October 9th-11th – Catching Up

Early morning sunrise over Burlington. -DOL

It’s been a hectic 3 days with banders spread between Ruthven and Fern Hill’s two campuses with an owling venture on the night of the 9th at Oakville thrown in for good measure. So I’ve fallen a bit behind…. The most striking factor has been the abnormally high temperatures: into the high 20’s with the humidex going into the low 30’s! This seemed to result in a slowdown on both the 9th and 10th. (Despite this we still got 2 owls on the night of the 9th!!) But as the conditions began to change today the bird numbers started to pick up. Here’s the rundown on these 3 days:

October 9th; Ruthven Park Banding Station:
Looks like summer is back with a vengeance, and the birds agree with us; it’s too hot! We definitely saw a lull in bird movement having only 32 birds banded (41 handled overall), compared to our previous high counts. That said, we had an incredible 19 species banded, meaning over half of the birds were different species which is nice to see. Most times high banded numbers means less species diversity as we often get many of the same species, so it’s nice to see some diversity! Hopefully as this heat wave passes and we move back into low double digits by Friday, we’ll see an increase in bird activity.

Banded 32:

Female Red-bellied Woodpecker. -KMP

2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
1 Downy Woodpecker
4 Ruby Crowned Kinglets
1 Grey-cheeked Thrush
3 Cedar Waxwings
1 Blue-headed Vireo
7 Myrtle Warblers
3 Blackpoll Warblers
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
3 White-throated Sparrows
1 White-crowned Sparrow
1 Slate-coloured Junco
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 39 spp.

October 9th; Fern Hill Burlington:

Wendy Derrick, founder and driving force behind Fern Hill Schools, releasing her first bird: Ruby-crowned Kinglet. -DOL

We had a nice first round but the heat picked up quickly and turned off the tap. The highlight was the observation of 2 separate Peregrine Falcons in the vicinity. One just cruising by and the other checking out a flock of starlings.
Banded 13:
1 Downy Woodpecker
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Nashville Warbler

Female Eastern Towhee. -DOL

1 Eastern Towhee
1 Song Sparrow
3 White-throated Sparrows
2 House Sparrows

ET’s: 30 spp.

October 9th; Owling at Fern Hill Oakville:

Oakville’s Young Ornithologists with the first Northern Saw-whet Owl of the night. -RW

I must say that I didn’t approach this owling attempt very optimistically because it was so darn hot but….what the heck….if they’re there, they’re there….or not. And what luck! We got one on the first net check – a HY female. The 2nd net check didn’t produce anything but it caused most of the students to head for home – young kids with school the next day. But on the 3rd check we got another, much to the joy of the few older students who were able to stick around.

One of two Saw-whets caught at the Oakville campus. -RW


October 10th; Ruthven Park Banding Station:
It was warm at opening and got HOT quickly as soon as the sun got up. And although we didn’t have much of a wind, the little we did have managed to festoon the nets with leaves. Given these 2 factors we decided to close down a little early. The disturbing trend in lower banding numbers continued into the 1st ten-day period of October: we averaged 52 birds banded per day, down about 17 per day from the long term average.
Banded 37:
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Hermit Thrushes
5 American Robins
1 Nashville Warbler
5 Myrtle Warblers

Young male Northern Cardinal. -KMP

1 Northern Cardinal
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
12 White-throated Sparrows
2 Purple Finches

Lyn with her first banded bird. -MMG

Shaggy Mane – a good-eating mushroom. -KMP

ET’s: 41 spp.

October 11 – Ruthven Park Banding Station:
A productive day with the first net round producing most of the birds that were handled today. Both Bill Read and David Brewer were helping with the banding this morning and it was great when a number of the “Larks” came for visit. It was a good time having Bill and Dave showing the ladies the birds and having their help with net rounds and closing when the nets needed all hands on deck to pick leaves out!

A couple of old geezers telling birding yarns of their youth…..when there were LOTS of birds. (Bill Read and David Brewer – great help teaching kids….and just about everyone.) -NRF

No day with the Larks is complete without a picnic!! -E. Serena

Banded 60:
1 Mourning Dove
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 Brown Creepers
9 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 Eastern Bluebirds
2 American Robins
3 Tennessee Warblers
25 Myrtle Warblers
1 Blackpoll Warbler
2 Song Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
9 American Goldfinches

Eastern Bluebird. -E. Serena

Field Sparrow. -E. Serena

ET’s: 45 Species

October 11th; Fern Hill Oakville:
It was almost delightful to feel the lower morning temperature (22) and then to feel going down in the course of the morning, reaching just 17 by mid-afternoon. And there were birds on the move: small flocks of American Goldfinches headed over flying SW; a flock of 65 Blue Jays went by followed throughout the morning by 1’s and 2’s; there was a group of at least 7 Western Palm Warblers foraging along the edge (of which we managed to band 3). And, big surprise, 3 Common Ravens flew right overhead, calling!
Banded 16:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 Western Palm Warblers
6 Song Sparrows
1 House Finch

ET’s: 27 spp.

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