September 15th – Examining an Old Saying

“Red sky at night, sailors’ delight.
Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”
So what do sailors think if the morning consists of light gray clouds tinged with pink and orange drifting by a waning crescent moon high in a deep blue sky, pushed by a light, cool northerly breeze? Well I dont know what the sailors thought but I know that the birds were loving it. At first light there was a big flurry of activity in the trees surrounding the Mansion as the birds woke up and headed out for a day of foraging (or came to ground after a night of flying).

Although we did not band a large number (43) we had really good variety on the site, encountering 58 species altogether. Six of these were raptors taking advantage of the northerly breezes and the thermals that emerged later in the morning as the intense sun heated up the land. We rarely see Broad-winged Hawks but we had several today along with Turkey Vultures, Osprey, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper’s Hawk and Red-tails. Raptors weren’t the only species taking advantage of the weather to move south – we had substantial numbers of Double-crested Cormorants, high-flying Canada Geese (as opposed to the low-flying local geese) and even the first Common Loon of the Fall season. Other season firsts included a Brown Creeper and a couple of White-throated Sparrows.

Banded 43:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Brown Creeper
1 House Wren
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
5 Swainson’s Thrushes
6 Gray Catbirds
2 Philadelphia Vireos
3 Red-eyed Vireos
5 Nashville Warblers
1 Chesnut-sided Warbler
3 Magnolia Warblers
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
1 Bay-breasted Warbler
1 Blackpoll warbler
2 Ovenbirds
1 Common Yellowthroat
2 Chipping Sparrows
2 White-throated Sparrows
1 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 9:
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Swainson’s Thrush
4 Magnolia Warblers
3 Chipping Sparrows

ET’s: 58 spp.


Leave a Reply