September 9th – A Late Start

Black-throated Blue Warbler...on it's way to the Caribbean.

Let me be clear: not a late start for me. Nancy Furber and I arrived at 6:00 to start opening nets. It was the birds that were off to a late start. The usual banding expectation is that you catch the most birds in the first couple of hours and they then tail off. This was not the case today. The first couple of net rounds were sort of…..well, ordinary. It was the rounds later in the morning that produced the best numbers, after the dark skies had moved off and the sun broke through.

Cape May Warbler - not a 'rare' warbler but rarely recorded at Ruthven.

Our second Cape May Warbler of the day. - R. Leshyk

The thing that was most noticeable today was the variety. We banded 25 species and, overall, observed 64 species (including 12 warbler species). There was a movement of swallows – well over 100 – and all heading…..north(?!) up the river. The most numerous bird in the nets was the American Goldfinch. The adults (which have just started a complete moult) are hitting the feeders hard and bringing their progeny with them. Visitor Ralph Beaumont, from Paris, reported seeing a Pileated Woodpecker – the first for the year.

But birds aren’t the only thing to observe at Ruthven. All through the “non-freezing” months, once a week, Norm and Mary Pomfret comb the Ruthven grounds searching for and counting butterflies. And they’re showing that all the time and energy that has gone into creating a variety of wild habitats is paying off. Talking with them today, I learned that a number of unusual species are being seen: American Snout, Aphrodite Fritillary, Fiery Skipper, Bronze Copper. In fact, they report that they will have to add 3 new species to the existing butterfly checklist (available at the front gatehouse). They also reported seeing 23 Monarchs and 1 Viceroy today.

American Snout Butterfly

Bronze Copper Butterfly

Fiery Skipper

Banded 62:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Yellow-shafted Flicker
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Swainson’s Thrush
2 American Robins
1 Cedar Waxwing (despite there being an estimated 150 around the grounds!)
1 Philadelphia Vireo
2 Red-eyed Vireos
2 Tennessee Warblers
3 Nashville Warblers
2 Magnolia Warblers
2 Cape May Warblers (first of the year)
1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Mourning Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
2 Indigo Buntings
4 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
3 Song Sparrows
2 House Finches
23 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 64 spp.

Photo Gallery:

Female Orchard Oriole. - R. Leshyk

Mourning Dove with a bill deformity.

Great Crested Flycatcher - R. Leshyk

The same Mourning Dove - missing all its claws.


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