May 14th – Revving Up

Since closing up yesterday at noon, 28.5 mm of rain fell, there were gusty winds and even thunder storms until well into the night. A warm front was moving through. Given the conditions you could hardly expect birds to be on the move. But they evidently were! We enjoyed our biggest day so far this Spring both in terms of the number of birds banded (58) and in the diversity of birds encountered (70 spp).

Early on, despite a temperature of only 8 degrees, it was humid and felt like it was going to rain – there was even a red sky to take warning from. It seemed to heat up quickly at which point it became very muggy. The first sign that things were different was a group of Gray Catbirds that decided they would be the first to throw themselves into the net and got an early start on it. After that there was just a steady flow with interesting variety: firsts for the year included Least Flycatcher, Blackburnian Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, and Canada Warbler. Altogether we banded 23 species and handled (banded and retrapped) 29 spp. This made for an interesting day, not only for us, but also for the 20 or so school kids from Hagersville.

Another positive note was the return of the Purple Martins. I thought we had lost them due to the cold, wet weather but there were 5 (3 males/2 females) around all morning and making a heck of a racket. I really feel they’re here to stay. When the weather turned bad, I think they must have left the roost to hunt for food wherever they could find it – joining the 1000’s of swallows cruising the river.

Banded 58:
1 Least Flycatcher
1 House Wren
3 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Wood Thrush
7 Gray Catbirds
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Nashville Warbler
9 Yellow Warblers
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
2 Magnolia Warblers
6 Myrtle Warblers
1 Blackburnian Warbler
2 Black & White Warblers
3 Northern Waterthrushes
2 Common Yellowthroats
1 Canada Warbler
1 Scarlet Tanager (a gorgeous adult male!)
4 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (all in the same net at the same time….ouch!)
1 Song Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
2 Red-winged Blackbirds
4 Baltimore Orioles
2 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 25:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Gray Catbird
1 Nashville Warbler
2 Yellow Warblers
7 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
5 Chipping Sparrows
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
4 Baltimore Orioles
1 Orchard Oriole

ET’s: 70 spp.


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