May 17th, 2008 Wind Assisted Loon

It was windy right from the getgo and only picked up with the ascendance of the sun. It was out of the South and quite blustery – much to the liking of a Common Loon that was headed due North, at a very great speed, I might add. The bird was only visible for about 15-20 seconds from the time it came into view high over the cemetery until it disappeared up river. We often conjecture about how many loons go over unnoticed because we are in the lab processing birds. We also toy with the idea that groups of them circle just above the horizon until they see us enter the lab with an arm full of birds and then go streaming by en masse. But how would you know!? When I get old and decrepit (or maybe older and more decrepit), I think I will take on the roll of “loon watcher” – I’ll have my nurse wheel me into the centre of the parking lot where my sole function will be to count the birds going over. It’s good to be useful…..

The wind presaged the rain. Dark rolls moved in from the West and we encountered showers on and off throughout the morning. Now, with all my talk in earlier notes about how unsettled weather brings good banding to Ruthven, you would think this would have been a banner day…..but it wasn’t. There were very few “new” migrants about. The Grosbeaks and Orioles that have arrived were VERY noticeable but migrants that were new to the area were few and far between – although I did hear the first Eastern Peewee of the year. For the most part, birds were hunkered down, getting out of the weather.

Matt Searle was back again and this time had his Mom (Pattie) and little sister (Grace) along. Both were keen to learn and help out – and Mom is a much more legible printer than Matt, I must say. I thought Matt’s line said it all: “See Mom, all that money you invested in my education was worth it after all….” I don’t think she was buying it……

Banded 23:
1 Least Flycatcher
3 Gray Catbirds
1 Tennessee Warbler
3 Yellow Warblers
1 Magnolia Warbler
2 Common Yellowthroats
4 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Field Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
1 Red-winged Blackbird
1 Common Grackle
1 Northern (Baltimore) Oriole
1 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 23:
1 House Wren
1 Gray Catbird
7 Yellow Warblers
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Indigo Bunting
2 Song Sparrows
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
7 Northern Orioles

ET’s: 54 species

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