August 19th Fall Migration – Anticipation

Early in the morning when you open the nets, you are birding by ear and at first light it may be the only time you hear individual species. The mornings have been quieter as the local adult breeding birds are putting their time and energy toward a complete molt before they begin the migration south. This morning I had the help of my youngest son James to open the nets. The one bird I did hear was the sound of Bank Swallows – was there another wave of them migrating? James and I ran to an area that was strategic because we were on higher ground and had an excellent view to the north, as well as the east and west. Sure enough, there was a long, wide trail of migrating Bank Swallows. Between the two of us we started counting them, watching wave after wave of swallows fly over us! We finally stopped counting after 762 birds. Instead, we just enjoyed watching this amazing site of the sheer number of birds that were flying over and around us. There were well over a 1000 Bank Swallows this morning and even as the numbers dwindled the birds were still trickling through as we continued our round of opening nets.

Two days ago (Tuesday, August 17) when I was opening nets early in the morning I watched another trail of migrating Bank Swallows flying south. During this time I counted over 508 birds knowing that I was missing in my count the large numbers of them that I could hear to the east and west but unable to get a good count of them because of the tree line limiting me. On this day we estimated there were over 700 bank swallows. So, for three mornings (Sunday, Tuesday, and today – Thursday), there have been these HUGE flocks of migrating Bank Swallows. Its been amazing to see and hear them .. marvelling at the number of birds we’ve seen each day.

The weather warmed up very quickly this morning. The first net round was promising with a number of warblers trapped but overall it was a slower day today. Christine and I have enjoyed having full rein of the banding station since Rick is away. With Chris’s help in banding and extracting we make a great team! My husband Mike and my son Matt were visiting and Matt did a great job extracting today. The next time you visit the banding lab you’ll see a fresh paint job that Chris and Christine have completed on the building station exterior. Great job guys!

Banded: 24
1 Yellow-shafted Flicker
2 Traill’s Flycatcher
4 House Wren
2 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
2 Chestnut-sided Warbler
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Black-and- white Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Canada Warbler
6 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow

Retrapped: 10Black-ca.
1 Chickadee
2 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Blue-winged Warbler
2 Northern Cardinal
3 Chipping Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow

ET’s – 41 spp.


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