A week of Storms…
In the nine days from September 8th to 16th, four banding days were lost to strong wind and/or rain. The wind came almost from all points of the compass, striking us from the North, South, East, or West in equal fury, bringing with it rain for two days in a row.
As you may well imagine, the stormy conditions did not help the number of birds in our nets. Indeed, only 37 birds were banded during the week of September 6 – 12; the second lowest total on record for this second week of the month. Also indicative of the quiet fall, the seasonal total up to September 12 is now the lowest ever compared to the previous 17 seasons.
Among the few highlights, we were treated to a few Cape May Warblers in the trees and the nets over several days, and to two beautiful young male Northern Parulas and a Philadelphia Vireo in the nets, as well as a Warbling Vireo observed on census, all on September 16.
The most impressive bird was, without contest, a leucistic Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which frequented our feeders for a couple of days. Not fully albino, it had a black eye, white underparts, and light rufous or beige upperparts! (Leucism is a genetic condition in which there is a partial loss of pigmentation due to a lack of melanin producing cells, but with the eyes remain their normal colour, and some carotenoid-based colours – such as yellows and oranges – remaining, though often looking washed out or faded).
It was also delightful to watch two River Otters fishing for Crayfish near the shipwreck early one morning, as it was to safely observe a Black Bear searching for berries on the other side of Wingfield Basin.
Despite a paucity of birds, there is always something to enjoy at Cabot Head: the full moon bathing Wingfield Basin in golden lights as it rises up in a cloudless sky; two Common Loons emerging from the fog, flying low over the trees; or a Massassauga Rattlesnake kindly warning us of its presence underneath a net by rattling its namesake rattle.
by Stephane Menu