September 30th – Sucker Holes Deja Vu

A true "sucker hole" - it rained for another 3 hours after the teasing.

It was a wet nasty morning. Rain started during the night and continued throughout the morning – despite the fact that it wasn’t falling in areas all around us, like Burlington. Peter Thoem arrived about 8:30 to do the census and reported that he didn’t run into any rain until he got to the Ruthven side of Caledonia. He then indicated a large sucker hole to the north. It was just a tease as it rained steadily for another 3 hours or so.

Data entry - the bane of my existence.

I had arrived at around 6:15 hoping, like yesterday, that the rain would abate early and I’d be able to open some nets. As I didn’t feel very confident about this possibility I brought my computer in order to try to catch up (a little) on my banding data entry. There are two data “streams” that need to be entered:
• Estimated Total data which goes to Bird Studies Canada for trend analysis. Essentially I enter all the numbers of birds banded, retrapped, censused and observed along with the ET (Estimated Total) for each species, the number being based on the other four.
• Banding data which goes to the Banding Office in Ottawa and then on to the North American central database maintained in Patuxent Maryland.

The ET data I’m on top of – I try to do it daily. But the banding data I’d fallen behind on (not being here in the Summer) and I had about 1500 entries to do……I was able to knock off a big chunk of it. No birds got banded however. Further, Peter wasn’t able to get the census done. Something about dissolving in the rain…….

Summing up September is sort of a disheartening exercise. We banded 832 birds; this total is 830 behind the 1,662 we did in September of 2010. But the most telling thing was our rate of capture: only 28.1 birds banded per 100 net hours. This is the lowest rate for September since we began in the Fall of 1995. (For comparison, our rate last year was 68.7 birds banded per 100 net hours.)


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