Monday, April 27, 2009

Where are all the migrants?

Aparently, somewhere south, east, north and west of here. While Point Pelee and Long Point have seen the first big push of migrants, we have been less fortunate. The weather finally took a turn for the better on Friday, so there was a great deal of anticipation that Saturday would be the real start of the season for us. To an extent, I suppose it was. The day was warm and mainly sunny, but rather breezy from the south west. The numbers were disappointing, with a miserly total of 17 birds of eleven species caught on Saturday. Later in the day, a cold front passed through, with heavy rain and thunderstorms preventing any new birds moving in overnight......which accounts for Sunday's tally of eight. So, for those of you who are mathematically challenged, the weekend total was 25, of fourteen species. Numbers are poor, but diversity is increasing. Next weekend SHOULD be better, but as always, it all depends on weather systems.

On a slightly sadder note, we bade a temporary farewell to Brett, who is off to Long Point for the rest of the season. He did leave on a high note though, having won the prestigious "Doofus of the Day" award for Saturday, after failing to respond to his alarm clock(s). If you are reading this, Brett, good luck at LPBO and we look forward to welcoming you back in August!

Here is this weekend's breakdown (in no specific order):

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3
American Goldfinch 2
Slate coloured Junco 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Northern Cardinal 3
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Song Sparrow 3
White throated Sparrow 3
Brown Thrasher 1
Red winged Blackbird 2
American Robin 1
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Field Sparrow 1
Myrtle Warbler 1

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring Season kicks off in less than stellar style

The Spring 2009 field season started with a whimper on Saturday, April 18th.....and petered out completely the following day. The weather was fine, but with the recent cool northerly airstream over the province, the migrant passerines have yet to show any real inclination to head north, into the nets. Unfortunately the winds returned on Sunday, the temperature dropped significantly, and we closed down around 9 a.m. This did allow me to go home and watch the footy. Seeing the Mancs lose is always a highlight for me.....but then, being a Forest fan, I really have no reason to gloat!

A huge total of thirteen birds were captured on Saturday, followed by a miserable tally of two on Sunday....which featured a particularly nasty Northern Cardinal. They certainly look handsome, but their general disposition towards innocent banders leaves a lot to be desired.

Although the overall numbers were unimpressive, there were a few retraps from last year, one being a Song Sparrow originally banded on May 24th, an American Robin from last September, and a second year male American Goldfinch, trapped in October, and now just changing into his bright breeding plumage.

Although there was not a grat deal of migration evident, we were entertained by the sight of four Ospreys disputing territory. It seems as though one pair has taken up residence on the nesting platform, and were being challenged by two interlopers. Eventually the invaders drifted off to the north, no doubt seeking a suitable territory not already occupied.

Here is the breakdown:

Fox Sparrow 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
White throated Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Black-capped Chickadee 3
American Goldfinch 1
Song Sparrow 6

Next weekend looks to be more promising, at least according to the current long range forecast. we shall see!