May 17th – The Days We Wait For…And Cherish

Male Blackburnian Warbler – one of North America’s most beautiful birds. -KMP

These are the days that birders think about all year in anticipation – when the long distance migrants, especially those warblers in “alternate” or breeding plumage, pass through. Well, they’re upon us and, at Ruthven, today was the day. We’ve been banding good numbers in the last couple of days; yesterday’s 57 was the highest total so far but included only 5 species of warblers. On the day we encountered 68 species of birds. But during the night there was a massive influx at Ruthven. We ended up banding 98 birds including 13 warbler species (we encountered 18 warbler species altogether). And our species count for the morning was a very respectable 84!!

But yesterday would have to be “oriole day” – we banded 19; however, today was close, as we hit 18. The jam/jelly feeder is drawing them like a moth to a flame. Our Baltimore Oriole banding total this Spring is 61, 2nd only to last year’s record 117.But we also got 12 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks today – my fingers will attest to it. We were on the go right out of the blocks and when the nets were finally closed we had that wonderful feeling of a job well done (and just a little bit of: “Damn! just 2 more birds and we would have hit 100!).

Banded 98:
2 Least Flycatchers
4 House Wrens

House Wren on a singing perch. -AG

1 Golden-crowned Kinglet (a VERY late one)
1 Veery (1st of the year)
7 Swainson’s Thrushes (1st of the year)
7 Gray Catbirds
3 Blue-winged Warblers
1 Tennessee Warbler
10 Nashville Warblers
1 Northern Parula

Beautiful little bird – male Northern Parula. -AG

6 Yellow Warblers
2 Chestnut-sided Warblers
2 Magnolia Warblers
2 Myrtle Warblers
2 Black-throated Green Warblers
1 Black & White Warbler

The white throat indicates this Black & White Warbler is a female. -AG

1 American Redstart
1 Northern Waterthrush
6 Common Yellowthroats
12 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
18 Baltimore Orioles

Female Baltimore Oriole. -AG

1 Orchard Oriole
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 84 spp.
Photos (All taken within the HSA – Hamilton Study Area):

Common Tern.. -AG

Male (left) and female Long-tail Ducks taking wing. -AG

Ovenbird. -AG

Male (black head) Red-breasted Nuthatch. I’m not sure why but we rarely see them at Ruthven. -AG

Warbling Vireo. -AG

Common Mergansers can still be seen on the river. -KMP

5 male Indigo Buntings foraging together. A small migrating flock?? -KMP

Probably a young (second year) male Indigo Bunting. -KMP

Red Admiral. -KMP

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird. -KMP

Two Spotted Sandpipers on the small gravel spit just upstream from Slink Island. Sadly, there’s a can at the head of the bar. -MMG

Those two Spotted Sandpipers. The one on the left is displaying to the other. -KMP

Male Cape May Warblers love the spruce trees in the front of the Mansion. -MMG

Female Cape May Warbler – pretty drab in comparison to the male. -MMG

This male Cape May warbler is checking out some oranges – set out for orioles. -KV

And then plunges in!! -KV

The micro-wetland just behind the Mansion is home to tadpoles. -KMP

Marnie and Karen watched this Bald Eagle harass an Osprey to the point where it dropped the fish it was carrying. The eagle plunged down and, upside down, caught the fish before it landed! -MMG

This Trumpeter Swan decided to swell the census numbers by flying up and down the river. -MMG


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