May 23rd – Winding Down

A treat for a treat; This Mourning Warbler quickly gobbled down the proffered fly. -NCO

As we near the end of the season, we start to get fewer and fewer species of birds. As Sam would say, “When the Backpoll comes, it’s all over.” And that’s exactly what happened. Much to our discomfort, instead of warming up with the arrival of late May, a cool morning met our bare fingers with an icy greeting.

To start the day off on a terrible note, we all noticed that Liam had forgotten to bring his usual baked goods from Amy. While we were bickering about cookies and muffins, a Loon call sounded above, and we were treated to a view of two Common Loons in their beautiful breeding plumage.

A few gems came our way today, including two stunning unbanded Mourning warblers and both a Black-throated blue & green warbler. (at times it came to a random draw to decide who got to band them) Finding a small inchworm on Rick’s pants gave us an idea: why not try and feed it to a bird? So when a Chestnut-sided warbler ended up in our nets, it was served a juicy inch worm on a platter, and to our shock, gobbled it up. Liam and I then continued to catch no less than 5 flies with Liam’s butterfly net, and fed one to one of our Mourning Warblers as a little thank-you gift. (see picture above)

The hottest new fashion was tried on today; Vireo earrings. Liam tried on two different earrings, but none of them managed to hold on long enough. If you’re interested in seeing the final look, take a peek at the picture below. [I’ve actually seen this done – at a banding station in Alabama – two vireos got a firm hold and wound NOT let go! -the Editor]

Red-eyed Vireos have been known to grip and hang on providing one with “different” ear-rings. NCO

We found many activities to keep us busy in between net rounds. These included everything from Garlic Mustard weeding competitions, to bean tossing games. The football Ben keeps at the station kept him, Sam, Liam and I busy for a while too.

One of our oldest, and most loyal members here at the Lowville banding station, unfortunately suffered a terrible accident today. The old, but steady white plastic lawn chair suffered from three major broken bones, and less than appropriate health care didn’t suffice to save them. If anyone would like to pay their respects by replacing our fellow guardian of the tired body, feel free to bring along a (functioning & weather-proof) chair of any kind.

Banded 28:
1 Rose-Breasted grosbeak

A young (in its 2nd year) male Rose-breasted Grosbeak; Note the brown juvenile flight feathers – in older birds these would be black. -NC)

4 Chestnuts-sided warbler
1 Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler. -NCO

1 Black-throated blue Warbler
1 American Redstart
2 Yellow bellied Flycatcher
1 Blackburnian
1 Tennessee Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Common Yellowthroat
2 Mourning warbler

Female Mourning Warbler. -SGS

1 Song Sparrow
1 Black capped chickadee
3 Indigo Bunting

Stunning male Indigo Bunting. -SGS

2 Red eyed vireo
1 Gray catbird
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Baltimore Oriole
1 American Goldfinch

1 Rose Breasted Grosbeak
1 Indigo Bunting
2 Common Yellowthroat
1 Gray Catbird
3 Song Sparrow
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Baltimore Oriole
1 Black capped chickadee
1 Magnolia Warbler

It was a nice day for just sitting in the sun…..and learning about plumage characteristics. -NCO

We’re collecting central tail feathers for a study out of the University of Saskatchewan. -NCO

That young male grosbeak preparing to take off. -NCO

Nola O’Neil

One thought on “May 23rd – Winding Down

  1. A beautifully written spring migration farewell address. Not so sure about the Vireo earrings fashion….could be hard to scale up for mass marketing.

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