Thursday, September 27, 2012

Not Much About.....except for "The Ripper."

The weekend of September 23rd/24th was the poorest so far this Autumn. Not only was Brett missing, presumed twitching, but so too were the birds. A not at all grand total of 35 birds were banded over two mornings, representing twelve species. Meagre reward for the effort, I'm sure you'll agree. Here are the totals:-

"Traill's" Flycatcher 2
Magnolia Warbler 1
Wilson's Warbler 2
Wilson's Warbler
Philadelphia Vireo 3                                         
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Common Yellowthroat 2
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Gray Catbird 1
American Robin 13
Nashville Warbler 3
Blackpoll Warbler 1

On Saturday we were confronted by a gentleman holding a "Traill's" Flyctacher, that he claimed his dog had found at the foot of the net pole. The bird was still covered in some netting, which was carefully removed, the bird processed and released safely, apparently none the worse for wear. On inspecting the net, it was pretty clear that the bird had been torn out of the net, presumably by the aforementioned gentleman, who was then unable to safely remove the netting. At least he came looking for help! Although his story was not especially believable, we used the opportunity to explain what we were doing, and demonstrated the banding process for him. Hopefully we have educated another member of the public. After he left, Georg and I mulled over a suitable nickname, including The Flycatcher Ripper, The Robin Ripper, and The Blue Jay Ripper, but finally settled on plain old "The Ripper." Henceforth he will be known as The Ripper, and future sightings recorded and reported here!

Interestingly, the same Flycatcher was retrapped on Sunday, and had increased its weight from an impressive 16.0 gm, to a rotund 17.1 gm in just 24 hours. The second Flycatcher was even heavier, weighing in at 20 gm.....normal early Autumn weight is around 13 gm.

Next weekend sees the annual fund raising walk (Sunday) for "rare" Charitable Research Reserve, so I don't expect to catch very many birds, given the amount of people expected to be on the property. If anyone reading this is in a position to join in, contact the office to register!

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Weekend of Diversity

The weekend of 15th/16th of September brought with it a pleasing diversity of species, 28 to be exact. 174 birds were banded, bringing the Fall total to 1,167 individuals, of 66 species. The year total now stands at 72 species and 1,337 birds. This is very pleasing, considering our inland location, and the fact that the area is not a known migrant trap such as Long Point, Point Pelee or Prince Edward Point.

Additions to the Fall list were Gray-cheeked Thrush (1), Starling (1), Palm Warbler (3), and Orange-crowned Warbler (1). The Vireo numbers have reduced considerably, with just one Warbling and one Red-eyed being processed. Brett caught ten Nashville Warblers on Saturday, but with a clear evening and night, Sunday's catch, not to mention species diversity, was predictably much lower.

The first wave of White-throated Sparrows appeared on Sunday, and the American Robin roost is growing, clear evidence that Winter is not that far off now. If this thought depresses you, perhaps I can suggest a visit to YouTube, and a look at Mr. Methane in action on late night Norwegian television? Thank goodness for Georg's Blackberry and data plan, which helps things along in the quieter times......

Here, in totally random order, is the official weekend list:

Tennessee Warbler 1
American Redstart 2
Black-capped Chickadee 3
American Redstart (male)
Warbling Vireo 1
Swamp Sparrow 4
Purple Finch 2
Swainson's Thrush 3
Gray Catbird 8
European Starling 1
American Robin 13
Yellow-shafted Flicker 5
Nashville Warbler 10
Magnolia Warbler 1
Western Palm Warbler 3
House Wren 3
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 6
American Goldfinch 79
White-throated Sparrow 7
Song Sparrow 12
Wilson's Warbler 3
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush 1
Savannah Sparrow 1
Indigo Bunting 1

Gray-cheeked Thrush

Eastern Phoebe

This weekend may be a bit dicey, weatherwise, with a cold front and rain showers due on Saturday, and a blustery Nor' Wester on Sunday. Perhaps Mr. Methane will be the order of the day.......

Mr. Methane

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nasty Weather, and Dickheads steal nets.....

Some periods of heavy rain and strong winds on Saturday meant we could not operate at all. By Sunday, the wind had died down and after an overcast start to the day, the sun came out and dried everything up. As we stumbled through the woods to get to the furthest net lanes, we were shocked to discover that two nets had been stolen. The net poles were laying on the ground, but even the guy pegs and chord were missing. A thorough search of the area was made, to ensure that they hadn't been tossed into the river, or left draped over the plants. Finding nothing, I can only assume that a Do-Gooder must have discovered the furled nets and decided to remove them once and for all, believing they may have been used for hunting purposes. If the person who did this is reading this post, then, sir or madam, you are a moron. I will take some of the blame too, for not having signs attached to the furled nets explaining why the equipment is there in the first place. That is being taken care of for the future, so perhaps it will make a difference.

                                                             Bay-breasted Warbler
                                                                                   Blackburnian Warbler

 Philadelphia Vireo

                                                               Net thief suspect???

Operating with just four nets, we still managed to band 31 birds of 16 species. Brett and Erika added a further 54 birds up at Springbank Farm, for a respectable 85 birds, and 20 species. New additions to the year list were Black-throated Green Warbler and Blackburnian Warbler. Here are the totals:

Nashville Warbler 3
Wilson's Warbler 7
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
American Goldfinch 40
Indigo Bunting 1
Field Sparrow 1
Common Yellowthroat 3
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Blackpoll Warbler 4
Black-capped Chickadee 3
Warbling Vireo 1
Philadelphia Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo 5
Song Sparrow 5
Swainson's Thrush 1
Gray Catbird 2
Northern Cardinal 1
American Robin 2

The total so far this Autumn stands at 881, with 61 species on the list.

The coming weekend's forecast is reasonable, so we are looking forward to another productive couple of sessions. Stay tuned......

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Labour Day Weekend

This year, I decided to take the Friday before the Labour Day weekend as a holiday, allowing for four consecutive days of banding. As always, we are entirely dependent on weather conditions, and once again, the weather was good....too good, really. Nevertheless, over the four days, a total of 229 birds were added to the total. As might be expected at this time of year, diversity was high, with 41 different species finding their way into the nets!

New for the year were Bay-breasted Warbler (1), Blackpoll Warbler (2), Black-throated Blue Warbler (1),
Blue-headed Vireo (1), Blue Jay (1), Carolina Wren (1), Least Flycatcher (1), Philadelphia Vireo (5), Scarlet Tanager (1), Swainson's Thrush (1), Veery (1) and Vesper Sparrow (1).

                                                        Blue-headed Vireo (minus tail.....)

Helping make up the numbers were 79 American Goldfinches, 29 Gray Catbirds, 11 Red-eyed Vireos, and 8 Tennessee Warblers. In spite of the mainly clear conditions, there was a lot of migrant movement through the reserve, and the catch reflected this.

Also in evidence were the local Ospreys, as well as a Broad-winged Hawk, found perching on a branch at the edge of the forest. Pretty soon these raptors will be seen in their tens of thousands at places such as Hawk Cliff and Holiday Beach, as they follow the north shore of Lake Erie to the Detroit River, where they then spread out and head towards their wintering grounds. Two Caspian Terns were fishing in the Grand River, and the first two Green-winged Teal of the Autumn were resting on a gravel island in the middle of the river.

As usual, the above image is courtesy of Georg Hentsch and probably shouldn't be copied, reproduced or in any way buggered about with.....although he probably wouldn't mind anyway......