A cold April 29th (pictures now added)

It was a couple of degrees below freezing during the night; the nets (and fields) were frosted and the poles were iced up and slick making opening somewhat frustrating. Although the “dawn chorus” was intense, it did not include many migrants – the White-throated Sparrows that should have been singing had a poor showing. I thought this might have been due to the cold but…no, there just weren’t that many around. At least until the early afternoon. After we closed up the nets, we took a leisurely stroll around the Fox Den Trail. This is the best time to be out: the leaves are just coming out on the trees; wildflowers are blooming; and the mosquitoes, which can be terrible at times (this is a slough forest after all), have not yet emerged. Around the junction of this trail and the Carolinian Trail we came upon a flock of 15-20 Yellow-rumped Warblers and 4-5 Western Palm Warblers, all feeding high in the trees, appearing to be picking insects from the opening buds. Wonderful to behold!

Jeff MacLeod and I were helped by Elaine Serena and Shirley Klement; they come fairly regularly to help out. We think other visitors should take heed of some of the pictures Jeff will put on the blog shortly – they show a well-stocked picnic brunch which these two ladies always bring when they come. There’s a lot to be learned here! Remember: a fed bander is a happy bander. Although many of you bring a muffin here, a cookie there – and we greatly appreciate that – a bander is only truly happy when he can eat to satiation.

When the Common Loons fly over on their way north, we usually see them starting about 45-60 minutes after sunrise and for about an hour after that. This morning, one went by before the sun was even up – must have been anxious to get to his/her destination.

Banded 19:
1 Blue Jay
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 American Robin
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Western Palm Warbler
3 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
2 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
2 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 19:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Yellow Warbler
4 Song Sparrows
3 White-throated Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco
7 Brown-headed Cowbirds
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 53 species

Pictures from the day:

A Blue-winged warbler, banded today.

A Yellow Warbler, banded today.

This Black-capped Chickadee had an interesting eye condition. It seemed that the area around his eyes was swollen, and lacking plumage. We haven’t seen this before.

Most of the trees and bushes around Ruthven are just starting to fill in. This one is particularly bright.

Rick, working his way to satiation.

Elaine and Shirley, wondering why Rick feels at liberty to eat all of their food.

An essential part of bander training–balancing on the dead tree, 20 feet above the ground.

Rick found a Mallard nest close to the river. Do you see it?

A little closer view.

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