Sunday, October 28, 2007

Looking for American Tree Sparrows...

I went out today to see if there were any America Tree Sparrows around yet. They are the last of the passerines that we look for in the migration monitoring project. Guess what! We saw and caught one so there you go! It was a NW wind and clear last night so that helped bring them down from the north. I had not heard of anyone seeing one anywhere else but that does not mean there weren’t any. The morning was very crisp with patchy frost in the 30’s with light winds out of the NW. I can’t say I missed the normal freezing cold days of October in years past. The mist net poles are bone chilling in the morning when putting up the nets. It warmed up quickly to mid-forties and sunshine by 10:00 AM and turned into a beautiful day.

Navarre was pretty quiet as far as passerines chipping or singing today. During the point count though we saw 5 Snow Buntings fly over. The Snow Buntings were the first for me this fall. Winter is coming, it appears. American Goldfinches were moving pretty well too this morning. Not much else but some blackbirds and not in any significant numbers.

American Tree Sparrow

The catch for the day consisted of 37 new banded birds of 12 species. We had 13 recaptures which added 4 more species for the day. We caught an immature White-crowned Sparrow that we had first captured 6 days ago. I imagine it may remain for the winter or for a while.

Top species for the day were:
White-throated Sparrow - 8
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 8
Purple Finch - 4
Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warbler - 4
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 4

It has been a slow year for Winter Wrens, kinglets, and Brown Creepers. It has been a booming year for Purple Finches as everyone can attest. Today besides the Myrtle Warbler, a new Blackpoll Warbler was caught and banded. Those were the only warbler species of the day. Rusty Blackbirds are still around the marshes.

As mentioned before the first American Tree Sparrow was captured for the fall. Fox Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, and Slate-colored (Dark-eyed) Junco were seen or captured in the net in Navarre today.

American Tree Sparrow and Imm. White-crowned Sparrow

There will probably be only one more day of operation of the migration monitoring station for this year—most likely Wednesday. If I see anything significant throughout the winter I will post it here unless the website manager suggests differently.

I want to thank my many dedicated volunteers for all their hours of sweating, undertaking sudden showers, swatting the many mosquitoes, and putting up with me. Without their tremendous help this project would not be run as efficiently and effectively as it is. This is one of the largest banding operations in the country as far as banding number of birds per 100 net hours which is the way researchers standardize effort. Because Fall season is the dullest as far as the lack of colorful birds, only my most dedicated volunteers stick it out with me.
My hat goes off to all of our volunteers!


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