Saturday, May 31, 2008

Birds must have continued north...

Strong storms and winds out of the southwest all night gave us hope that maybe today the bird numbers would improve. We had a nice variety of birds to show the Wild Birds Unlimited group visiting the station as well as for the public banding demonstration at the Observatory.

From the numbers captured today it looks like the birds may have continued on north in the strong southwest winds overnight. There are still very few thrushes and Red-eyed Vireos for an average spring. I will have to check with other banding stations to see if they are getting the birds east or west of here. Today produced 126 new birds with 22 recaptures including 32 species in 7.5 hours of net operation. Twelve warblers and one hybrid were captured with 16 warbler species seen and/or heard.

While I was at the last net putting away a bird I had extracted, a beautiful Brewster’s Warbler (Golden-wing X Blue-Wing) flew into the net right next to me. It was about a foot away from me and I could see out of the corner of my eye the net bow out. And behold, it was a Brewster’s in the net!

Brewster's Warbler

Not only did we have that great catch but a female Hooded Warbler and couple Great Crested Flycatcher graced us with their presence.

Hooded Warbler, female

Top 6 birds banded:
Traill’s Flycatcher - 44
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 28
Wilson’s Warbler -7
Mourning Warbler -6
Eastern Wood Pewee -5
Red-eyed Vireo -5

Sand is the substrate the banding station is located on and this morning it looked like a war zone. Last night was the first real warm night making optimum conditions for turtles to lay their eggs. However, the raccoons are also in tune with this annual ritual and had dug up a lot of the nests. Along with the many Snapping Turtles out and about today, we were greeted on the trail by a Blanding’s Turtle. It is always a pleasure to see them since they are endemic to the marsh region. It was a medium size one with a carapace dimension of about 6 inches by 10 inches. There is always something outside to explore!

Get out and enjoy Spring!

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