September 27th – Rain at Last

Yesterday we closed down the nets just before it began to rain. It rained on and off for the rest of the day and into the night, our rain gauge showing 12.5 mm of the stuff having fallen by the time I went to open this morning. This is the first measureable rainfall this September.
It was almost….peaceful this morning after yesterday’s hustle and bustle; 36 keen students are a lot to accomodate. At opening there was no wind, just the sound of my footsteps and the whine of the occasional mosquito taking advantage of the warm temperatures accompanying the low pressure system to hunt down a blood meal with which to produce eggs and ensure that her gene pool would continue next year. I did not want to be part of that particular great circle of life and, so, swatted away with impunity.
The first half of the morning was quite threatening and we even got a couple of very brief light showers – mostly when I was doing the census. And since it was raining then, the census was pretty sparse (22 species). However, as the morning progressed the wind picked up and veered into the West clearing some of the heavy cloud from the sky. As it was already warm, it wasn’t long before thermals began to build and raptors began to take advantage of them. In the course of half an hour several small groups of Turkey Vultures, an immature Bald Eagle, 3 or 4 Red-tailed Hawks, 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks and a Cooper’s Hawk drifted by. I first noticed a Sharp-shinned and the Cooper’s when a flock of American Robins and another of Cedar Waxwings took off from perches high in the trees along the river. They were a little paniced by the antics of the 2 birds – the Cooper’s appeared to be chasing the Sharp-shinned. Their aerial gyrations were wonderful to see. The Cooper’s, unsuccessful, went back to climbing a thermal and the (relieved) Sharp-shinned disappeared into the forest – maybe chasing down his own meal….instead of being one.
Bird capture was slow but steady and included a couple of intersting birds: an ASY male American Redstart was probably the best. Goldfinches continue to frequent the feeders. We banded 18 new ones but had only 3 recaptures of already-banded birds. Where are the banded birds going?

Banded 41:
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
3 Brown Creepers
2 Swainson’s Thrushes
2 Gray Catbirds
1 Yellow-rumped Warbler
3 Blackpoll Warblers
2 American Redstarts
2 Song Sparrows
6 White-throated Sparrows
18 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 23:
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
9 Black-capped Chickadees
6 White-breasted Nuthatches
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Song Sparrow
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 42 spp.


Leave a Reply