March 25th – Is Winter Over?

Compare this picture to the one of the same bird posted yesterday. Note today’s absence of snow on the platform. -DOL

It was -5 C when I opened nets this morning shortly after 8 AM and +13 C when I left in the middle of the afternoon – an 18 degree turnaround. And creatures didn’t lose any time responding to it. By the late morning Chorus Frogs were calling and Painted Turtles were hauling themselves out of the pond onto logs to soak up some rays/heat. [Note that the Canada Goose pair has taken over their sunning platform for a nest site.] I even sighted a brilliant Tree Swallow winging low over the river. It felt like the sort of day when I should be seeing the first Eastern Phoebe of the year but…..not yet.

Painted Turtles trying to take advantage of the sunshine. DOL

The southerly winds (they had started in the NE) interfered with some of the nets so I closed those ones early but I still managed to keep 4 running and ended up banding 23 birds; 14 of these were American Goldfinches and the ones I caught were just a small slice of the goldfinches that were present, taking advantage of the 2 black oil sunflower feeders – one at net #1 and the other just outside the banding hut. At one point I counted 24+ around the latter feeder. All of them were moulting into their brilliant alternate (breeding) plumages. It was pretty easy to pick out the older males – they were bright yellow (whereas the younger males still had a lot of olive feathering and didn’t stand out nearly as much.

Despite the cold temperatures last night, the pond did not have any ice this morning and there was a good collection of ducks checking it out: 11 Wood Ducks, 6 Mallards, 2 American Black Ducks, 2 Green-winged Teal, and 6 Hooded Mergansers.

Banded 23:
14 American Goldfinches
5 American Tree Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco
1 White-throated Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
ET’s: 38 spp.

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