Sunday, May 10, 2009

Northerly winds keep birds here in good numbers

Northwest winds held the birds on the beach ridge. Those we had not been able to capture because of the strong winds the day before were still around. A busy day of new banded birds and recaptures which is what was to be expected with the wind turnaround. For 8.5 hours we netted 500 new birds and 81 recaptures including 25 species of warblers.

Warblers included Blue-winged, Tennessee, Orange-crowned, Nashville, Northern Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Cape May, Myrtle, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Western Palm, Yellow Palm, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, Black-and-white, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded, Wilson’s, Canada and Yellow-breasted Chat.

Highlights for the day are Northern Parula, Orange-crowned Warbler, one Yellow Palm Warbler, Hooded, Yellow-Breasted Chat, Scarlet Tanager (male) (no females yet), and another Rusty Blackbird.
Top 8 species were:
Myrtle Warbler – 77
Nashville Warbler – 65
Magnolia Warbler – 45
Western Palm Warbler – 31
Yellow Warbler – 30
Gray Catbird – 29!
Chestnut-sided Warbler – 22 (Tracy’s Bird! She was happy today!)
White-throated Sparrow – 22

The White-throated Sparrows and Myrtle Warblers are mostly females; as they should be at this time in migration. The Yellow Warblers and Gray Catbirds are steaming in. More returning birds arrived today with another old Common Yellowthroat. This is an old lady who has made it to nine years and still ticking and flying! It goes to show that some birds can beat the odds!

The Orange-crowned Warbler is a favorite of mine. I have many favorites because who can say one is ugly when it comes to a warbler?! It may be tricky to some but after seeing them in the hand you get a better idea of what field marks to look for in the field. The yellowish wash on the breast with the gray streaks helps me quite a bit. Along with that characteristic is the split yellow eye ring and the yellow undertail coverts as a double check. The female Tennessee Warbler can look similar but will not have the gray streaks on the breast nor the yellow undertail coverts. Tennessee Warbler undertail coverts are white.
Notice gray streaks on breast. You can see a little orange on the crown but from a distance could you see it?!
See the yellow split eye ring? It works for me. Whatever characteristics work for you to identify it, use it! Everyone sees different features that work for them. The same goes for recognizing the songs.

The winds are to stay out of the north for a few days so these birds will be held up until the wind turns. Once it turns you can bet the trees will be loaded with Magnolia Warblers and the Swainson’s Thrushes will blanket the understory! Two gray birds I thought I would share with you. Do you know what they are? What two gray birds would you find normally this time of May? The bill shapes are different, and one has a complete eye ring and the other one is a split eye ring (trust me if you don't see it). The small gray bird on the left is the Least Flycatcher and on the right is a female Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
Take time to enjoy the birds! They are only here for a short while. Have a good day!

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