May 18th, 2008 The Wisdom of Old Adages

Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. The sunrise was breathtaking – brilliant reds and oranges painting the clouds. So, being sailors (or at least Matt is), we knew that rain couldn’t be far behind. It started at 9:40…but before that we were able to catch some pretty interesting birds, including the first Golden-winged Warbler of the year (and the first we’ve encountered for a couple of years). I started banding in the 80’s because I was interested in this bird. At that time they were relatively common on the edges of the slough forest. However, with the expansion of the range of the Blue-winged Warbler, with which they hybridize, the Golden-wings have not done well and their range has been pushed north. Blue-wings are more of a “generalist” capable of taking advantage of a wider range of successional habitats and thus able to out-compete the Golden-wings. Now, Blue-winged Warblers are relatively common and we often get their main hybrid, the Brewster’s Warbler, but we rarely see the Golden-wings any more. Too bad, they’re a really beautiful bird. [As a side note, several years ago I saw a beautiful male Golden-wing along the edge of a cloud forest high in the mountains of Costa Rica. It was both odd and satisfying to see this bird, which I associate with “our” Spring, on its wintering ground.]

There were a couple of mosquitoes around today – made me feel like those ancient Romans must have felt when they saw the occasional scout from a Hun raiding party and knew that the hordes weren’t far behind…..

Banded 34:
2 Blue Jays
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
1 Swainson’s Thrush
5 Gray Catbirds
4 Tennessee Warblers
1 Golden-winged Warbler
9 Yellow Warblers
2 Chestnut-sided Warblers
2 Magnolia Warblers
1 Yellow-rumped Warbler
1 Wilson’s Warbler
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
2 Indigo Buntings
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 19:
1 House Wren
4 Yellow Warblers
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
4 Brown-headed Cowbirds
1 Orchard Oriole
5 Baltimore Orioles

ET’s: 58 speciesRick

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