May 1st – Back to Unsettled Weather

Mammatocumulus, signifying great turbulence high overhead.

An ominous sky portending the rain to come.

Peter Thoem: “This morning’s sky portended ugly weather. The birds knew better than to venture out very far. Where did they go? A quick look at the sky was enough to make anyone stay home. The top photograph is of a cloud formation known as mammatus or mammatocumulus. Whatever its name it is a symptom of unstable air, usually associated with malevolent weather. The second picture also hints at malevolent weather to come. While I can’t put a name to this type of cloud formation, the birds knew enough to stay in. But where? Medieval scholars believed swallows spent the winter in the mud of ponds – perhaps the Grand River holds a secret cache of bird life..”

Note the blue edging of the secondary and primary coverts.

Peter’s search of the mud notwithstanding, we didn’t have a lot of variety this morning – only 48 species encountered although one of them was a new arrival: a stunning ASY (After Second Year) male Indigo Bunting. Although we banded a respectable 34 birds, 15 of these were American Goldfinches.

Banded 34:
1 Northern Flicker
1 Tree Swallow
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
1 American Robin
1 Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warbler
1 Indigo Bunting
2 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
5 White-throated Sparrows
3 Red-winged Blackbirds
15 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 37:
1 Tree Swallow
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 American Robin
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
3 American Tree Sparrows
13 Chipping Sparrows
2 Field Sparrows
2 Song Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Red-winged Blackbird
3 Brown-headed Cowbirds
4 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 48 spp.

Today’s Gallery:

An older (ASY) male Indigo Bunting.

Ben talking things over with a White-throated Sparrow

The elusive (at least to the 2 visitors looking for it this morning) Titmouse.


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