Migration and Spring Returns to Cabot Head
Cabot Head Research Station has opened once again on time although spring was slow in returning. Due to slight technical difficulties the blog is slightly late, please forgive my tardiness. The first of migration monitoring began on April 15th, a windy day and thus we were set most of our mist-nets. We banded 15 or so birds of 3 species. All of the usual suspects are around wintering birds such as Slate-coloured Juncos and American Tree Sparrows as well as early migrants including: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Rub-crowned Kinglet, American Robin and Eastern Meadowlark. The finches are still around with many Common Redpolls flying about as well as Pine Siskins, White-winged Crossbills seen several days and Red Crossbills seen on the 16th. Hawks were on the move on the 15th with Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, Merlins and Red-tailed Hawks flying by. 3 Peregrine Falcons were seen during census on the 16th as well as 5 American Kestrels, 2 Northern Harriers and at least 3 Bald Eagles. American Woodcocks have been busy displaying on the lawn around the station and the open areas of the basin and the Pine Barrens. The 16th was also windy so few nets were up and as such we caught only a few birds. 6 Green-winged Teal were seen as well as many Ring-necked Duck, Mallard, Bufflehead, Common, Red-breasted and Hooded Merganser, as well as Great Blue Heron. A sunny morning on the 17th allowed for some normal banding hours but winds from the north-east prevented any bird movements the night before. We banded Song Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Slate-coloured Junco, Golden-crowned Kinglet and Eastern Phoebe. 96 Turkey Vultures were observed as well as a Hermit Thrush. After a short expedition into a swamp it was found that the local pair of Bald Eagles are going to nest this year and are currently sitting eggs. The Eagles have been very active and volunteers had a chance to watch one of the Eagles dive into the water and fly out with a male Red-breasted Merganser and subsequently pluck it then fly it to its mate. The Merlins are once again nesting close by and are starting to mate. The 18th, 19th and 20th were are all bad weather with moderate winds rain and snow so nets could not be set at all in that period. A Wilson’s Snipe was seen on the 19th and 6 American Widgeon were seen on the 18th. The 20th was BPBO’s Annual General Meeting, with snow the turnout was low but several people were able to drive to the Dyer’s Bay Road to see 12 species of ducks as well as many other species. The 21st was a very nice day indeed after the poor weather the days before we were able to run nets. We banded American Robin, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet and our first Sharp-shinned Hawk. On the 22nd South winds brought up our first big push of migrants with many Golden-crowned Kinglets, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creepers, Black-capped Chickadees, White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrow and Slate-coloured Juncos banded with a total of 54 birds. A wild Turkey was seen as well as 65 Northern Flickers, 2 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, 17 Sandhill Cranes and 300 Canada Geese. Golden-crowned Kinglets were the bird of the days with over 200 detected in the area. On the 23rd the same conditions produced similar results to the previous day, with 40 birds of 10 species. Ruby-crowned Kinglets were the bird of the day with more than 300 moving through and there were Golden-crowned Kinglets but in much lower numbers than previous days. 13 Eastern phoebes were seen at one time and the first Rough-legged Hawk was also seen. Red-necked Grebe, Common Loon and Long-tailed Duck were seen. 4 warbler species were detected with Myrtle Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler banded and Western Palm Warbler and Pine Warbler observed. The 24th was rainy and snowy so not nets were set. 6 Pied-billed Grebes hung out for the day as well as 2 Horned Grebes, and a Lesser Scaup. Great-horned Owl, Wilson’s Snipe and 8 Horned Lark were also seen and Song, Savannah, White-throated, Chipping and American Tree Sparrow. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy again but the following 5 days are to be nice and sunny so migration will continue.