September 17th – Trying Something New

Joanne: Queen of the Butterfly Meadow Net Chain

For the past two years we’ve noticed a large movement of sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers streaming through the Butterfly Meadow from the end of September to the end of October. So we thought that this year we might try to tap into this stream by running a net chain across the meadow – effectively between Nets 7 & 8. As well as finding out what kinds of birds are using the meadow during migration, we thought that it would be a great way to achieve two other goals: provide lots of birds for school groups (which are starting this week) and allow for a separate banding setup that will expose up and coming new banders to the reality of “running” a station or provide a more intensive experience for people with a sub-permit. They would band on a picnic table under a canopy at the head of the Butterfly Meadow. I know that some of you are already thinking about “quality control” – this would be an exercise for banders that have good developing basic skills and are looking to work toward a banding sub-permit in the near future. Further, the “mobile” station would have hand-held radio contact with the banding lab….and if worse came to worse, the banding lab is only 100 m away. We set up three of the 5 nets today. The ever-enthusiastic Joanne Fleet has volunteered to take this initiative under her wing…so to speak.

Joanne, Erich and Nick putting up Joanne's net chain.

This Yellow-billed Cuckoo was a pleasant surprise.

Today was kind of slow (by Fall standards). We handled only 46 birds (35 banded of 14 species). The census was quiet as well. We need some inclement weather to shake things up.

Northern Waterthrush

Banded 35:
1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
2 Eastern Wood Pewees
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
3 Gray Catbirds
5 Red-eyed Vireos
3 Magnolia Warblers
6 Blackpoll Warblers
1 American Redstart
3 Ovenbirds
1 Northern Waterthrush
1 Indigo Bunting
2 Song Sparrows
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
5 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 11:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
1 Swainson’s Thrush
1 Gray Catbird
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 51 spp.
Fall Banding Total: 776
Year-to-date Banding Total: 3,364

Photo Gallery:

Gray-cheeked Thrush with a bill deformity.

Another look at the deformity.

Comparison of a Song Sparrow (left) and Lincoln's Sparrow (right)

Another look: Song Sparrow on left and Lincoln's Sparrow on right.

A better look at the undersides of a Blackpoll Warbler (left) and Bay-breasted Warbler. -J. Baine


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