October 24th – A Late Start (And Finish)

Joanne adds an Eastern Bluebird to her growing banding total.

I arrived at my usual time (6:45) but it was raining and quite windy, so I chose not to open any nets and just wait and see. It finally petered out around 8:45 so, since we had a class coming, we ran around and opened 10 nets and some traps in order to catch some birds for a banding demonstration. We only opened 10 because it looked pretty threatening and I fully expected to have to run around again and close them quickly in the ensuing downpour. This never materialized, however, so we decided to open a few more, running the total to 14. This proved to be more than enough due to an influx of Cedar Waxwings and Dark-eyed Juncos – between the two of them they accounted for 71% of the 116 birds that we banded.

The Myrtle Warblers were a different story. When it came to them today I had the feeling you get when you’ve stood next to the train tracks when a big train has gone by and, when it has, you’re struck by the stillness as it recedes into the distance. We’ve banded well over 500 of them and had day after day where we saw 100’s of them but today we banded only 1 and I estimated there were only 10 around the site all day. The train has gone south.

I had an opportunity to watch some Rusty Blackbirds foraging in the woods behind the pond at the end of Net 2. They dropped down from the treetops into the leaf litter and proceeded to pick up leaves in their bills and toss them back over their shoulders while they looked underneath for tidbits. I’d never had the opportunity to see that behaviour before.

Packing away the remains of a very late lunch.

Usually, when the sky clears here after a rain, the number of birds caught drops off dramatically, but not so today. In fact, it was exactly the opposite. We caught the most birds in the last third of the day with two big “hits” of Cedar Waxwings close to closing time: one in Net 10 and another in Net 9A. Joanne Fleet brought a delicious lunch (as per usual) but she and I never got to enjoy it until 5:15 after all the nets were closed and birds banded.

Sunset......just a couple of hours before opening the owl nets.

Banded 116:
2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
6 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 Eastern Bluebirds
5 Hermit Thrushes
59 Cedar Waxwings
1 Blue-headed Vireo
2 Nashville Warblers
1 Myrtle Warbler
1 Swamp Sparrow
5 White-throated Sparrows
5 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
23 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 22:
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Yellow-shafted Flicker
2 Eastern Tufted Titmice
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
1 Hermit Thrush
8 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
5 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 43 spp.

Birds banded per 100 net hours: 135


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