May 19th, 2008

One of the dangers of driving to Ruthven before dawn was highlighted today as I arrived at the Gate House to find the OPP attending to a woman who had hit a deer with her minivan. She seemed alright (no word on the deer) other than being understandably shaken up. Deer are common along Hwy #54 so please pay attention when you are driving along this route as they can spring up onto the road with very little warning, Grilled venison may be tasty, but can be very expensive.

Today can be summed up by the words windy, cold, and wet. The cold wind, with wind chill well below 0C degrees, restricted netting to those sited in sheltered locations. Few birds were observed moving around and the rain that started mid-morning ended play.

Of note were the large numbers of swallows foraging over the surface of the river, including the season’s first Cliff Swallows. Otherwise things were fairly quiet.

53 species were recorded.

Nashville Warbler 2
American Goldfinch 1
Magnolia Warbler 1
Black-Throated Green Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 3
House Wren 1
Common Yellowthroat 2
Chipping Sparrow 1
Lincoln’s Sparrow 1
Indigo Bunting 2
Brown-Headed Cowbird 1 (what? we haven’t banded all of them yet?)
Eastern Tufted Titmouse 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Grey Catbird 2
Wood Thrush 1
Baltimore Oriole 1
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 1
American Robin 1
Common Grackle 1

Retrapped: 20
Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Chipping Sparrow 2
Tennessee Warbler 1
Song Sparrow 1
Brown-Headed Cowbird 8
Baltimore Oriole 5
Blue Jay 1


One thought on “May 19th, 2008

  1. The “swallows over the river” was quite an extensive affair. In the mid-afternoon there were swallows ranging from Ruthven all the way up to York (~5 km north) with heavy concentrations over the fast water by the islands and over the freshly tilled fields in the lee of the trees bordering the river next to these islands. The most common 3 were: Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows, and Bank Swallows with occasional Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Cliff Swallows, Purple Martins and even a few Chimney Swifts. In all, there must have been one to two thousand spread out in that stretch. Most of the birds over the river were feeding low, picking insects off just above the surface. Those over the tilled fields were somewhat higher. I’m not sure what insects would be emerging at this time. Chironomids?

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