With the Autumn banding season set to get underway on August 13th, Georg and I decided to set up the nets on my day off, which was Thursday. We duly met up at 06:00 on a bright, sunny morning, Georg equipped like the grim reaper, scythe in hand, ready to mow down any offending vegetation that had grown up in the net rides over the Summer. Needless to say, he was busy!!! To our great surprise, given the clear night, followed by bright sunshine, we had a reasonable catch of 37 birds. The undoubted highlight were the four hatch year Orchard Orioles, presumably local birds, that were caught. Also of interest were three Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, not a bird we catch very often. Three Yellow Warblers were a nice addition too. The nets were furled by 11:30 and we were greatly encouraged for the weekend prospects.
Both Saturday and Sunday were warm and humid days, with some sun, and there really weren't all that many birds around. Many have yet to begin their migration, but already the Yellow Warblers and Baltimore Orioles are trickling through the area. A total of 27 birds were caught on Saturday, and 28 on Sunday, for a weekend total of 54, and a species count of 19. We, or should I say The Grim Reaper, cut a new net ride down near the river, and we were rewarded with the capture of a second year female Shar-shinned Hawk. This time I was lucky enough to avoid being wounded!
Other highlights were the first Traill's Flycatchers of the season, a moulting adult Tennessee Warbler, and a very early Hermit Thrush....a bird we normally expect to see in October. It also looks like it's been a very good breeding season for Gray Catbirds, with a total of 22 captured in just three banding sessions. Out of this total, only two were adults.
We will be back on site early on Saturday, hopeful of an improved number of birds. Stay tuned for the next update!