September 20th – 22nd: Catching Up

We’ve been hit by a streak of hot, humid Summer conditions. And while most people have been rejoicing in it, I (being the curmudgeon that I am) have simply had to grin and bear it as these conditions make for lousy banding conditions at Ruthven. I’m not exactly sure of the dynamics as to why this is the case but years of experience have shown it to be so. So let’s wish for some unsettled weather and turn this thing around!! Despite my whining we had a pretty good 2nd 10-day banding average. During this period (September 11-20) we banded an average of 44.9 birds per day which is well above the 10-year average of 30. We were helped in this regard by the 108 bird day on September 15th. But this final 10-day period for September has gotten off to a slow start as you will see from the numbers below.

September 20th; Ruthven Park:

Friday’s nature crew making good use of a PD Day. -NRF

Cool, pleasant temperatures were comfortable to work in at opening but it wasn’t long before the heat and humidity were felt. It wasn’t a busy morning handling birds but Ruthven Park was the place to be – a number of families made the banding lab their day-off destination for their PD day. Thanks to Michael Berry, Education Co-ordinator for leading the families on a hike to ‘sweep’ for butterflies (Monarch’s specifically to tag), moths, bees, dragonflies, and spiders!

Maggie with a tagged Monarch that was caught at Ruthven. -MB

Banded 19:
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 Swainson’s Thrush
2 Gray Catbird
1 Philadelphia Vireo
4 Red-eyed Vireo
2 Magnolia Warbler
2 Bay-breasted Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 American Redstart
1 Cape May Warbler
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow

ET’s: 42’s species


September 20th; Fern Hill School Oakville:
It was hot and humid here too but we had some nice birds “trickling” through. But the big news was that the Monarch Butterfly Highway was on the move. For the past couple of years I have noticed that there is a massive movement of Monarchs across the school campus – and I’m talking 100’s (if not 1000’s) per day. It’s really hard to understand because if you take a look at the direction they’re coming from (ENE) you see, in the distance, the built-up skyline of Mississauga, then the super-busy Highway 403 corridor, then a large field of soybeans, and, finally 9th Line before reaching the school. So where are they coming from and where were they the night before?! The really neat thing is that there is a large amount of goldenrod and asters around the school and by the outside of the cemetery where the butterflies feed…en masse. Between net rounds I caught and then tagged 41! If I had concentrated on just catching them (and I had enough tags) I could easily have marked over 100. It would be wonderful if some of these tagged Monarchs were found so we could see the route they take toward Mexico, their Winter home.

Banded 18:

A pleasant surprise: Yellow-billed Cuckoo. -CJH

1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo

The first Hairy Woodpecker we’ve banded at FHS Oakville. -RW

1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Least Flycatcher
2 Black-capped Chickadees
2 American Robins
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Western Palm Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler on its way to South America. -RW

1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat

Young (still has chest spotting) Chipping Sparrow. -RW

1 Chipping Sparrow
3 Song Sparrows

ET’s: 28 spp.

September 21st; Ruthven:

On Saturday we played host to half of Pat Chow Fraser’s biodiversity class. -DOL

It was “McMaster” Day – each Fall Pat Chow Fraser’s 2nd year biology class comes to visit to get an idea of bird banding techniques and, in some cases, just to see what a bird looks like. They’re usually a lot of fun and this year was no different. The only drawback was that we did not have a lot of birds to experience but, on the other hand, it allows us to maintain a more “relaxed” pace which is better for teaching.

The highlight of the morning was the sighting of one (maybe two) Red-headed Woodpecker. They have become rare in southern Ontario and we are lucky to see one every couple of years – so a great treat!

Adult Bald Eagle cruising the river. Eagles are now a common daily sight. -CB

Great Blue Heron on the stalk. -CB

Banded 24:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Swainson’s Thrush
1 Gray Catbird
3 Red-eyed Vireos
3 Nashville Warblers
2 Magnolia Warblers
2 Black-throated Blue Warblers
3 Bay-breasted Warblers
3 Blackpoll Warblers
1 American Redstart
1 Ovenbird
1 Common Yellowthroat
2 Song Sparrows

ET’s: 53 spp.
Our product is nature, our strength is people”:

Marnie and Karen…..working hard. -DOL

The 3 Amigos. Their combined age is significantly less than mine but their 2019 Ontario list likely exceeds mine….(from left, Caleb, Ezra, Ethan) -DOL

The 3 Amigos conjuring migrants. -KMP

Liam with a Gray-cheeked Thrush, a “lifer” and a 1st banding “tick. -JET

Brian with his first bird: Red-eyed Vireo. -KMP

Alexis with a young (note the brown eyes) Red-eyed Vireo. -AR

September 22nd; Ruthven:
And then the wheel came off….. It was hot before I even got the nets open, well before sun-up and it just got hotter….and more humid. Birds were VERY few and far between. We ended up handling just 16 (7 banded, 9 retraps) so we had more people at the lab than birds. Come on unsettled weather!! On the positive side, our flock of 7 Wild Turkeys continues to boldly stroll the grounds allowing great photographic opportunities (as well as frank discussions about Thanksgiving dinners…).

Part of “our” flock of 7 Wild Turkeys taking a stroll beside the Butterfly Meadow. -AR

Wild Turkey up in a tree. At night they will roost up in trees to protect themselves from predators. -KMP[/capt
Banded 7:
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
1 Swainson’s Thrush
1 Gray Catbird
2 Red-eyed Vireos
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
[caption id="attachment_17666" align="aligncenter" width="769"] Yellow-billed Cuckoo back along the Carolinian Trail. -CR

ET’s: 40 spp.

Karen’s Kreeping Korner (for the past 3 days):

This Garter Snake was a meter off the ground in a Gray Dogwood. -AR

Male Arrow Clubtail Dragonfly. -DG

The business end of a male Arrow Clubtail. -DG

Banded Tussock Moth caterpillar. -ELO

Virginian Tiger Moth caterpillar. -ELO

Cuckoo Wasp -KMP

Dogwood Sawfly larva. -KMP

European Mantis. Good thing these things aren’t the size of dogs….. -KMP

Green Frog. -KMP

Western Honeybee. The Butterfly Meadow abounds with pollinators at the moment. -KMP

American Nursery Web Spider. -MB

Delta Spotted Spiketail. -MB

While clearing Black Walnuts from the Butterfly Meadow, Darren came across this large Walking Stick. -RG


1 thought on “September 20th – 22nd: Catching Up

  1. KMP takes wonderful photos, the colours are so vibrant and I like the insect photos. I think the Delta Spotted photo is also an Arrow Curtail based on the male genitalia and colour patterns..Diane

Leave a Reply