September 29th – Sucker Holes

Joanne birding with an ominous "sucker hole" looming behind.

Years ago I used to do a Spring canoe trip into the wilds of northern Ontario with “the guys”. One year we were hit by a run of bad weather. Each day I’d be looking for signs that it was breaking. Every patch of blue sky amid the dark clouds I’d point out as an auspicious sign of imminent change. One of my travelling companions, a meteorologist, would quickly dismiss the promising patch as a “sucker hole” – something that got your hopes up only to dash them with more rain shortly thereafter. And so it was today – lots of sucker holes. When we arrived there was a thunderstorm going on and heavy rain. As there was a school group coming, we kept an anxious eye out for any sign that the storm was breaking and we could open the nets. And what we got were sucker holes. One particularly bright patch sent us on a round to open all the nets – we were that hopeful. No sooner did we get them open than it started to pour and we had to race around and collapse them again. [By the way, the experience shed light on Mother Nature’s diabolical strategy: She cues on Net 10, the one that usually is opened last. She will not make a move until it is just about open….and then, whammo! Twice today this occurred. In the future I may open it first just to screw her up for a change (and for my personal pleasure).]

Joanne embarking on her new path as a bander - under Nancy's tutelage.

Joanne Fleet made her long-awaited return today, bringing tremendous enthusiasm and….lunch. Joanne has “caught the bug”. And today she embarked on the path to becoming a bander. It was a good day for it as we were able to pick up a few birds after the rain (finally) stopped and we could take the time to give her lots of instruction and support.

Joanne never fails to bring a "gourmet" lunch for us - having noticed that our fat scores are less than '2'.

One of the birds we caught was a Black-throated Green Warbler with a growth on the top of its bill. Over the years we’ve seen similar growths in other species. It would be interesting to find out what these are and what is causing them…and whether or not they become life-threatening.

Black-throated Green Warbler with a growth on its upper mandible.

Banded 13:
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Gray Catbird
1 Tennessee Warbler
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
2 Blackpoll Warblers
1 Field Sparrow
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
5 White-throated Sparrows

Joanne with Black-throated Green Warbler.

Retrapped 2:
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 House Wren

ET’s: 40 spp.

Birds banded per 100 net hours: 18


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