October 9th – Rain, Rain, Glorious Rain

Very bright adult male Nashville Warbler


Since the beginning of the Fall banding season on September 1st we haven’t had a hard steady rain at the time of my alarm going off (5 AM). So I have had to haul my…self out of bed, get to the banding lab, and open nets. Now sometimes there’s been scattered showers or light drizzle but these conditions don’t count as you can usually open at least a few nets and people will show up to help out so you have to be there.

An Orange-crowned Warbler we retrapped.


But this morning was different. At the alarm I peaked out the window to see hard rain drumming down, a drenching rain with now thoughts of imminently stopping. Wonderful!! I jumped back into bed, rolled over contentedly and didn’t wake up until 8! And I have to tell you I didn’t feel in the least bit guilty, just simply well-rested for the first time in 39 days. Glorious.

I arrived at Ruthven just after 9 and the rain stopped with my arrival although it looked like it could start again at any time. I opened about 2/3’s of the nets thinking I could race around and collapse them if the rain did restart – but it wasn’t necessary. And it turned into a good banding day with a nice mix of both short- and long-distance migrants.

Shirley, a visitor from Elmira, with a Blackpoll Warbler.


Banded 38:
1 Winter Wren
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Hermit Thrush
6 Cedar Waxwings
2 Tennessee Warblers
3 Nashville Warblers
14 Yellow-rumped Warblers
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
4 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow

ET’s: 36 spp.
Rick

October 7th & 8th – A Nice Mix

Inquisitive (?) Yellow-rumped Warbler. -KMP


We’ve just finished two topsy-turvy weather days: hot temperatures one day, blustery winds the next. Although we didn’t band a large number of birds, we did catch a nice variety, including some late warblers that should have been much further south. Interestingly, almost all of the long-distance migrating warblers were carrying very large fat loads (eg, a Tennessee Warbler weighed in at over 14 grams!!). When they get the right winds they have the energy potential to undertake very long-distance flights. Yellow-rumped Warblers, that won’t travel nearly as far, were all carrying much more modest fat loads.

American Redstart. -KMP


An interesting anecdote today: Marnie has been working hard at learning how to ID “confusing fall warblers” in the hand. She mentioned that she really needed/wanted to see what an Orange-crowned Warbler looked like in the hand. Today the last bird banded out of the last net round was….an Orange-crowned Warbler.

October 7th; Banded 34:

Yellow-billed Cuckoo. -KMP


1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
1 Downy Woodpecker
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Swainson’s Thrushes
1 Hermit Thrush

American Robin with a bill abnormality. -KMP


1 American Robin
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Tennessee Warbler
2 Nashville Warblers
1 Orange-crowned Warbler
6 Yellow-rumped Warblers
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
1 Bay-breasted Warbler
1 Black & White Warbler

A very late American Redstart. -KMP


1 American Redstart
4 Song Sparrows
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
2 Dark-eyed Juncos

ET’s: 46 spp.

October 8th; Banded 44:
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Brown Creeper
2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Swainson’s Thrushes
1 Hermit Thrush
1 Gray Catbird

Adult Cedar Waxwing. -KMP


2 Cedar Waxwings
2 Blue-headed Vireos
5 Tennessee Warblers
3 Nashville Warblers

Orange-crowned Warbler. -KMP


1 Orange-crowned Warbler
14 Yellow-rumped Warblers
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
2 Song Sparrows
2 White-throated Sparrows

ET’s: 45 spp.

Photos:

Isabella and Sonali with a Brown Creeper and Swainson’s Thrush respectively.


Pollinator at work, getting ready for Winter (although it still doesn’t feel like it any time soon….). KMP


Cedar Waxwing with a crop full of small berries. -KMP


Adult Cedar Waxwing moulting flight feathers.. -KMP


Attitude – a wet-headed Golden-crowned Kinglet after “skulling”. -KMP


Isabella with a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. -KMP


Ruby-crowned Kinglet with a yellow/orange crown patch. -KMP


Red-winged Blackbirds were pecking away at green walnuts – for no discernible reason. -KMP


Even attacking them upside down. -KMP


Marnie banding the cuckoo.


Yellow-billed Cuckoo. -KMP

Rick

October 6th – Finally!

We finally had a pretty good day! Like I’ve been telling you all along……Lousy weather makes for good banding at Ruthven. The very light showers we were getting at opening time stopped shortly after opening the first net. We somewhat trepidatiously continued to open thinking Mother Nature would/could screw us at any time and we’d have to run around and close quickly. But, no….the rain held off but the cloud stayed – perfect!

We ended up banding 78 birds of 17 species (see below).

