February 28th – Last Kick At The Can?

When Christine Madliger was just starting out bunting banding she had difficulty weighing the birds – she would place them on the scale but they just wouldn’t stay there. So she devised this container….it’s made a big difference! -NRF


Our strategy of removing the traps in time to allow birds to feed unhindered proved to be a good one today. There were lots of birds in the bait area – there was one flock (at least) of 250+ birds. They were pretty flighty, possibly due to 2 male Northern Harriers working the local fields. Even so, we banded 50 birds: 44 Snow Buntings, 4 Horned Larks, and 2 Lapland Longspurs (first for the season).

This shot gives you a good idea of the topography. Despite the recent snow fall the field is half bare due to the high winds. the patchy white/brown is ideal colour for white/brown Snow Buntings. You can see that it won’t take much to rid the field of ALL the snow. -NRF


I’ve got the feeling that we’re not going to see them much longer. Despite the recent snow and current cold, windy conditions, the snow cover in the fields is thin – the wind took care of that. So when it gets mild in the next couple of days the snow that does remain will be gone….and the Snow Buntings with it.

Pictures:

Our effective trapping site on Duxbury is just 50 m. off the road. -NRF


Female Lapland Longspur. -NRF


Male Lapland Longspur. -NRF


Lapland Longspur comparison: female (left), male (right). [Interestingly, in this pair, the male weighed 10 g. more than the female!] -NRF


Wing detail of an ASY-F Snow Bunting. -DOL


Wing detail of an ASY-M Snow Bunting. -NRF


Rick

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