Friday, June 3, 2011

Official: The fat lady has sung, 2011 Spring banding over!

The 2011 Spring banding campaign finished on Sunday May 29th, after five, rather slow, weekends. Reviewing the final numbers, 204 birds were banded, of 41 species. This is over 100 down on our most productive year, 2009. This location is really not a noted Spring migrant hotspot, but nevertheless produces a steady trickle of migrants, and the very occasional flood when the weather conditions are right.

On Saturday the "rare" organization arranged a field trip for interested local residents, specifically to observe the banding process and see how the mist nets are operated. Thirty four new birds were banded, including the undoubted highlight of the Spring, an Olive-sided Flycatcher. This species is considered "at risk" in Canada, and is a very scarce migrant in this area, so it was a great surprise to find that little beuaty in the net! Being a thoroughly good bloke, I gave the banding tick to Brett, who was conducting the banding demonstration, and the look on his face when he pulled the bird from the bag was priceless.

As expected, Sunday was much quieter, with a further 20 birds banded. All equipment was removed for Summer storage, and will be reinstalled in August, ready for the Autumn season. Operations are set to begin on August 13th, by which time I fully expect the place to be alive with mosquitoes. This has been a very wet Spring and the woods are full of pools, ideal for breeding mossies! Perhaps I will have to break out the bee-keeper hat again this year! The up-side to that though is that it deters the casual vandals from wandering in to the bush, and ceratinly provides abundant insect food for the birds. I suppose too that the amount of blood I lose to the little buggers helps reduce my blood pressure. See....every cloud has a silver lining if you know where to look!

Here are the totals for the weekend, with absolutely no regard to any logical order:

American Redstart 6

Wilson's Warbler 2

Least Flycatcher 2

Common Yellowthroat 3

Yellow Warbler 6

American Goldfinch 5

Chestnut-sided Warbler 1

Warbling Vireo 1

Cedar Waxwing 5

Baltimore Oriole 3

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1

Northern Cardinal 1

Gray Catbird 4

"Traill's" Flycatcher 7

Brown-headed Cowbird 1

Red-eyed Vireo 1

Olive-sided Flycatcher 1

Tennessee Warbler 2

Lincoln's Sparrow 1

Red-winged Blackbird 1

Now it's time to input the records and review the retrap data. Given the numbers, that shouldn't be too onerous. After that, it's off to Parga, Greece for two weeks of sun, sand, sea, Greek salads (hopefully e-coli free) and of course, lots of Mythos.

My sincere thanks go to Georg Hentsch, his faithful hound Zak, Brett Fried, Erika Hentsch, Bill Wilson, the "rare" chritable reasearch reserve personnel, and all of the people who kindly volunteered their weekend mornings to monitor migrants on the various trails around the reserve.

This weeks images, copyright Georg Hentsch, are naturally of the Olive-sided Flycatcher.