Monday, September 27, 2010

Highlights for week Sept. 20th - 26th

White-throated Sparrows, Myrtle Warblers, Hermit Thrushes, and kinglets made their way to NW Ohio over the weekend in increasing numbers. According to some of our volunteers, last Friday the winds turned to the NW and made for a good fallout of migrants in Toledo area backyards. The migrant traps along the lake shore were good as well. Several Red-breasted Nuthatches (RBNU) were observed. Below is a female, identified by her gray cap.

Warbler species the past week totaled 19 species including Tennessee, Orange-crown, Nashville, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Myrtle, Black-throated Green, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, Black-and-white, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Mourning, Common Yellowthroat, and Wilson's.
This has been a great fall season in terms of numbers of birds banded. The Navarre station has seen more than twice the number of birds banded inthe entire fall 2009 season, and in the past decade, only 2001 has been greater at this stage of the migration. We'll discuss the particulars of migration and how it compares in a future post.

Highlights for the week included these attractive Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (RBGR). In basic plumage, one of the ways to differentiate sex in RBGR's is the color of their ventral-wing coverts as seen here. Females have yellowish wing linings while males are reddish.
The adult male (shown below) can be distinguished from young of the year males and all females by its black wings, including black primary coverts.
Banding provides valuable information on migrational timing and individual condition of migratory birds. It also provides opportunities to observe multiple species up close for comparison such as the four brown thrushes pictured below:

From left to right we have Veery (VEER), Gray-cheeked (GCTH), Hermit (HETH), and Swainson's (SWTH). Veery and Gray-cheeked Thrushes have no visible eye-ring. The Veery has a reddish-brown back and tail while the Gray-cheeked has an olive-brown back and tail. The Hermit and Swainson's have a visible eye-ring and a olive-brown back, but the Hermit has a contrasting reddish brown tail or "brown back and red tail configuration."

Pictured here are rear views (left to right) of Gray-cheeked, Veery, Hermit, and Swainson's.

And here is the front view, (left to right) Veery, Gray-cheeked, Swainson's, Hermit:
Note the clarity of spotting on the breasts of these birds. The Veery has blurry spots which is an added field characteristic to look for.

With cold fronts forecast for this week expect to see Hermit Thrushes, White-throated Sparrows, Myrtle Warblers, and kinglets to arrive in the region in full force; maybe our first Rusty Blackbirds and Fox Sparrow as well. The last week of September and the first 10 days of October can hold the best diversity of the fall migration. As the leaves change, enjoy the changes of songbird migration as well.

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