Myrtle-Mania and Merlinicious.
On the 23rd we had a slow day of banding with few birds banded but an awesome surprise. We banded an adult male Merlin as characterized by uniform beautiful blue plumage. The Merlins are being very active now flying around Wingfield Cottage all morning and all afternoon making our day very merliny. Aside from the merlin we also banded 2 adult male Sharp-shinned Hawks! Lots of kinglets are still around mainly Ruby-Crowned Kinglets but also a few Golden-Crowned Kinglets. 41 Pine Siskins in multiple flocks throughout the day were observed as well. The Basin was quite quiet but the usual Common Mergansers and Double-Crested Cormorants were around as well as a lonely female Bufflehead.
On the 24th we were unable to band all morning due to cold temperatures and a mix of snow and rain all morning not to mention blistering North winds. Census was slow due to the high winds the highlights being Northern Harrier and a pair of Bald Eagles flying around the basin. There wasn’t much flying around due to the cold and the wind. Although in the evening Horned Grebe, Red-Necked Grebe and White-Winged Scoter were observed on Georgian Bay and a single male Northern Shoveler was seen flying into the basin and briefly stayed before flying off.
The 25th was are best yet day for both banding and birding in terms of numbers and diversity. We banded 40 individuals of 8 bird species including Brown Creeper, Golden-Crowned Kinglet, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, American Tree Sparrow, White-Throated Sparrow, Slate-Coloured Junco and many Myrtle Warblers. We found ourselves in myrtle-mania as hoards of Myrtle Warblers flew around the thickets of Choke Cherries at Cabot Head. One flock hit the net A1 and ended up being half our catch for the day! Also an American Tree Sparrow was banded most likely the last we’ll see this spring a pleasant surprise though a little out of place alongside the Myrtle Warblers. Census produced 33 species including: Rusty Blackbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Osprey and Purple Finch. Waterfowl include Red-Necked Grebe, Horned Grebe, Common Merganser, Red-Breasted Merganser and Long-Tailed Duck. Not only a great day for birding but also a beautiful day in general with the temperatures rising and the sun shining!