The Week of the Warblers
Sorry for the long delays between blogs this season but I have had some trouble with the computer and the internet at the station. Being said the end of April was the time when birds began to pick up with some clear weather and south winds after the stretch of prolonged winter moved things through ahead of time with several species arriving up to a week or two earlier than the earliest arrival at the station.
April 25th was slow with hew nets used due to high winds. We banded Golden and Ruby Crowned Kinglets, Song Sparrow, Slate-coloured Junco and Black-Capped Chickadee. A single Pied-billed Grebe was floating on the basin with a Horned Grebe and a single Cooper’s Hawk flew by. Both Western Palm Warblers and Myrtle Warblers were seen during the morning.
On The 26th things picked up with light South-West winds and we banded 42 birds of 9 species. We banded our first banded Palm Warbler as well as Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Slate-coloured Junco, Brown Thrasher, both Kinglets, Brown Creeper, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Ring-necked Ducks have continued to sit on the basin this spring with at least one or two present almost every day. 3 White-winged Crossbills, 2 Common Goldeneye, Horned Grebe, Common Loon and Bald Eagle were all seen.
Winds continued on the 27th leaving only 2 of our nets useable and few birds captured. 2 Broad-winged and Red-tailed Hawks were observed as well as a Northern Harrier. Other highlights included 6 American Pipits, a Black-throated Green Warbler, an Eastern Meadowlark and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak on census.
The 28th was busy with 44 birds banded and 58 species detected in the area with a few new species for the year. We banded Myrtle Warbler, Palm Warblers, White-throated Sparrow, Hermit Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Phoebe and our first Least Flycatcher. Blackbirds moved over in good numbers with flocks of a hundred or so going over with several Rusty Blackbirds mixed in.
New arrivals continued on the 29th we banded 40 birds of 10 species. Myrtles ad Palm warbler continued to move through in good numbers as well as both kinglets. We banded Black-capped Chickadee and Hermit Thrush as well. We also observed Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker and Pileated Woodpecker.
On the 30th the usual went through with a few more sparrows than normal including Swamp Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow and Slate-coloured Junco. A big hawk push went through today starting at about 10 and continuing through the afternoon. 2 Bald Eagles (local nesters), 2 Northern Harriers, 5 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 213 Broad-winged Hawks, 19 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Rough-legged Hawk, 4 American Kestrels, 9 Merlins and 92 Turkey Vultures. Our first Caspian Tern also showed up during obs and now the Barn Swallows are around the shipwreck all the time usually 6 -12. Myrtle, Palm and Pine Warblers were all seen.
On May 1st we banded our first Black-and-white Warbler and Nashville Warbler both a less than a week earlier than normal for the area. Myrtle, Black-throated Green, Pine and Palm Warbler were also detected. Both White-throated Sparrows and Palm Warblers moved through in big numbers with close to a hundred of each moving through in about an hour. Rusty Blackbirds continued to move through mixed in with other blackbirds. 3 Purple Finches were seen and throughout this spring Purple Finch has been much more common than last year fewer observed and banded than this year already. A single Red-shouldered Hawk flew by during the morning as well.
The first week of May was identical weather with light winds, warm temperatures and sunny skies, May 2nd was the same. Big movements of warblers going through mid-morning brought several new species for the year. Tennessee, Nashville, Yellow, Black-throated green, Blackburnian, Pine, Palm and Black-and-white Warbler were all observed as well as Northern Parula and American Redstart. Myrtle and Palm warblers charged through on and off with more than a hundred of each visibly migrating. A treat of the morning was a Barred Owl sitting in an exposed perch across the basin. Large numbers of Red-breasted Nuthatches and Black-capped Chickadees moved through as well with between 50 and a hundred for each. Another early arrival was a singing Alder Flycatcher which is 2 or 3 weeks early also a single Wood Duck. Greater Yellowlegs and Killdeers were both heard flying over as well.
May 3rd was another big hawk day with: 5 Bald Eagles, 4 Northern Harriers, 128 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 8 Cooper’s Hawk, 1 Northern Goshawk, 678 Broad-winged Hawks, 6 Red-tailed Hawks, 2 American Kestrels, 3 Merlins and 3 Red-shouldered Hawks. A flock of a hundred Blue Jays flew by and 100 of each Myrtle and Palm Warblers were observed. An Ovenbird and an after-second-year male Bay-breasted Warbler were banded and the latest new warbler arrivals. Many White-throated and more White-crowned sparrows moved through as well.
May 4th was the highest species count for the season so far in part because of extra-eyes from participants of the Birding Workshop with 93 species seen in the area. Hawks were in big kettles over the bluffs with Broad-winged, Cooper’s, Sharp-shinned and Red-tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles, American Kestrels and Merlins. A large movement of Common Loons came through with over 700 for the morning. Many White-winged Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Red-breasted Mergansers and Common Mergansers were also seen. 35 Greater and 8 Lesser Yellowlegs and Spotted Sandpiper were shorebirds for the day. Our first blue-headed Vireo, orange-crowned warbler, Cape May warbler and Black-throated blue warbler were seen. Many white-throated and white-crowned sparrows were seen as well with more than a hundred of each. Wild turkey, red-shouldered hawk, American bittern and upland sandpiper were also seen. Banding was good with 35 birds of 14 species primarily sparrows with a few of the warblers of the day mixed in.
The 5th brought Cabot Head even more new species for the year including magnolia warbler and chestnut-sided warbler as well as a Bonaparte’s Gull as rare species at Cabot Head especially in the spring. Movement of birds definitely slowed down with fewer moving and thus fewer netted. The northern finches are still moving through but very low numbers. We had Pine Siskin, Common Redpoll, Purple Finch and American Goldfinch. The 6th was slower than the day before with little action at the nets but many Blue Jay s coming to the ground traps with more than 100 flying over and 25 banded. Northern Parula, Northern Cardinal and Mourning Dove and a mother goose sitting on her nest were the highlights of the day.