May 24th – Ruthven Ringers Reign!

2014 edition of the Ruthven Ringers with their first bird - Tennessee Warbler. Ben has grown a little since last year.

2014 edition of the Ruthven Ringers with their first bird – Tennessee Warbler. Ben has grown a little since last year.

The Three Amigos had thrown down the gauntlet: 138 species in a 24-hour period. So the team, gathering at 6:00 this morning, knew they had a big job on their hands, especially as they had only 14 hours to work with as Matt was heading out this evening for the Yukon. But this was the classic battle of age and beauty versus youth and….adolescent …gawkishness. And you know who wins that battle.

The Ringers got their first bird, a Tennessee Warbler, right at 6:00 (we had just banded it) and set out to do the census. An hour later they were up to 49 species…a good start. Ben texted in periodically to let me know how things were going: 10:45 – 94 spp.; 4:20 – 131; 4:30 – 135; [you could sense the tension!] 5:20 – 140; 5:35 – 142; 6:00 – 145!! (Finishing off with Whimbrel and Red Knot!). Not only had they blown the Amigos away but they had bested last year’s record of 143 species. Great job Ringers!!
[If you haven’t had a chance to support our Birdathon team there’s still time. Visit:
The Ruthven Ringers BSC donation page]

Lovely SY male Blackpoll Warbler.

Lovely SY male Blackpoll Warbler.

It wasn’t quite so exciting here at “base camp”. Sure, we had a Blackpoll Warbler and another lovely male Mourning Warbler but not much else. Just enough to keep the very interested visiting children excited.

Faye demonstrating the wrong way to show off a stunning male Mourning Warbler.

Faye demonstrating the wrong way to show off a stunning male Mourning Warbler.

Odds & Ends:

Purple Martin in the top of the Weeping Willow - bringing green leaves back to the nest.

Purple Martin in the top of the Weeping Willow – bringing green leaves back to the nest.

It was common today to see Purple Martins sitting in the tops of the weeping willow trees. There they would pluck green leaves and carry them back to their nesting box/gourd. Green leaves are the last addition to the nest before they start laying eggs…..so any day now.

Redbud in bloom.

Redbud in bloom.

It’s a late Spring so the leaves and flowers on many trees are still just opening. The forest still has that “fuzzy” look – like a Japanese watercolour – before the leaves are fully formed.

Baltimore Oriole nest made largely with synthetic fibres.

Baltimore Oriole nest made largely with synthetic fibres.

This Baltimore Oriole nest is just to the left of the Mansion. The reddish tinge is the result of the bird using synthetic orange fibres. I’ve looked around but can’t find the source of them.

The Purple Martin colony will soon be expanded with another collection of gourds.

The Purple Martin colony will soon be expanded with another collection of gourds.

We have around 22 birds at the colony so far this year. The colony capacity is going to increase next week when we put up a new array of 16 gourds. We’ve found that the birds much prefer gourds to the metal housing units. It’s unfortunate that they couldn’t have gone up earlier (just got them) but at least fledging birds will see that there’s plenty of housing for next year…..

Rick's Rill in flow.

Rick’s Rill in flow.

With all the rain we’ve had, local streams are still running with a good flow. Rick’s Rill has been flooded several times this Spring and is still going strong. Although there are a few mosquitoes around, the woods are still enjoyable, especially the Fox Den Trail, which is the best place to see migrant warblers.

"Stumpy" displaying his colourful bling.

“Stumpy” displaying his colourful bling.

We recaptured the cowbird “Stumpy” today – it has returned from Western with a bright new red band above the aluminum one. He is in very good shape weighing over 48 grams (up 6 grams from the time we made the decision to amputate his broken leg). He seems to be getting around very well – I’ve seen him hopping on the ground feeding and perching on a branch – adeptly on the one leg.

Banded 21:
2 Traill’s Flycatchers
1 Least Flycatcher
1 Wood Thrush
5 Gray Catbirds
1 Cedar Waxwing
2 Tennessee Warblers
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Mourning Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Wilson’s Warbler
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 64 spp.

Rick

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