May 8th – Blustery Conditions

Yesterday Loretta noted that it was a pleasure not to have any wind to deal with. The pleasure did not continue into today. Last night there were violent thunderstorms which dropped over a centimetre of rain swelling the brook along the Carolinian Trail. It didn’t finish there. When I arrived early this morning, the wind was already up a little and there was a light drizzle. Over the next couple of hours the wind (out of the WSW) continued to grow with gusts of well over 40 km/hour. We had a couple of light showers as well but then it really started to come down so we hustled to furl the nets and close up. Too bad, as there were a few new birds around: Cliff Swallow, Great Crested flycatcher, Swainson’s Thrush, and Blue-headed Vireo.
There was also a flight of migrating swallows over the river. In cold, windy weather swallows can often be found feeding low over the surface picking insects off the surface. (How do you count these things accurately!? Wind-blown by 40-km gusts they dashed one way, turned on a dime and dashed back the other. I was always second-guessing myself.) By very conservative count I had over 60 Barn Swallows and 30 Bank Swallows with a few Cliff Swallows mixed in. There were also a lot of Tree Swallows but it is hard to know if they are “new” or local breeding birds just out for a feed.
It was the Return of the Jedi this morning as two “old” banders returned to do some banding and shoot the breeze. Rhiannon Leshyk is just finishing off her Master’s studying stress in response to different logging methods in Algonquin Park and Jeff MacLeod took a break from his research project studying executive dysfunction in people with autism to brush up on his rusty skills. It was a pleasure to have them around (and it allowed me the luxury of doing a lengthy census without worrying about the nets).
Four Common Loons went over early this morning. They were heading due North…and then three turned to fly West – into the teeth of the wind(?).

Banded 13:
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Gray Catbird
1 Blue-headed Vireo
2 Blue-winged Warblers
4 Yellow Warblers
1 Black & White Warbler
1 Song Sparrow
2 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 8:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Song Sparrow
1 Baltimore Oriole
1 Orchard Oriole

ET’s: 56 spp.


One thought on “May 8th – Blustery Conditions

  1. It looks like a major flight of swallows got grounded by these conditions. All the way from Cayuga to York (and beyond heading toward Caledonia) there are literally 100’s, probably 1000’s, of swallows coursing low over the Grand River looking for emerging insects.

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