Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It was a beautful day...

Light winds overnight did not produce much variety. Mid-morning the winds shifted off the lake with the presence of the high pressure system. It still was a beautiful day regardless of the apparent lower diversity of species. Once again Myrtle and Western Palm Warblers dominated the net waves. I tend to ignore the many White-throated Sparrows. They always seem to be around. However, one should not be complacent about the numerous non-descript birds. They are important too in the whole scheme of things.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Baltimore Orioles were of course around the station. A male Scarlet Tanager serenaded but no chance for an up close visit today. The best bird of the day was the male Black-throated Blue Warbler. Nice adult male with a broad white wing patch or handkerchief on its wing.

We caught our first Traill’s Flycatcher today. Traill’s Flycatcher is what banders call the Alder and Willow Flycatcher because they look similar and cannot be told apart in most cases unless you take certain wing measurements and then there is great overlap in the measurements. Maybe one in ten can be keyed out to either an Alder or Willow Flycatcher.

For just over 6 hours the nets were open to produce 188 new banded birds of 31 species and 16 recaptures. We caught several older banded Gray Catbirds. There are still a few Hermit Thrushes around. We did catch two Gray-cheeked Thrushes so be on the lookout for the all brown back and tail bird with no eye-ring.

Top 7 species for the day were:
White-throated Sparrow - 35
Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warbler - 31
Yellow Warbler - 19
Western Palm Warbler - 14
Nashville Warbler - 11
House Wren - 9
Swamp Sparrow - 8

The winds are to be southerly tonight and tomorrow so it could be a good migration day. So anywhere in the Lake Erie Marshes should be good places to go. I heard that for International Migratory Bird Day on Saturday and for Sunday, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is having their auto tour both days. This will be a good opportunity to see different marsh and grassland habitats for migrants including raptors, land birds and potentially shorebirds.

The pictures I promised you -
Male Summer Tanager from yesterday.

There are a whole host of choices of what to do on Saturday so come on out and enjoy the beauty and spectacle of songbird migration! Bird walks, optic displays, breakfast, lunch, and a whole lot more! The Bird Observatory will have a banding demonstration to see the migrants up close down at the west entrance of Magee Boardwalk alongside Tom Bartlett’s BIG SIT. Don’t miss the fun and camaraderie of the great birdwatchers from all over the country and the world. This is a statement to the value of this Lake Erie Marsh habitat. Enjoy Spring!

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