A Beautiful May Weekend – May 4th-6th, 2007

Sorry this page didn’t get updated during the weekend. I was having too much fun outside to spend my time on the computer.

May 6th

Although the day did not start off with much promise, there was a cold northeast wind blowing before dawn which did not let up during the day, a few new migrants literally dropped from the skies (including a Chestnut-Sided Warbler that hit Net 5 while I was opening it) and a respectable variety of birds were encountered. A total of 66 species were recorded on ETs, including 10 species of warblers, but overall numbers were relatively low. This does not, of course, apply to American Goldfinches. Scads of them around in frenzied hordes.

New species for the season were Blue-Headed Vireo, Magnolia Warbler, Black-Throated Blue Warbler, and Ovenbird.

A female Wild Turkey was observed skulking near Net 8 and there was a momentary fear, not entirely unfounded, that it had predated Peter and Mitch.

Banded 87:
American Goldfinch 45 – I mentioned scads, right?
Chestnut-Sided Warbler 1
Black-Throated Green Warbler 1
Magnolia Warbler 1
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 1
Yellow Warbler 2
House Wren 1
Black-Thoated Blue Warbler 1
Least Flycatcher 1
Chipping Sparrow 7
Western Palm Warbler 1
Yellow-Rumped Warbler 1
Swamp Sparrow 2
Ovenbird 1
Blue-Headed Vireo 1 (yes, a solitary one)
White-Throated Sparrow 5
Brown-Headed Cowbird 1
Song Sparrow 1
Eastern White-Crowned Sparrow 2
Red-Winged Blackbird 2
Baltimore Oriole 1
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 7 (I’m typing with the stumps of my fingers)
Red-Bellied Woodpecker 1

Retrapped 29:
American Goldfinch 16
White-Breasted Nuthatch 3
Chipping Sparrow 3
Tree Swallow 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hermit Thrush 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 1
Field Sparrow 1
Eastern White-Crowned Sparrow 1

Ruthven has now passed over 1000 birds banded this season.


May 5th
The day highlighted R & B – no, not rhythm and blues but Rick and Brian….almost as good. Aspiring banders/birders Faye Socholotiuk and Daphne Payne joined us somewhat later, certainly after opening time, but in time to do most of the banding/scribing while Rick did his CEO thing and Brian battled Officer Mayfield (from the local OPP detachment) for the last Timbit. We were also joined by Irene Schmidt who will be celebrating her 88th birthday next weekend. So, socially, it was a fun place to be. [It was eerily interesting that Officer Mayfield showed up today of all days. He hadn’t been here this season but came today – the first time we had Tim Horton’s doughnuts! Do these guys have a special radar they’re not telling us about?]

The birding was just as good as the company – not a lot of birds but a lot of variety represented by one or a few individuals. In terms of species encountered we had our best day to date with 63. New birds for the season: Cliff Swallow, Blue-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Bobolink.

We banded 40 birds but would have had quite a few more if it hadn’t been for the wind which picked up early out of the NE and billowed many of the nets.

Banded 40:
1 Tree Swallow
2 House Wrens
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Gray Catbird
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
2 Chestnut-sided Warbler
1 Myrtle Warbler
1 Northern Waterthrush
5 Rose-breasted Grosbeak (including 4 females – theyre back!)
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow,
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
15 American Goldfinches (this brings us up to 330 for the season easily breaking the old record of 306)

Retrapped 15:
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
3 Yellow Warblers
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
2 Chipping Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
4 American Goldfinches

Estimated Totals: 63 species

There were some interesting retraps:
American Goldfinch – banded May 2004
American Goldfinch – banded Sept. 2002
Yellow Warbler – May 2004
Rose-breasted Grosbeak May 2004
Interesting to think of what these last two birds have experienced on their multiple return trips between Ruthven and Central America.


May 4th
When I arrived at Ruthven under an indigo sky the moon was so bright that shadows were cast and the light contrast between night and dawn was not so marked as usual. The early morning chorus contained a strong contingent of White-Throated Sparrows, although relatively few of them found their way into the nets.

A few new migrants made appearances, including Least Flycatcher, Veery, Wood Thrush, Black-Throated Green Warbler, and Black-and-White Warbler, with a mob of Chipping Sparrows and many Common Grackles thrown in.

Yet another horde of rampaging American Goldfinch descended near midday. A little known fact is that the Thompson family motto was “Carduelis tristis annoyingii” which roughly translates as “Oh look, another $#%$ goldfinch”. The enthusiasm of the goldfinches can not be faulted however- on two occasions two were found captured together in a single cell of the Potter Trap.

A late Slate-Coloured Junco was observed as well.

Dragonflies have finally made an appearance, with several Common Green Darners hawking for insects about the property.

Banded 44:
American Goldfinch 17
Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher 1
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 4
Chipping Sparrow 6
Field Sparrow 1
Tree Swallow 1
Brown-Headed Cowbird 1
Eastern White-Crowned Sparrow 2
White-Throated Sparrow 5
White-Breasted Nuthatch 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hermit Thrush 1
Veery 1
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 1
Red-Winged Blackbird 1

Retrapped 19:
American Goldfinch 11
Northern Cardinal 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Song Sparrow 2
Chipping Sparrow 3
White-Throated Sparrow 1

One of the American Goldfinch, banded as a SY-M on May 8th, 2004, was recovered in May 2006 and now again in May 2007. The Yellow Warbler was banded on July 19th, 2004 as a local young bird as part of Ruthven’s MAPS project and had not previously been recovered.


A few pictures from Friday (click for a larger image):

A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

The retrapped Yellow Warbler (banded as a hatch-year bird in 2004!)

A few pictures of one of the day’s Hermit Thrushes


A few pictures of the Veery we banded


2 thoughts on “A Beautiful May Weekend – May 4th-6th, 2007

  1. I spotted a Mourning Cloak on Friday at Ruthven. It was just off the path leading from the mansion to the river.

  2. Pingback: Migration Monitoring May 10th, 2007 & a few pictures | Ruthven Park Nature Blog

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