September 10th – Things Slow Down

I arrived in the dark and stars were twinkling high overhead when I started to open. And also overhead the call notes of a variety of birds drifted down to me. I could pick out thrushes – this could be a good day……But those birds must have kept going because it was quite slow at Ruthven this morning.

Yesterday, the excitement of migration was almost palpable; you could feel it in the variety of birds that were around (64 species), in the degree of visible migration (lines of cormorants, groups of swallow, flocks of waxwings – pursued by a Merlin), and in the number of birds that we caught as they were working their way along the forest edges in the dogwood scrub.

But many of those birds must have taken off during the night – there were ideal conditions: clear skies and light northerly winds. And few new arrivals took their place. We measure the flow of migrants through the site in terms of number of birds captured/banded per 100 net hours. In other words, if a single (12 m) net was open for 100 hours, how many birds would it catch. Yesterday, the rate was 46; today it was only 15 – a decrease of almost 66%! So, although it was a beautiful day to just be outside enjoying life, it was particularly boring for the aspiring young banders that visited this morning (the Scholtens kids and Ben Oldfield). On the other hand, it was a good day for them in that, because things were so slow, I was able to assist them in doing some of the banding. When things are hopping, they get shoved to the side but today they had a chance for some hands-on learning. So I guess it worked out….for them….

The conditions last night did bring in some ‘new’ birds for the season though: Gray-cheeked Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Orange-crowned Kinglet. It seems quite early for the kinglet (an AHY female). On the whole though, warblers were few and far between.

Banded 17:
1 Mourning Dove
2 House Wrens
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
1 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
2 Cedar Waxwings
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Canada Warbler
1 Indigo Bunting
3 Song Sparrows
1 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 11:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
2 Gray Catbirds
1 Red-eyed Vireo
2 Common Yellowthroats
2 Song Sparrows

ET’s: 44 spp.


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