October 22nd – A Quick Summary Of Today’s Results

(From Saturday) Doing the census is a good way to get a sense of birds moving along the river. -D.Ciiona


Busy day…..busy night! so here’s a quick summary for the day. (Actually it started last night when Nancy and Allison banded 3 Northerv Saw-whet Owls. And, by the way, the next public owling night will be this Thursday starting around 7:45.)
Banded 112:
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Winter Wren
4 Golden-crowned Kinglets
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
4 Eastern Bluebirds
7 Hermit Thrushes
13 Cedar Waxwings
1 Tennessee Warbler
8 Myrtle Warblers
2 Northern Cardinals
1 Chipping Sparrow
5 Fox Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
5 White-throated Sparrows
2 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
27 Dark-eyed Juncos
4 Purple Finches
1 Pine Siskin
22 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 45 spp.
Rick

October 20th & 21st – Bird Festival Weekend

Part of our Festival crew – looking leprechaunal. -DOL


We held our Bird Festival at a time of the Fall when we could tap into the mass of short-term migrants that pass through the area on their way from the boreal forest to their Winter homes in the middle and southern United States. October is when we get our largest daily numbers. As well, it is the time of the passage of migrating Northern Saw-whet Owls. We set it up so that visitors and participants could experience passerine banding Saturday morning; watch and raptor show and listen to speakers in the afternoon and early evening; band Saw-whets at night; and then get involved in more passerine banding Sunday morning. Whew! To make it easier to take in the whole event, we encouraged anyone that was interested to sleep over in the historic Coach House so that time wouldn’t be lost travelling to and from home.

And we had great results: banded 74 birds on Saturday morning; 12 Northern Saw-whet Owls Saturday night; and another 75 birds Sunday morning. Interspersed with this were two wonderful speakers: Dr. David Brewer (Everything You Wanted To Know About Penguins) and Peter Thoem (The Owl Foundation). We fueled all this with a pizza supper and continental breakfast. Whew!

Male Red-breasted Nuthatch. -ECG


As if this wasn’t enough…..we also greatly enjoyed playing host to Dr. Oliver Love’s post-graduate lab from the University of Windsor. It was both fun and inspiring to be around such keen students – interested in the natural world around them and how it works. It had a nice synergy: us helping them learn field methods and them helping with the grunt work (net rounds, closing nets, etc.).

Saturday Morning; Banded 74:
1 Northern Flicker

Red-breasted Nuthatches continue to move through the site. -KMP


1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
2 Brown Creepers
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
6 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
4 Hermit Thrushes
6 American Robins

Just one of 35 Cedar Waxwings banded over the weekend. -ECG


20 Cedar Waxwings
1 Nashville Warbler
5 Myrtle Warblers
1 Northern Cardinal
2 Chipping Sparrows
5 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
2 Purple Finches
1 House Finch
13 American Goldfinches

A sad story: we saw this Common Nighthawk flying around the Bobolink field on Thursday and Friday; on Saturday it lay dead underneath one of the junipers behind the Mansion. On examination it was found to be emaciated. It was a young, “hatch year” bird, likely from a late nesting and had simply run out of food. Usually we seen them at the end of August or early September so this bird was very late. -ECG


ET’s: 59 spp.

Saturday Night; Banded 12 Northern Saw-whet Owls:
The night wasn’t looking very promising when we opened the nets and set out the sound systems: patchy light rain and westerly wind. After the first net checks, in which we didn’t get anything, we debated whether to close it down but the weather maps were showing a clearing trend and, so, we opted for patience. And it was a good thing! The drizzle stopped as the wind moved to the NW and dropped and the skies began to clear. We got at least one owl in all of the subsequent net checks and in one we caught 5! I’m sure we would have continued to catch if we’d stayed open but we/I were getting tired so we closed around 12:30. Sleeping in the Coach House was a treat as I went to sleep right away before anyone’s snoring could bother me (and before I became aware that my snoring might be bothering others. (Evidently, so I’ve been told, my snoring can be aggravating……)

