast warm conditions. A steady morning with net checks, extracting birds from each net lane and seeing some beautiful warblers even right up to when we closed six hours later. A record number of five hummingbirds were banded, caught incidentally in the nets. New for the season included Eastern Wood-Pewee and Wilson’s Warbler.

Male Wilson’s Warbler sporting his sporty cap. -KMP


Banded 66:
5 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Traill’s Flycatcher
1 Least Flycatcher
1 Veery
1 Swainson’s Thrush
5 Gray Catbird
1 Warbling Vireo
2 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Nashville Warbler
13 Yellow Warbler
2 Chestnut-sided Warbler
5 Magnolia Warbler
1 Black-and-White Warbler
2 Common Yellowthroat
1 Wilson’s Warbler
4 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Indigo Bunting
2 Lincoln’s Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
5 Baltimore Oriole
2 Orchard Oriole
8 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 56 species
Nancy

May 15th, Fern Hill School Oakville:
It was a damp morning with showers forcing us to net “in gaps”. But we persevered and were able to tap into some of the migrants that are beginning to pour through. The most notable was a Gray-cheeked Thrush – the longest flier of the Catharus thrushes, having spent its Winter in South America.

Delight…..over a Baltimore Oriole. -KAP


Banded 33:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Least Flycatcher
2 Swainson’s Thrushes

Bentley with a Swainson’s Thrush he’s just banded. -KAP


1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
2 American Robins
1 Gray Catbird

Male Chestnut-sided Warbler – displaying its name. -KMP


3 Chestnut-sided Warblers
2 Black & White Warblers
2 American Redstarts
1 Northern Cardinal
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

Jen Pearce showing the right way to hold a “biter” – Rose-breasted Grosbeak. -KAP


1 Chipping Sparrow
9 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 Baltimore Oriole
4 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 53 spp. (including 11 species of warblers)
Rick

May 16th, Ruthven Park:
Beautiful weather day with lots of variety in the area (70 species for ET’s).

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird (lower) and female above. -KMP


Banded 50:
2 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
2 Northern Rough-winged Swallows
2 House Wrens
2 Swainson’s Thrushes
1 American Robin
6 Gray Catbirds
1 Yellow-throated Vireo
2 Blue-winged Warblers
2 Tennessee Warblers
7 Yellow Warblers
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
1 American Redstart
1 Common Yellowthroat
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Indigo Bunting
4 Red-winged Blackbirds
7 Baltimore Orioles
5 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 70 spp.
Rick

Yellow-breasted Chat!! -BGO


May 16th, Lowville Park:
The morning started off slower then most, perhaps all the birds involved in last nights fallout moved on. The fallout was in full extent across the lake, with warblers, videos and flycatchers everywhere you looked. During the first round it was evident there were no lack of birds but they were just not per taking in the dawn chorus. Warblers were common and so were catbirds. The highlight of the day would of been the Sharp Shinned Hawk pulled out of #3 but a Yellow breasted Chat won that award for today. The yellow breasted chat belongs to the warbler family, and is very rare in the Hamilton study area (40km radius from Dundurn castle) with approximately 1-2 records per year.

Banded:31 spp.
Sharp Shinned Hawk-1
Swainson’s Thrush-1
Veery-2
Wood thrush-2
Ruby crowned Kinglet-1
Great crested flycatcher-1
Grey Catbird-11
Tennessee warbler-1
Magnolia warbler-2
Black throated blue warbler-1
American redstart-1
Common yellowthroat-1
Ovenbird-1
Yellow breasted chat-1
White throated sparrow-1
Swamp Sparrow-1
Baltimore Oriole-2
Ben

May 16th, Fern Hill Burlington:

It was nice to back at the school after a week spent away banding at Ruthven. May 16th was a busy banding and birding day, with an ET of 44 species observed throughout the day. We had our first Chimney Swifts, Carolina Wren, Wilson’s Warbler, Nashville Warbler, RB Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, Eastern Kingbird, and Warbling Vireo observed this season. We banded 27 birds including:
2 American Robins
5 Gray Catbirds
1 Chipping Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
4 Baltimore Orioles
10 American Goldfinches
3 House Sparrows
Katherine

May 17th, Ruthven Park:
A slow beautiful weather day – a good day for sitting on the dock of the bay but not for catching/banding birds. Interestingly American Goldfinches dried up – we didn’t band a single one and had only 2 retraps. They’ve moved on.

Banded 25:
5 Gray Catbirds
1 Blue-winged Warbler
6 Tennessee Warblers
1 Nashville Warbler
3 Yellow Warblers
1 Magnolia Warbler
5 Common Yellowthroats

Female Scarlet Tanager (compare with the female Summer Tanager from previous blog). -DOL


1 Scarlet Tanager
1 Song Sparrow
1 Baltimore Oriole

ET’s: 66 spp.
Rick

May 17th, Fern Hill Burlington:
This was Grandparents’ Day at Fern Hill Burlington, always a fun day filled with curious elders watching their grandchildren display a set of birding and banding skills with pride. We had lower numbers than the previous day but we had a consistent stream of birds that allowed us time to demonstrate the banding process thoroughly. We banded a total of 12 birds including:
1 Least Flycatcher
1 House Wren
2 Gray Catbirds
1 Brown Thrasher
3 Yellow Warblers
3 Baltimore Orioles
1 American Goldfinch
An interesting recapture was a female Yellow Warbler originally banded in 2016 as a SY bird. Janice squeezed in a census in between the activities of the busy day and observed the first Eastern Wood Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, and Bay-breasted Warbler of the year.
Katherine

May 18th, Ruthven Park:
There was a NE wind during the night that must have slowed some migrants down as there seemed to be more around this morning. We had a delightful group from a Brantford school – an environmental club made up of students from several grades rather than a single grade. It was a breath of fresh air – all the kids wanted to be here and see what was going on. This gave us the chance to expose some of the older students to actual banding, which made their experience even more meaningful.

Banded 42:
2 Eastern Wood Pewees
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
4 Gray Catbirds
2 Cedar Waxwings
1 Warbling Vireo
6 Tennessee Warblers

A difficult bird to ID at a distance – female Cape May Warbler. -KNP


2 Cape May Warblers
4 Yellow Warblers

First Blackpoll Warbler banded this year – a real long-distance migrant. -DOL


1 Blackpoll Warbler
2 American Redstarts
1 Ovenbird
3 Common Yellowthroats
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
2 Indigo Buntings
1 Field Sparrow
2 Baltimore Orioles
5 American Goldfinches
1 House Sparrow

ET’s: 69 spp.
Rick
Photo Gallery from the past several days:

Nashville Warbler. -D. Ward


Red-eyed Vireo. They returned somewhat late this year. -D. Ward


Female Yellow Warbler. -D. Ward


Dave Maida…..hard at work. -JDF


Faye brought her class…..and then got to teach them about banding. -JDF


A young (SY) male American Redstart. From a distance it looks like a female but note the black blotches on the face – full adult black plumage just beginning to moult in. This warbler is different than other warblers in that it takes 2 years to attain adult breeding plumage. -KMP


Baltimore Oriole dropping in for a cocktail. This has been a VERY successful feeder for us. -KMP


Lincoln’s Sparrow – note the buffy upper chest. -KMP


Two male Magnolia Warblers. -KMP


Forster’s Tern. -L. Isaacs


Spotted Sandpiper. -L. Isaacs


Male Brewster’s Warbler. -NRF


Warbling Vireos. -KMP