September 29th – Of Swallows and Sucker Holes

Blustery, changeable weather throughout the morning. Usually when the alarm clock goes off and I hear the wind blasting the wind chimes and rain pelting against the window I roll over and go back to bed, kissing the day off as a lost banding cause. But…..this morning Christine had booked in a class of kids from Brantford. (Does she do this out of some malevolence? I wonder…) So off I go. The rain stopped on the drive there but the wind continued to blow at Force 4/5. So we walked around and opened only those nets that had some protection from the wind.

There was NOT much going on so we opted for the census. Nancy felt this would be a good time as blue skies were starting to open up. A meteorologist friend of mine refers to these as “sucker holes” – you start thinking it’s going to clear and then it clouds over and rains again. And so it did – shortly after setting out a misty rain came down in brief intermittent showers. But this brought a surprise – a significant movement of swallows moving down the river keeping low over the water out of the wind and perhaps closer to insects emerging from the river. I estimated that at least 400 Tree Swallows and a handful of Northern Rough-winged Swallows were present during the census (and who knows how many when we were up above the river flats and couldn’t see them).

Later in the morning (fortunately when the kids were here) it partially cleared and we got some sunshine as the wind shifted to the Northwest. But this was just a HUGE sucker hole – by the time I left it had clouded over thickly and some rain pelted my car on the way home.

There were very few birds around, although we encountered 48 species. Two new ones for the Season were: Northern Pintails and Blue-winged Teal.

Banded 7:
2 Eastern Wood Pewees
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 6:
1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Gray Catbird (banded as a young bird in 2003)
1 Chipping Sparrow

ET’s: 48 spp.


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