May 23rd – Dancing Around the Rain

A later migrant and one of my favourites – male Mourning Warbler. -MAS

We opened just after 5. At that time the skies were largely clear (the waning moon was quite visible in the western sky) but there was a cloud bank to the West – a fast moving cloud bank as it turned out. By the time Dave started the census (around 6:30) the sky was half covered and ominous clouds were rising in the distance. The weather/rain map showed the rain holding off until around 9:30….and it was right! But then a thunderstorm hit and it teemed down. Fortunately we had most everything closed down and prepared to sit it out. The rain map showed it passing by 10:30 and it was…almost….right. When it did pass we opened a few of the nets for another 2 hours.

Look at the bill of this big male grackle – a predator’s bill. And it can do a number on your fingers…… a retrap from last year. -JWC

We weren’t catching big numbers but we did get a few nice birds, especially a male Mourning Warbler, which is one of my favourites. Although generally a more northern nesting bird, I have found small nesting groups within 2 kilometers of Ruthven.

For a couple of years we have been collecting ticks from birds for John Scott, a researcher at the University of Guelph. (He’s the only person I know that gets positively excited about getting ticks!) We seem to be finding an inordinate number of parasitized birds this year. I don’t know if there’s more tick infestations or we’re just getting better at finding them. A couple of the birds today were carrying multiple ticks – House Wren with 3 and a Common Yellowthroat with 8!

3 ticks removed from the House Wren. -MAS

Banded 29:
1 Tree Swallow
1 Blue Jay

Tick above the eye of this House Wren. -MAS

1 House Wren
1 Eastern Bluebird
3 Gray Catbird
1 Red-eyed Vireo
3 Yellow Warblers

Chestnut-sides Warbler. -MAS

2 Chestnut-sided Warblers

For comparison: Magnolia Warblers – female on the left; male on the right. -MAS

6 Magnolia Warblers
2 American Redstarts

Mourning Warbler. -MAS

1 Mourning Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat

Male Wilson’s Warbler. -MAS

3 Wilson’s Warblers
1 Song Sparrow
1 Baltimore Oriole (bringing our total to 110)
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 64 spp.

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