May 18th & 19th – Movin’ Through

Our first Black-billed Cuckoo of the year.

Our first Black-billed Cuckoo of the year.

The Big Push is finally upon us. Thank goodness! I was getting a little frazzled in anticipation. These are the days that banders and birders wait for – the days of variety and stunning plumages. Take a look at these following pictures, Bay-breasted Warbler and Blackpoll Warbler. In the Fall they present an identificaiton nightmare unless you get a good look at them (or get them in the hand). But now….no problem. These are two of my favourite warblers but it’s not for the plumage but, rather, for the enormous migratory flights they make. Looking up their winter range in the National Geographic Complete Birds of North America, you will find that the Bay-breasted can be found along “forest edges, second growth from Costa Rica through Panama to northwestern Colombia, northern Venezuela”. The Blackpoll winters in a “variety of wooded habitats in northern South America east of Andes south to northern Bolivia”. Just think of how far these birds have travelled just to get here! But also consider the dynamics of their journey: the Bay-breasted is a “trans-Gulf migrant”, meaning that it crosses the Gulf of Mexico and the Blackpoll, in the Fall, flies for 84+ hours in a non-stop flight from the New England States to the north coast of South America. Fantastic. Big, big over-water flights with NO room for error or misjudgement.

Male Bay-breasted Warbler.

Male Bay-breasted Warbler.

A young male Blackpoll Warbler.

A young male Blackpoll Warbler.

One of the visitors on Saturday made a comment on how neat it would be if you could just fit one of those little sports cameras (like, for example, skiers use) to their heads. Think of what you would see! No matter hom many times I see these birds, I’m astounded.

These two days have been a lot of fun. The first 2 or 3 net rounds have produced a lot of birds. This morning alone, the first round came up with 15 species and the second round came up with another, but different, fifteen! Right now you just don’t know what might be waiting in the next net – especially before 8:00 AM.

The "Ruthven Ringers" - our esteemed Birdathon Team under the great guidance of Matt Timpf.

The “Ruthven Ringers” – our esteemed Birdathon Team under the great guidance of Matt Timpf.

Hi Rick,
Ben, Liz and I had a GREAT day of birding yesterday. We birded very hard all day and were rewarded with 143 species! Two more than last year! Woo-hoo. We missed several common birds, so we were happy with our final result.

Among the highlights were 20+ species of warblers (including stunning views of a male Hooded, and a singing Cerulean), 3 Clay-coloured Sparrows, Red-headed Woodpecker, Black-crowned Night Heron, and 3 calling Eastern Whip-poor-will. We were ecstatic to end our night with a Virginia Rail calling at Dry Lake, just before our return to Ruthven.

I will write up a proper full day summary in the next few days which I will send to you.
I am off to Kingston to help catch Whip-poor-wills for the next few nights, so I hope to stop by Ruthven Friday morning before I head up for the Carden Challenge.

May 18th; Banded 61:
3 Traill’s Flycatchers
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
1 House Wren
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Swainson’s Thrush
1 Wood Thrush
5 Gray Catbirds
2 Blue-winged Warblers
1 Nashville Warbler
7 Yellow Warblers
6 Chestnut-sided Warblers
9 Magnolia Warblers
4 Myrtle Warblers
4 American Redstarts
1 Ovenbird
1 Northern Waterthrush
2 Common Yellowthroats
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Field Sparrow
2 Baltimore Orioles
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 71 spp.

May 19th; Banded 51:
1 Black-billed Cuckoo
2 Tree Swallows
1 House Wren
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers
1 Veery
1 Swainson’s Thrush
1 American Robin
7 Gray Catbirds
1 Philadelphia Vireo
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Tennessee Warbler
6 Yellow Warblers
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
4 Magnolia Warblers
2 Myrtle Warblers
1 Western Palm Warbler
1 Bay-breasted Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Black and White Warbler
2 American Redstarts
1 Northern Waterthrush
2 Common Yellowthroats
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
1 Baltimore Oriole

ET’s: 75 spp.


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