Titmouse and warblers and hawks oh my!
The morning of May 2nd started off with an ominous cloud bank looming over Cabot Head and light South winds the perfect combination for bird fallout. Fallout they did. We observed 63 species and banded 19 birds of 10 species. More warblers arrived today including: Nashville Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Ovenbird and Cape May Warbler. We also observed many other first for the year birds like: Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, Scarlet Tanager and Blue Headed Vireo. But the highlight of the day was an Eastern Tufted Titmouse that moved through with all the warblers and sat in a bush for about 30 seconds before disappear never to be seen again. The Titmouse may be the first record for North Bruce! Myrtle warbler continued they’re mas movement with around 500 moving through! We also managed to get in some hawk watching and spotted at least 2 Rough Legged Hawks flying south as well as a single Cooper’s Hawk. So far our best day in terms of diversity of birds moving through Cabot Head!
The 28th was another good day for birds passing through but rain in the morning forced us to close the nets early. We continued adding new species for the year including our first Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Caspian Tern and Northern Goshawk! The same warbler were around from the yesterday in smaller numbers and we had only 100 myrtles moving through so migration definitely tapered off a bit. The hawk migration was quite good despite dense fog and no sun. We had 10 Turkey Vultures, 1 Osprey, 1 Bald Eagle (resident), 14 Sharp Shinned Hawks, 1 Northern Goshawk, 51 Broad Winged Hawks, 1 Red Tailed Hawk, 23 Rough Legged Hawks and the 2 usual resident Merlins. We have also been seeing both Tree Swallow and Barn Swallow every day flying in a fury around the Gargantua wreck.
Today (May 4th) started out cool and foggy with light North West winds and seemingly bad weather and little bird life moving around at dawn. But many birds began moving through after a couple hours in big numbers many of which ran into our nets. We banded 91 birds of 18 species today and continued our trend of adding new species for the year. We banded Ruby Crowned Kinglet, Black throated Green Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Slate Coloured Junco, Western Palm Wabrler, Black and White Warbler, Myrtle Warbler, Ovenbird, Blue Headed Vireo, Swamp Sparrow, Song Sparrow and others! The highlight of banding was a female Golden Winged Warbler caught on the closing net round. A repeat of the other day happened when more than 50 birds of 7 species were caught in our first 3 nets! We also observed our first Common Tern, White Crowned Sparrows, Eastern Towhee and Tennessee Warbler. Hawk migration really got going today mostly after the count period with close to 100 Turkey Vultures, over a hundred Broad Winged Hawks, Sharp Shinned Hawks, Rough Legged Hawks and 2 Peregrine Falcons! Migration has certainly taken off with the south winds and then next few days of warm weather will undoubtedly bring more migrants for us to observe!