Sunday Morning; Banded 75:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Northern Flicker
1 Black-capped Chickadee
10 Golden-crowned Kinglets
3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 Hermit Thrushes
6 American Robins
15 Cedar Waxwings

A big surprise – female Black & White Warbler. -RAS


1 Black & White Warbler
1 American Tree Sparrow (1st of the season)
5 Chipping Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
6 Dark-eyed Juncos
7 Purple Finches
12 American Goldfinches

Bonaparte’s Gulls and Common Mergansers have returned. -ECG


ET’s: 49 spp.
Rick

And at Fern Hill School in Burlington on Saturday:
If you’re going to be at school on a Saturday, I can think of no better way to spend the time then to be outdoors birding and banding. We had an Open House at Fern Hill Burlington so I invited a couple of Young Ornithologists out to spend the morning with the birds. The sunrise was beautiful, as was the Bald Eagle that flew low over our school, a big reward for waking up early and coming to the school on a Saturday! The trees and shrubs surrounding our nets were busy with birds enjoying the the berries of our buckthorn, dogwood, and wild grapes, as well as hitting the feeders hard.

Throughout the morning, potential students and their families wandered over to the Field Station to experience bird banding for the first time, a truly unforgettable experience. It’s always special to see the wonder and curiosity in their faces as they’re turned on and tuned into the birds for the first time.

We banded a total of 13 birds (not bad for only one net open) including:
2 Black-capped chickadees
6 House Sparrows
1 Swainson’s Thrush
3 Northern Cardinals
1 Red-winged Blackbird

Katherine

October 18th & 19th – Crazy Busy!

Just some of the bird bags from the 213 18th- “ring & fling” time. -MMG


Sometimes it doesn’t rain but it pours! We’ve had a very hectic and busy couple of days. Nancy started it off the night of the 17th with an owling night – they ended up catching 5! We followed this up on the morning of the 18th with a really big day – we banded 214 birds!! And then, that night, we headed to Fern Hill Oakville for more owling. There we caught and banded 2 more in front of a very appreciative and enthusiastic audience. Then this morning, Nancy was at Ruthven and I travelled back to Oakville. Whew! And tomorrow is the start of our annual Bird Festival with banding and talks during the day, owling at night, a sleepover for keeners, and then more banding Sunday morning. You’re given only so many migrations; you don’t want to waste any of them……

October 18th; Ruthven Park, Banded 214:
4 Mourning Doves

Eastern Phoebe. -KMP


1 Eastern Phoebe
4 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
3 White-breasted Nuthatches
2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
16 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Brown Creeper
1 Winter Wren
2 Eastern Bluebirds
1 Swainson’s Thrush
8 Hermit Thrushes
10 American Robins

Cedar Waxwing with both red “waxy tips” and yellow edging to some of the primaries. -MMG


91 Cedar Waxwings
5 Myrtle Warblers
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
4 Song Sparrows
14 White-throated Sparrows
3 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
5 Purple Finches
33 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 54 spp

Fern Hill Burlington:
Banded 23:
Mourning Dove – 1
Downy Woodpecker – 1
Blue Jay – 1
Black-capped Chickadee – 1
White-breasted Nuthatch – 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet -1
Chipping Sparrow – 1
Field Sparrow – 3
Song Sparrow – 2
White-throated Sparrow – 1

Adult White-crowned Sparrow checking out the map of Africa!? -KAP


Eastern White-crowned Sparrow – 2
American Goldfinch – 1
House Sparrow – 7

ET’s: 39 species
Katherine

Fern Hill Oakville:

One of two Northern Saw-whet Owls we caught at Fern Hill Oakville last night. -KAP


2 Northern Saw-whet Owls

October 19th; Ruthven Park:
The catching was more subdued due to the brisk wind but there were good numbers of birds around – especially robins and waxwings. It’s too bad we don’t have nets on the river flats……

Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar. -NRF


Banded 68:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Brown Creeper
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Hermit Thrushes
12 American Robins
12 Cedar Waxwings
11 Myrtle Warblers
3 Northern Cardinals
1 Fox Sparrow
4 Song Sparrows

Young Swamp Sparrow -KMP


1 Swamp Sparrow
5 White-throated Sparrows
1 Red-winged Blackbird

Male Purple Finch. -SEF


Female (or young male) Purple Finch. -SEF


3 Purple Finches
2 American Goldfinches

Common Nighthawk!! -NS


ET’s: 42 spp (including a Common Nighthawk!)

