May 22nd – Winding Down

Male Yellow Warbler in the net. - R. Mueller

Sure, birds are continuing to move through in good numbers but make no mistake – we’re over the hump, the bulk of the migration has moved through. We’ll continue to catch birds but in diminishing numbers, probably past the end of May, but the main body of migrants has passed. The reason I say this is that many of the neotropical migrants we’re seeing now are either young males or females. As well, we’re now getting what I term the “late” migrants: Blackpoll Warblers and Gray-cheeked Thrushes. These don’t usually show up here until most of the other species have been moving through for two weeks or so. Just think what an incredible biomass has passed over our heads in the past month during the night and most people aren’t even aware.

2nd place team in the Great Ruthven Bird-off.

The weather was overcast all morning and we got intermittent, very light showers for most of it. Not enough to warrant closing the nets but enough to dampen my notebook pages. This was important because this was the morning of the Great Ruthven Bird-off. I was pitted against a team of young birding aces from Hamilton – who could count the most species during the census? It was a hard-fought battle but in the end my 47 species trounced the young upstarts and they finished a distant second…..out of two. So, really, they’re the first….of the losers. The competitors were (looking at the picture and going from left to right): Brett Sennett, Ezra Campanelli, Giovanni Campanelli, Lukian Husak, and Zakhar Husak.

We got the “best” birds later in the morning: our first Gray-cheeked Thrush of the year and, just as I was closing, 3 Blackpoll Warblers (two females and a male).

My wife Marg - deomostrating it's like riding a bike.

Angie taking the first step toward becoming a bander. - R. Mueller

Angie and Ann holding a pair of Blackpoll Warblers - the first we banded this year.

We had an interesting mix of visitors: my wife Marg came out to help extract while I was doing the census; Rob and Angie, who have aspirations of learning how to band drove down from Toronto; Dorothy and her two birding daughters from Burlington and Vancouver came to try to add to their lists; the Campanellis and Husak boys to compete in the Bird-off. It was an active place – even without the birds.
Banded 35:
1 Downy Woodpecker
3 Eastern Bluebirds (juveniles in a nest box)
1 Veery
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
2 Swainson’s Thrushes
5 Gray Catbirds
1 Tennessee Warbler
4 Yellow Warblers
2 Magnolia Warblers
3 Blackpoll Warblers
2 American Redstarts
4 Common Yellowthroats
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Song Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
2 Baltimore Orioles

Retrapped 14:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Gray Catbird
2 Blue-winged Warblers
4 Yellow Warblers
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Chipping Sparrow
3 Baltimore Orioles

ET’s: 63 spp.

Today’s Photo Gallery:

Female (left) and male (right) Blackpoll Warblers

Female American Redstart.

Female Tennessee Warbler - R. Mueller


Leave a Reply