October 10th – What You Can Conjure Up

A heavy fog pervaded the meadows and ghosted the trees. Everything was wet. I moved quietly toward the first net lane (9A) to unfurl the net and as I did so I could almost feel….something. I stopped to listen. Ah…only a distant Great Horned Owl. But beyond that….faint howling. My mind jumped to distant moors and the insidious Hound of the Baskervilles. It was the right setting….but, on closer attention, proved to be just a dog on the other side of the river telling its master it was time to be fed. Time to get on with the rest of the nets.

Brilliant male Red-bellied Woodpecker/                  -T. Stirr

Brilliant male Red-bellied Woodpecker/ -T. Stirr

It was a bit of a slow start as the birds seemed to be waiting for the sun to burn off the fog and heat things up. We didn’t see any Cedar Waxwings until well into the morning. But then we saw a LOT of them: flocks of up to 100 birds wheeled about the grounds, with some alighting in the treetops looking for grape clusters. They wouldn’t be disappointed. With the leaves largely gone the clusters are quite visible and ubiquitous – a bonanza for any fruit-eating bird.
One of our recently-banded Cedar Waxwings.              -T. Stirr

One of our recently-banded Cedar Waxwings. -T. Stirr

Again, we caught more birds in the second half of the day than in the first, banding 98, almost half of which (47) were waxwings.

Banded 98:
1 Blue Jay
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
5 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
1 Hermit Thrush
47 Cedar Waxwings
24 Myrtle Warblers
1 Field Sparrow
6 Song Sparrows
9 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 38 spp.

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