May 13-14th – Big Weekend

A BIG surprise: our first capture of a Solitary Sandpiper! -KMP

The middle of May; traditionally the time when the migration of long-distance migrants gets into full gear….and so it is. Both yesterday and today, the willows in front of the Banding Hut provided a highway for passing warblers. All you had to do was sit at the picnic table and watch. There was a slight difference between the two days though: yesterday there was much more variety. We spotted 14 species of warblers and our species count for the day was a whopping 75. Today we counted only 6 warbler species and our overall species count was a much lower (but respectable) 54. The banding numbers were comparable however – 37 (yesterday) vs 33. I’m not sure how to explain the difference; still lots of birds just not as great a variety. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the strengthening of the NE wind in the early morning. Today the nets were billowing and we ended up closing a little earlier.

Sam got to band the Solitary Sandpiper – a great banding “tick” to have under one’s belt. -KMP

The highlight of the weekend was the capture and subsequent banding of a Solitary Sandpiper – a first for HBO. The honour of banding it went to one of the Young Ornithologists, Sam Lewis. I have never banded one and would have loved to do so but Sam’s efforts to get to the bird in the net, which saw him plough through knee-deep boot-sucking mud and water, earned him the right. Especially when we learned that the mud had succeeded in wrestling a boot from him and he finished the dash with one boot and one sock. Solitary Sandpipers are birds that are found around streams or ponds but I’ve never seen them in wetland sloughs like we have at the Farm. A real treat.

Wing and tail detail of the Solitary Sandpiper. -KMP

May 13th, Banded 37:
1 Solitary Sandpiper
1 Least flycatcher
1 Warbling Vireo
2 House Wrens
3 Gray Catbirds
2 American Goldfinches
3 White-throated Sparrows
2 Song Sparrows
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
4 Swamp Sparrows
1 Baltimore Oriole
2 Common Grackles
3 Common Yellowthroats

ASY male American Redstart. -KMP

1 American Redstart
2 Magnolia Warblers

4 Yellow Warblers
2 Western Palm Warblers
2 Myrtle Warblers

Species Encountered: 75 spp.
Of note were a passing Common Raven and a singing Clay-coloured Sparrow.

One of several singing Bay-breasted Warblers that flew around just above the nets – teasers. -KMP

May 14th; Banded 33:
1 Least Flycatcher
1 Barn Swallow
1 European Starling
2 Gray Catbirds
1 American Goldfinches
2 White-throated Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
3 Swamp Sparrow
1 Savannah Sparrow

Male Baltimore Oriole. -KMP

1 Northern Waterthrush
4 Common Yellowthroats
1 Yellow Warbler

Western Palm Warbler. -ECK

2 Western Palm Warblers
7 Myrtle Warblers
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Indigo Bunting

Species Encountered: 54 spp.
Including this male (check out the black “eyebrow”) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Male Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. -ECK

Check out this sequence of a hunting Myrtle Warbler taken by Karen Petrie on Saturday. The bird is searching low above the pond; spots a tasty morsel; and, when successful, flies off with a mouthful.

Searching. -KMP

Has spotted a target. -KMP

Flies off with a mouthful. -KMP


2 thoughts on “May 13-14th – Big Weekend

  1. Ya, Cathy…it truly was. I also enjoyed the fact that Sam retrieved it shod with one boot and one sock.

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