Migration Monitoring – Sept 20th-23rd, 2007 with pictures from the Sept 23rd and 15th

September 23rd
It was banding by committee today: by the time I arrived, Brian and Faye had the nets open and the first (fairly big) round well on the way to being banded and Peter Thoem had started the census. Which left me with…..cleaning up the banding lab and banding the odd bird here and there. It was a perfect day weather-wise and showed great promise early but the birds petered out as the sun got higher (except for a magnificent adult Bald Eagle that circled low over the Mansion just as I was leaving). Having some extra hands around today made it possible for us to replace a couple of nets that had some sizeable holes in them.

The long-distance neotropical migrants seem to be winding down now (although the Cape May Warbler – a first for the season – was a bonus) and are being replaced by shorter distance migrants; e.g., White-throated Sparrows – and we also had our first Winter Wren and Hermit Thrush of the Fall.

We passed the 1,000 bird mark for the Fall season today!

Banded 45:
2 Blue Jays
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Winter Wren
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Swainson’s Thrushes
1 Hermit Thrush
1 American Robin
4 Gray Catbirds
2 European Starlings
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Cape May Warbler
3 Common Yellowthroats
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Song Sparrow
2 Swamp Sparrows
6 White-throated Sparrows
13 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 17:
6 Black-capped Chickadees
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
2 Gray Catbirds
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Song Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrows
1 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 53 Species


A few pictures from today, contributed by Faye Socholotiuk:

The Cape May Warbler from today. These birds spend their winters almost exclusively in the West Indies. The next month for this bird will certainly be a strenuous one!


Faye watching birds…or posing?

Rick Ludkin, the head bander. Like the Cape May Warbler, Rick likes to spend his winters in the West Indies, although his choice of winter habitat may be less predictable than that of the Cape May.

Burlington city councillor Peter Thoem helping out with the banding operation.
September 22nd
Very windy this morning, which discouraged the opening of all but the most sheltered nets.

For the most part a quiet day (except for the whistling of wind through the trees and the serenade of frequent and rapid shotgun blasts), but an American Bittern was chased up from the river flats during census. This is the first record of the species this year at the park.

Banded: 17
American Redstart 1
Magnolia Warbler 1
Philadelphia Vireo 1
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Swainson’s Thrush 1
White-Throated Sparrow 7
Song Sparrow 1
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Blue Jay 2

Retrapped: 1
Grey Catbird 1

September 21st

Dense fog blanketed the area until 9:00am making the spotting of birds rather difficult. Through the mist however, there were many tantalizing calls and migrants seemed numerous.

The first couple of net rounds yielded some decent numbers, but once the fog burned off the temperatures increased substantially and birds stopped moving.

Many White-Throated Sparrows were in evidence, and the season’s first Veery and Slate-Coloured Juncos were recorded.

Today also marked the arrival of the 500th visitor to the banding station at Ruthven Park in 2007.

Banded: 44
Tennessee Warbler 1
American Goldfinch 11
Magnolia Warbler 2
Philadelphia Vireo 1
Black-Capped Chickadee 1
House Wren 1
Common Yellowthroat 2
Least Flycatcher 1
Black-Throated Blue Warbler 1
Swainson’s Thrush 2
White-Throated Sparrow 13
Grey-Cheeked Thrush 2
Song Sparrow 2
White-Breasted Nuthatch 1
Grey Catbird 1
Blue Jay 2

Retrapped: 10
American Goldfinch 3
Black-Capped Chickadee 2
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Red-Eyed Vireo 1 (banded last Saturday, it has put on 5.3g since!)
Scarlet Tanager 2
White-Breasted Nuthatch 1


September 20th

Venus lit up the eastern sky, shining the way for Orion in his pursuit of the Pleiades across the sky. Beneath the stars you could hear the call notes of a variety of birds as they winged their way south. When dawn broke however, there didn’t seem to be a lot of activity along the edges. Still the nets were busy – especially with American Goldfinches. Where do they all come from? And how do they show up at our feeders (and in our nets)?

Banded 64:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 House Wren
2 Gray-cheeked Thrushes
3 Swainson’s Thrushes
1 Gray Catbird
2 Philadelphia Vireos
3 Red-eyed Vireos
2 Tennessee Warblers
3 Nashville Warblers
2 Magnolia warblers
1 Blackpoll Warbler
2 Common Yellowthroats
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
33 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 19:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
4 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Magnolia Warbler
7 Blackpoll Warblers (all these birds have put on weight – one put on 2.4 g. since the 12th)
1 Black& White Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Purple Finch
2 American Goldfinches


Here are a few pictures from Saturday September 15th:

This picture appeared in the Hamilton Spectator’s ‘eye on the area’ feature on Saturday the 22nd. It appeared with the following caption:
This is just one of over 100 Blackpoll Warblers banded at Ruthven Park Banding Station near Cayuga in the past 2 weeks. These small birds, that breed in Canada’s boreal forest, will fly to the northeastern states to fatten up and then cross the Atlantic Ocean to Brazil in a flight that lasts up to 84 hours!

Jeff MacLeod deciding how to remove a Grey Catbird from a mist net.

A female Northern Flicker (the yellow shafted sort, as is readily apparent in this photo). If this bird were male, it would be sporting a ‘moustache’ on the lower part of its ‘cheek.’

A trapped Rose-breasted Grosbeak, waiting to tear a piece off a bander.

Two female Scarlet Tanagers. Five Scarlet Tanagers were banded last Saturday, pushing Ruthven’s total for this fall to 14, well ahead of the previous high of 10. These birds will be making their way to northwest South America over the next while, and will spend their winter there.

A Banded Garden Spider. Picture taken by Scott MacLeod.

A Chestnut-sided Warbler. This bird will move south to Central America for the winter.

A Blackburnian Warbler. This bird may move as far south as Ecuador or Peru over the next few months.

A Philadelphia Vireo. This bird will head towards Central America over the next few weeks, and may end up somewhere around Panama by early October.

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