September 26th – Mac Attack!

A group…no two groups of McMaster students descended upon Ruthven this morning. The 3rd year Biodiversity students had actually come out last night and slept over in the Coach House so that they could get up at the crack of dawn to help us open the nets. I say “us” here because, believe it or not, Christine actually arrived before I did – a Season first (and probably one and only). Then the 2nd year Ecology (?) class arrived to see what was going on. So the place was abuzz with about 40 visitors all wanting to get first hand experience in birding and banding. It was a lot of fun because they were keen and a lot of fun. I think there’s some future field researchers there.

Interestingly, the birds fluctuated with the cloud cover. At first light we had 8/10ths cloud overhead (beautifully tinged with red/pink – with the sailors taking warning) and our first round produced a good harvest of birds. Then the skies cleared and we had a net round with NO(!) birds – very strange for this time of year. And then, just after the students left, it clouded over again and we began to pull birds out of the nets again. Strange.

New birds for the Season were Winter Wren, Lincoln’s Sparrow, (both species banded), and 4 Common Mergansers flying over the River.

We were helped out today with the arrival of Peter Thoem – who has maintained the long tradition of initiating Mac students in the art of bird censusing. As well, Dr. Oliver Love from the University of Windsor and co-founder with me of C.R.A.P. (Centre for Research in Arctic Passerines) arrived to do some banding and to razz the Mac students about not going to Windsor…..And then Irene Schmidt, now pushing 90 and still going strong, made an appearance. It was a good day.

Banded 48:
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 Winter Wrens
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
3 Gray-cheeked Thrushes
1 Hermit Thrush
2 Gray Catbirds
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Tennessee Warbler
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
2 Blackpoll Warblers
2 Lincoln’s Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
7 White-throated Sparrows
19 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 15:
2 Eastern Tufted Titmice
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
1 House Wren
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
3 Song Sparrows
4 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 48 spp.


A few pictures of this morning’s sunrise taken by our early riser, Christine.



Sunrise 2

Sunrise 2

One thought on “September 26th – Mac Attack!

  1. Man, Christine, Rick really rags on you about getting there early! Geeze. You should ask Rick about his famous ability to “power-nap” at the eider banding nets or the way his snoring reverberates the walls of the sleeping cabin to within inches of collapse at East Bay. : )

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