Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Third Wave birds are here!

The third wave of migrants has arrived. The wave of the Empidonax Flycatchers and vireos. Mourning (MOWA), American Redstart (AMRE), Female Magnolia (MAWA), Canada (CAWA), Wilson's (WIWA), and Connecticut Warblers (CONW) will round out this wave. Yellow-billed (YBCU) and Black-billed Cuckoos (BBCU) will peak their migration for spring. They always seem to provide the grand finale for the season, bringing up the end with a flash of their tails! 

Philadelphia Vireo
We have had several days this week May 21st - 28th of double digit Philadelphia Vireos (PHVI). What a nice vireo to see in good numbers. Just two years ago, we captured only one the whole season! It demonstrates the importance of long-term monitoring as one year alone will not solve the puzzle of migration and a species population. If there was subsequent years of lower numbers then a closer look would be required.

Second year male SCTA

A highlight of the week was this male Scarlet Tanager (SCTA). There had been two singing for several days but too high to be caught in our mist nets which are 8 feet high. Notice the primary coverts are dull brown which makes this a second-year male hatched last summer. You can see remnants of his winter/basic plumage of the lime green feathers.

Female warblers can have their subtle beauty. Take a look:
Bay-breasted and Blackpoll Warbler females

Bay-breasted Warbler female back

MOWA- Adult female-note yellow throat and unusual black feathers.

We had the opportunity to show off the flycatcher group this week:

Can you ID these flycatchers?
Here are two of them, frontal view.

 Answers found at the end.

Here is a real treat - an Olive-sided Flycatcher (OSFL)

OSFL- note the large bill and gray vest it is sporting.

Eastern Wood-Pewee (EAWP)- note the crest (not often seen)

 Eastern Wood-Pewee (EAWP), Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (YBFL), Traill's Flycatcher (TRFL), Great-crested Flycatcher (GCFL), and Olive-sided Flycatcher (OSFL).
The end of migration may only be days away but the cuckoos will be here to sing their song.  This is the time we look forward to the great breeding birds we have in our backyards! Thanks for all you do to allow some of these long distance migrants to nest successfully in your neighborhood. With banding data we know many birds return to their natal area to breed. Females have high site fidelity. We have caught 57 Yellow Warblers (YEWA) banded in previous years.  To see other species returning go to BSBO research pages Enjoy the beauty of the season!

All Empidonax flycatchers have wing bars, eye-rings and bi-colored bills. Answer to left photo quiz :Two YBFLs (left and center) and Acadian Flycatcher (ACFL) on right. Bird bellies photo shows ACFL on left and YBFL on right. YBFL has a dark green throat and belly and orangish bill and ACFL has lighter belly and throat and really pale lower mandible.

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