As well as birding/banding there were some other interesting findings and/or events:

Identical twins!


Alessandra and Lauren, both redheads, showed up dressed identically! Surely there must be some genetic component to this, quite likely associated with hair colour. When we pressed them for answers that might explain this phenomenon it turned out that they are in fact identical twins born just 8 years apart. Genetics…..amazing!

We were greatly entertained by an original rap poetry presentation by the Dynamic Duo – Ezra and Alessandra.


Alessandra and Ezra are very talented artists – singers, poets, actors. They treated us to an original 10-minute rap poetry presentation. Even old fuddy-duddys like Mike and I could appreciate the freshness of the performance. What next!?

3 male Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers; adult male, on the left, and two young males.


Banded 78:
4 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers

Female Northern Flicker (no moustache stripe). -AAW


1 Northern Flicker
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Brown Creeper
2 Winter Wrens
8 Golden-crowned Kinglets
8 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
8 Hermit Thrushes
1 American Robin
6 Cedar Waxwings
1 Red-eyed Vireo
2 Orange-crowned Warblers
1 Magnolia Warbler
12 Yellow-rumped Warblers
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
1 Western Palm Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 American Redstart
1 Northern Cardinal
8 Song Sparrows
8 White-throated Sparrows
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 50 spp.
Photos:

Note the very pale plumage on this Black-throated Green Warbler. -AAW


Another look. -AAW


And yet another. -AAW


Wing detail of an AHY Blue Jay. -AAW


Brown Creeper. -AAW


We’ve had an unusually low number of these this Fall – Chipping Sparrow. -AAW


Male Golden-crowned Kinglet. -AAW


Male Ruby-crowned Kinglet. -AAW


Orange-crowned Warbler. -AAW


Philadelphia Vireo. AAW


Karen getting the upper hand on a Sapsucker.


Very late Eastern Wood Pewee. -KMP


Wing detail of 2 female American Goldfinches: adult on the left (note the extensive moult of wing feathers) and a juvenile on the right.


Western Palm Warbler. -AAW


Orange-crowned Warbler. -KMP


Rick

October 4th & 5th – Bad Cop, Good Cop

A late Yellow-billed Cuckoo. -KMP


As I’ve mentioned on a few occasions, Mother Nature is a capricious #%$*&. Good to you one day, terrible the next. Or, in this case, the other way around: Yesterday it was dead; no matter how much we urged, kowtowed, whinged we got no birds. Today we had good numbers from the opening round – without an appreciable change in the weather conditions. Just MN’s whimsy…..

An unusually aggressive young Cedar Waxwing.


Laura feeding herself to a waxwing.


October 4th; Banded 8:
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Gray Catbird
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Song Sparrow
1 American Goldfinch

October 5th; Banded 45:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo

There were a number of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers around today. -KMP


2 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper
5 Golden-crowned Kinglets
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Swainson’s thrush
2 Hermit Thrushes
1 Gray Catbird
1 Cedar Waxwing
1 Tennessee Warbler
4 Yellow-rumped Warblers
1 Song Sparrow
13 White-throated Sparrows

First White-crowned Sparrow of the season. -KMP


2 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 44 spp.
Photos:

Painted Lady. -KMP


Male Downy Woodpecker – note the red eye indicating an AHY bird. -KMP


If you look closely you can see the nicitating membrane on the bird’s eye – it protects the eye and moistens it. -KMP


Yellow-billed Cucko. -KMP

October 3rd – Slow, Slow, Slow

At Ruthven:
The title says it all …. Clear skies and warm temperatures for a
beautiful day but quiet in regards to the number of birds handled. A
handful of Cedar Waxwings at closing to help swell the numbers but
overall, a slow day.

Swamp Sparrow. -NRF


Banded 29
1 House Wren
6 Golden-crowned Kinglet
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Gray Catbird
9 Cedar Waxwing
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Field Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow
2 Swamp Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrow
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 37
Nancy

Devika learning to scribe (and doing a great job!). -KAP


Fern Hill Oakville:
It was even slower at Fern Hill Oakville – once the early morning leaving of the roost by local American Robins was over. In anticipation of this I had decided to count “Gashawks” (airplanes) throughout the morning; I was curious about how much traffic there was in the skies over the area. When we knocked off around 1:30 we had a total of 76 Gashawks! (And I’m sure we missed quite a few when we were actually banding, checking nets, etc.). That’s a lot of planes! We also counted 22 Monarch Butterflies moving SW.

