May 11th – Winter Persists

This picture sort of says it all: Baltimore Oriole foraging in the snow. -CB

I always take weather forecasts with a grain of salt. In my experience, if it calls for nice weather it could rain; and if it calls for rain it probably will – not that I’m a pessimist or anything…..

When I arrived this morning the northerly wind, that had been blowing through the night, was still blowing but the forecast precipitation (rain/sleet/snow/ice pellets) had not materialized….but I didn’t have a good feeling about it not materializing. So I opened only half the nets. I did a brisk business for an hour or two but then it started and I had to quickly close.

I ended up banding 20 birds, 13 of which were White-throated Sparrows and a majority of these could be sexed as females (by wing length). Although I’m sure they were feeling the weather conditions they were all carrying good fat loads which would certainly sustain them through these hard times and give the energy to move on as soon as the weather gets better. They’re running about a week late and will want to push on as quickly as possible.

Chipping Sparrows are common right now – some will be staying to nest while others will be moving further north. -CB

Check out those small flocks of Chipping Sparrows! You might find one of these: Clay-coloured Sparrow. -CB

Wood Thrush. We should be hearing and seeing these regularly now but. at Ruthven, I’m still banding Hermit Thrushes. The “long-distance thrushes” (Wood Thrush, Veery, Swainson’s and Gray-cheeked Thrush) haven’t arrived yet. -CB

We’ve seen quite a few Western Palm Warblers this season. Beautiful birds. -CB

This is a “second-year” male Baltimore Oriole; i.e., the bird is in its 2nd calendar year. Note the contrast between the brown juvenile feathers (primary coverts, primary and secondary feathers) and the black adult greater secondary coverts and tertials). -MMG

The red arrows highlite the juvenile brown feathers; the green arrows point to the adult black ones. This is a good way to separate the two age groups. -MMG

Blue-headed Vireo (from yesterday’s census). -MMG

Virginia Bluebells. The ones on the Ruthven side of the river are derived from replants effected by Loretta Mousseau and Peter Thoem15 (or so) years ago. The originals thrive on the opposite side of the river. -MMG

Female Hooded Merganser captured during the census. The fact that they’re still here suggests that they might be nesting in the immediate area (they’re cavity nesters like Wood Ducks). -MMG

Second-year male Orchard Oriole – told by the green overall colour and black chin. This particular bird is just beginning to molt in the chestnut brown colouring of the adult male. -MMG


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