The Blowing Winds
After the stop of the South winds bird activity lessened with a lower volume of individuals and species moving through. The 7th was a slow day at the nets with less than 20 birds banded. The highlights were our first Magnolia Warbler for the year and a Northern Waterthrush. Long-tailed Ducks were wailing on Georgian Bay throughout the morning and we spotted many Red-breasted Mergansers. Two Broad-winged Hawks and a Cooper’s Hawk were observed as well as both local Bald Eagles. A Common Tern was seen during census along with a rare southern overshoot for the area and the station’s first ever recorded, Painted Bunting (a female). In fact, it was the first ever recorded for the entire North Bruce Peninsula. It’s possible that it was diverted by the previous week’s strong south winds. The bird was migrating with a small mixed flock of warblers. It hasn’t been sighted since and by now, it’s certainly long gone. Decent numbers of Myrtle and Palm warblers moved through as well as many White-throated sparrows. A single Brewer’s Blackbird was heard singing first thing in the morning and Pine Siskins and American Goldfinch were seen flying over throughout the day.
The 8th was less exhilarating from the lack of Painted birds but, alas, migration continues and we were blessed with many warbler species. It was another slow banding day but we managed to band our first Common Yellowthroat as well as Swamp Sparrow, Black-and-white Warbler and Least Flycatcher. A small flock of White-winged Scoters were seen as well as many Long-tailed Ducks, Common Tern and Caspian Tern. Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Wood Thrush, Yellow Warbler, Northern Parula, Blackburnian, Myrtle, Pine and Bay-breasted Warbler were all detected in the area. Again, there were many Pine Siskin and American Goldfinch sightings as well as 2 Common Redpolls. A single Wild Turkey was also spotted running through the net lanes.
The 9th was much the same as the previous days but we were completely over-run by Blue Jays that were attracted to the food in our two ground traps. We observed many flocks of Blue Jays, some of a hundred or more flew through the area. Our first Vesper Sparrow was observed on census and we also recorded a Red-bellied Woodpecker and a Wild Turkey. We banded many Blue Jays from our ground traps (77 in three days!) as well as a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, a Yellow Warbler and our first Orange-crowned Warbler of the year. Stormy weather is predicted for the next few days, which could cause many of these migratory birds to stop here to wait it out. We may have more new and interesting species to report next time. Stay tuned.