August 22nd – Backyard Banding on Grand Manan

We got up at 6:00 and had the net set up in Castalia Marsh and the lure tape singing to all the Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows within 150 m just as the sun coloured the clouds on the horizon, but got nothing – not even a Savannah Sparrow. In fact, we didn’t even hear or see a sparrow of any kind within 150 m of the net/tape…for an hour and a half. So we packed it in.

I then spent an hour at the cabin of Brian Dalzell who would be New Brunswick’s answer to the late John Miles – a prodigious memory for anything related to birds and banding. I had helped him set up 3 nets yesterday to see what he could catch (and I could band). There was very little around. Brian commented: “It looks like everything just moved out during the night.” I couldn’t agree more. So we packed it in.

Back at the cabin I couldn’t find an excuse not to continue scraping the eavestroughs in preparation for painting so I started on that project in the afternoon. Some people find great pleasure (I’m told) in fixing up and beautifying their abodes. I’m not one of those people. So in-between bouts of scraping I set out and baited 2 ground traps following this up a couple of hours later by putting up a 6-metre mist net. Now the traps were at the base of a feeder pole from which I was putting out oiled sunflower seeds. (I had put up 2 feeders two days ago. It took the Blue Jays and Black-capped Chickadees only a couple of hours to find them. These were soon followed (within 24 hours) by Dark-eyed Juncos, American Goldfinches and Purple Finches. And chickadees tend to attract other birds and so there were some Black-throated Green Warblers hanging around and even a Hermit Thrush checking out what all the action was over.)

We had pretty good success, banding 15 birds:
2 Blue Jays
6 Black-capped Chickadees
3 Black-throated Green Warblers
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Purple Finch

(I even got the eavestrough ready for painting…..)


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