October 7th – Starry Triangles

I started the day off with the stars of the “Winter Triangle” (Betelgeuse, Sirius, and is it Pollux or Castor?….one of the twins, anyway) blazing overhead. And, fittingly, I am ending the day with the stars of the “Summer Triangle” (Vega, Deneb, and Altair) blazing just as brightly (but backed up with the Milky Way running southwestward through Sagittarius). What wonderful bookends to the day!

This morning I was opening nets for the day’s migration monitoring efforts. The wind was already a factor blowing out of the WNW and I wondered how the day would go. Weatherwise it was exquisite – blue skies studded with cumulus clouds. The sort of weather that is anathema to catching birds here, but…not so today. We still managed to haul in 91 birds (69 banded and 22 retraps). This was great news for the class of kids we had visiting as they all had lots of opportunity to see birds up close. Today kinglets were in order and we had just about equal numbers of each: 16 Golden-crowned and 15 Ruby-crowned. Interestingly, and building on yesterday’s comment, we had only one American Goldfinch(?). I would like to know what’s happening there. Another thing that is becoming quite noticeable is the reduction in the variety of birds we’re encountering. In September, it wouldn’t be unusual to see or hear 60 species in the course of the morning. Today, even with a careful census, we had only 40 species. And only one species of warbler – Myrtle. We did band our first Fox Sparrow of the season though – always a treat.

Tonight I am helping Nancy with her experiment: she is convinced that with perseverance (and a lure tape), she can will Saw-whet Owls into our nets. This is her third night out scattered over a week and so far no luck, but one of these days……Fortunately the heavens are breathtaking.

Banded 69:
3 Mourning Doves
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Brown Creeper
16 Golden-crowned Kinglets
15 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
5 Hermit Thrushes
2 Cedar Waxwings
1 Myrtle Warbler
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Fox Sparrow
4 Song Sparrows
3 Swamp Sparrows
5 White-throated Sparrows
7 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 House Finch
1 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 22:1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Carolina Wren
6 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
4 Hermit Thrushes
1 Myrtle Warbler
1 Song Sparrow
3 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
4 Dark-eyed Juncos

ET’s: 40 spp.

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