Banded 7:

House Wren. -KAP


1 House Wren
3 American Robins
2 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow

Oakville got a Swamp Sparrow as well. -KAP


ET’s: 26 spp. (excluding Gashawks)

Thomas keeping an eye on his pet Hover Fly. -KAP


Rick

October 2nd – Back To Summer?

Early morning sky – the best time of the day. -NRF


It was a cool night but quickly warmed up as the sun rose – T-shirt conditions again. If I was a migrant, I’d be confused. Hell, it’s confusing to humans as well…..

Ruthven – Tag Team

The layering of clothing needed with the cool start to the morning was
soon set aside as the temperatures warmed up. A clear day with little
cloud cover and net checks that were pleasant but disappointingly slow for
the number of birds that we handled. A large group of students were in
the banding lab and the tag team of David Brewer and Mike Furber provided
a dynamic program. [Good cop, bad cop?]

Banded 15
1 Winter Wren

Male Ruby-crowned Kinglet. -B. Fotheringham


3 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Blue-headed Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo. -R. Fotheringham


1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
2 Northern Cardinal
1 Song Sparrow
5 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 40
Nancy

Photos from the last couple of days:

Green Heron along Rick’s Rill (the stream below Net 10). -CBR


Young male Northern Cardinal at the release point. -CBR


That cardinal heading for freedom. -RJY


Callie with a Philadelphia Vireo. -RJY


Painted Lady. -R. Fotheringham


Carolina Wren in heavy moult. -KMP


Adult Cedar Waxwing moulting tail feathers. -KMP


If you arrive at Ruthven early, before the dew is gone, you will be treated to a stunning display of spider webs:

Web #1. -KMP


Web #2. -KMP

Fern Hill Oakville:
While 15 is a poor banding day at Ruthven, it’s a pretty good day at Fern Hill Oakville. We banded 15, many of which were short-distance migrants; they’re beginning to arrive in good numbers.

Banded 15:
2 Blue Jays
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 American Robins
2 Yellow-rumped Warblers
3 Song Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
4 Dark-eyed Juncos

ET’s: 22 spp.
Rick

September 30th/October 1st – Feast Or Famine

Young Cedar Waxwing in the Hackberry tree. – C. Pintoul


Saturday we were busy, busy, busy. Flocks of Cedar Waxwings seemed to be everywhere but we were also getting a nice mix including the first Yellow-rumped Warbler of the season. We were just finishing off the processing of a round when I asked Morgan to go and check Net 10 – I wasn’t expecting much as it hadn’t been catching all day. She returned quickly to report that there were 35 birds in the net. We were gobsmacked and figured she was just putting us on but….no, by the time we got to the net there were 36 birds in it: 35 Cedar Waxwings and a Tufted Titmouse. For some reason, waxwings do this “misery loves company” thing: when one flies into the net its alarm call often causes its companions to throw themselves into it as well. They are a great bird for students to learn on: they don’t bite; they don’t very often get tangled, they’re easy to handle; and they’re easy to age and sex. We ended up banding 55 of them and 76 birds altogether.

Nancy got the first Hermit Thrush of the season Saturday night. -NRF


In the evening, Nancy, who was providing the “Ruthven presence” (i.e., the muscle) for a wedding event, opened a few nets to see if there were any Northern Saw-whet Owls around. There weren’t but…….she got the first Hermit Thrush of the season and an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk – nice compensation.

She also picked up this adult Sharp-shinned Hawk. -NRF


Today was completely different: just a few flocks of waxwings buzzing about and very little else. We banded just 13 birds and NO waxwings!?

Cedar Waxwing numbers dropped precipitously from Saturday to Sunday. -KMP

September 1st; Banded 76:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Young male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.


1 Tufted Titmouse
2 Black-capped Chickadees
2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Swainson’s Thrushes
2 American Robins
55 Cedar Waxwings
1 Yellow-rumped Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat

Song Sparrow. -KMP


2 Song Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 Dark-eyed Junco
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 31 spp.

October 1st; Banded 13:
1 Carolina Wren

Female Golden-crowned Kinglet. -AJB


3 Golden-crowned Kinglets

Male Golden-crowned Kinglet. -AJB


1 Swainson’s Thrush
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Northern Cardinal
2 Song Sparrows
2 White-throated Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco

ET’s: 38 spp.
Photos:

Monarch Butterfly numbers are waning – we only saw one today. -RJY


Our last hummingbird was seen several days ago – and none since. -C. Pintoul


Lauren, the Cowbird Lady from Western, has just started a PhD studying……Song Sparrows. Appropriately, she banded this one – her first. -KMP


Aidan, giving rapt attention to banding a kinglet. -KMP


Aidan’s Ruby-crowned Kinglet. -KMP


Morgan with her sapsucker.


Rick