Stephane’s blog for October 9th.

A busy week (Oct.9)

As fall settles upon the land, it was a busy week for the crew at
Cabot Head. Despite a whole day lost to wind and rain, and some nets
being or staying closed due to high winds the other days, we had the
highest weekly number of birds banded of the season.

Birds coming through now are mostly Juncos and Sparrows
(White-throated and white-crowned), Kinglets (both species), Hermit
Thrush, and Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers. They were all
well represented in our nets this week, with kinglets and juncos
providing the bulk of the captures. You know it is definitively fall
when you see this particular assemblage of birds.

In addition to them, we were delighted by the first American Tree
Sparrow in the net, as well as a young Clay-colored Sparrow. This
species was actually the biggest surprise! It is quite regularly noted
at Cabot Head, especially in the spring. But it had been captured only
once in the fall prior to 2015, with one bird in the fall 2002. In the
spring, it is barely more frequent, with a grand total of 7 birds
banded in 4 seasons! Southern Ontario is at the extreme Eastern end of
its breeding range. It is much more abundant in the prairies.

Another major surprise was the capture of a second Scarlet Tanager
this fall, this time, an adult male! As a bird spending most of its
time high in the canopy, it is rarely caught in our nets. Indeed, in
the previous 14 fall seasons, only 10 individuals were banded. In the
fall, following their moult, the male Scarlet Tanagers lose their
namesake colour and turn a deep green and bright yellow, though they
retained the charcoal black of their wings and tail. A few scarlet
feathers may still be present here and there on their body.

A few Rusty Blackbirds have been seen throughout the week, with some
birds using the Pine Barrens and the dried-out lake bottoms to feed.
This boreal forest breeder is sadly in decline, its status neglected
for a long time: it is easy to overlook yet another “blackbird”. Very
little is known yet about the reasons for the decline. It could be in
its wintering grounds in the southern states of the USA, but so little
is known about its basic biology that a first step is simply to have a
A busy week (Oct.9)

As fall settles upon the land, it was a busy week for the crew at
Cabot Head. Despite a whole day lost to wind and rain, and some nets
being or staying closed due to high winds the other days, we had the
highest weekly number of birds banded of the season.

Birds coming through now are mostly Juncos and Sparrows
(White-throated and white-crowned), Kinglets (both species), Hermit
Thrush, and Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers. They were all
well represented in our nets this week, with kinglets and juncos
providing the bulk of the captures. You know it is definitively fall
when you see this particular assemblage of birds.

In addition to them, we were delighted by the first American Tree
Sparrow in the net, as well as a young Clay-colored Sparrow. This
species was actually the biggest surprise! It is quite regularly noted
at Cabot Head, especially in the spring. But it had been captured only
once in the fall prior to 2015, with one bird in the fall 2002. In the
spring, it is barely more frequent, with a grand total of 7 birds
banded in 4 seasons! Southern Ontario is at the extreme Eastern end of
its breeding range. It is much more abundant in the prairies.

Another major surprise was the capture of a second Scarlet Tanager
this fall, this time, an adult male! As a bird spending most of its
time high in the canopy, it is rarely caught in our nets. Indeed, in
the previous 14 fall seasons, only 10 individuals were banded. In the
fall, following their moult, the male Scarlet Tanagers lose their
namesake colour and turn a deep green and bright yellow, though they
retained the charcoal black of their wings and tail. A few scarlet
feathers may still be present here and there on their body.

A few Rusty Blackbirds have been seen throughout the week, with some
birds using the Pine Barrens and the dried-out lake bottoms to feed.
This boreal forest breeder is sadly in decline, its status neglected
for a long time: it is easy to overlook yet another “blackbird”. Very
little is known yet about the reasons for the decline. It could be in
its wintering grounds in the southern states of the USA, but so little
is known about its basic biology that a first step is simply to have a
better understanding of where it winters and roosts.

As usual, there were some stragglers, like a Palm Warbler on October
6, a Nashville Warbler on October 7, a Common Yellowthroat on October
8.

White-winged Scoters, Common Goldeneyes, and other waterfowl species
have started to migrate in earnest over the rough waters of Georgian
Bay. No big numbers yet, but another sign that fall is progressing.

And, finally, a Black Bear enthralled everyone here at the station
when it decided to walk along the shore of Wingfield Basin, starting
from the opposite side and finishing near the Gargantua (the
shipwreck), where it entered the forest, never to be seen again!

Stephane

 

Posted in STATION NOTES / BLOG

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