Fern Hill Oakville:
We had quite a good day at the school. Although it was windy first thing in the morning we caught some nice birds in the sheltered nets. It was a busy day at the school as there was a dunk tank for raising funds for local charities. Students got to purchase the opportunity to dunk their teachers (a bunch of good sports I can tell you as it was quite chilly in that wind!!).

A cold and windy day for the fund-raising dunk tank but the teachers are great sports. (In the background, against the building wall, a banding lab will soon be built!) -KAP


Banded 29:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Black-capped Chickadees
2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
5 Hermit Thrushes
2 Nashville Warblers
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Chipping Sparrow

Fox Sparrow. -KAP


1 Fox Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow

Katherine with one of her favourite birds – Dark-eyed Junco.


3 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 House Finches

Helping French teacher Heather Burke band her first bird – Mourning Dove. -KAP


Heather’s proud smile says it all….. -KAP


ET’s: 34 spp.

October 16th & 17th – Flowing Through

The rainy weather on the 15th seemed to slow migration down but it has quickly ramped up again – despite windy weather. Yesterday the winds had a southerly touch to them and this (with clear skies) somewhat limited the flow though. Today it was much more unsettle with a 30% chance of showers and heavy overcast. The winds started in the west but shifted to the NW in the course of the morning bringing the temperature down a few degrees as it did so. There was a heavy movement and we ended up banding good numbers. It’s exciting when you walk around in the early pre-dawn opening nets and listen to the chips of White-throated Sparrows, robins, and Myrtle Warblers that have spent the night in the meadow shrubs or dogwood as they awaken and get moving.

October 16th; Banded 50:

Male Mourning Dove. -KMP


1 Mourning Dove
1 Blue Jay

Young Blue Jay. The passage of jays through the site seems to be winding down. -KMP


2 Black-capped Chickadees
4 Golden-crowned Kinglets
7 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Swainson’s Thrushes
2 Hermit Thrushes
7 Myrtle Warblers
1 Song Sparrow
12 White-throated Sparrows
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
8 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 39 spp.

Larking About:
A ladies’ group – the Larks – came out last night, ostensibly to experience Northern Saw-whet Owls. Alas, it wasn’t to be. After 3 net checks it became clear that these little owls eschew Larks……And did you know that I am the sole (token) male member of this group? They took me on so they couldn’t be accused of sexism. [We did band one White-throated Sparrow that flung itself into one of the owl nets – so all was not lost.]

October 17th; Banded 133:

One of two Hairy Woodpeckers banded today. -KMP


2 Hairy Woodpeckers
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
5 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 White-breasted nuthatch
5 Brown Creepers

After “skulling”, this Golden-crowned Kinglet male sports a funked up do. -KMP


2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
12 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Hermit Thrushes
5 American Robins

An adult Cedar Waxwing finishing off a complete moult – including a “waxy” tip on a tail feather. -KMP


40 Cedar Waxwings
1 Nashville Warbler

This Myrtle Warbler was missing its right foot – an old injury that clearly had healed over. It seemed to be none the worse for wear and had good muscle and fat scores. _KMP


22 Myrtle Warbler
1 Western Palm Warbler
1 Field Sparrow

Our largest sparrow: Fox Sparrow. -KMP


1 Fox Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
2 Swamp Sparrows
9 White-throated Sparrows

For comparison: HY White-crowned Sparrow (on the left with a brown and tan-striped head) and an adult (with the black and white head). -KMP


2 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows

Male Purple Finch – one of 7 banded today. -KMP


7 Purple Finches

Pine Siskin – an unusual visitor to southern Ontario. -KMP


2 Pine Siskins
6 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 44 spp.
Rick