October 24th – Slowing Down

The first Northern Saw-whet Owl of the season. An older female. -DOL

#2 – a Hatch Year Female -DOL

Today actually started last night. I decided to put fatigue aside and head out to the Farm to see if I could catch Northern-Saw-whet Owls there. Turns out….I could. Of course they didn’t show up until the 2nd and 3rd net checks at 10:30 and 11:20. Still, these wonderful little raptors make it all worthwhile. And as an added bonus I heard the whinnying of an Eastern Screech Owl in the distance. (I’m glad it was in the distance as they will try to predate a Saw-whet when it’s in the net.)

I was back at it around 7:30 this morning. In the meantime a SW wind had picked up and proceeded to billow a number of the nets and fill them with leaves. So….we put in a solid 3 and a half hours and then closed up. Despite the wind, it was quite apparent that there had been a significant exodus. The Sparrow Field simply wasn’t as busy as it had been over the past 2 weeks. In fact, Net 4A – placed along the interface between field and edge and a big catcher – did not see a single bird today. Even so we managed to band 33 birds (further swelling our sparrow numbers) and handled a large number (23) of retraps – birds we had banded previously. One interesting arrival was the American Tree Sparrow. This species, even more than a junco, for me signals the end of the migration and the onset of Winter. [I’ll bet it will be pretty confused when it runs into the warm/hot temperatures forecast for this weekend….as was I when I found it the net.]

Note the distinctive 2-toned bill of the American Tree Sparrow – the first one of the season for us. -DOL

Banded 33:
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Carolina Wren

Male House Finch. -AC

2 House Finches
2 Field Sparrows
2 American Tree Sparrows
2 White-throated Sparrows
12 Song Sparrows
9 Swamp Sparrows
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Northern Cardinal

Handsome male Northern Cardinal. -AC


Leave a Reply