Andrew’s Posting for May 5th and 6th

Swainson’s Hawk, Black Scoter (A.K.A. Darth Vader) and 15 Species of Warbler Made for an Great Birding Day at Cabot Head.

May 5th was an average day with little action from the nets but lots of activity in the morning with 48 species observed for the day. Raptor activity was good with 8 species observed but all in low numbers. 2 Caspian Terns were flying around the basin during the census. Our first White Crowned Sparrows of the season were observed for standard count and a late Fox Sparrow was another first observed for the year at Cabot Head.

Today (May 6th) was another day when the birds literally fell out of the sky. Migrants continued to move through all morning and well into the afternoon. The daily Bay Watch turned up some good sightings with 246 White Winged Scoters and 3 Black Scoters flying north, an excellent sighting for Cabot Head! In total we observed 15 species of warbler and banded 10. Including our first Orange Crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler and Black Throated Blue Warblers! We banded a total of 58 birds of 19 species today including Magnolia Warbler, White Throated Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Sharp Shinned Hawk and our first Veery. We also saw our first Northern Parulas, Blackburnian Warblers,

Above: Black Scoter (aka “Darth Vader with a lemon shoved in his face” M S Scott pers comm.)

Chestnut Sided Warbler, Gray Catbird and Red Bellied Woodpecker. Raptor migration was in full swing today with hundreds of birds “kettling” over Middle Bluff of 10 species. 2 Peregrine Falcons were seen flying out over Georgian Bay, the usual 2 Merlins were around and an American Kestrel was seen hunting over the Pine Barrens. The 2 resident Bald Eagles were flying around the basin and a Golden Eagle was seen flying over the bluff getting mobbed by the 2 Bald Eagles and headed south. Sharp Shinned Hawks were a plenty mostly flying low through the forest. Buteo movement for the day was the most spectacular with over 600 Broad Winged Hawks seen throughout the morning “kettling” over middle bluff. 4 Rough Legged Hawks both dark morphs and light morphs were seen and several Red Tailed Hawks were also observed. The arguable highlight of the morning however was a single adult Swainson’s Hawk flying amongst a hundred kettling Broad Winged Hawks likely a first for Bruce County! The volunteers this morning were buzzing with excitement at the diversity and numbers seen today at Cabot Head!

3 Comments on “Andrew’s Posting for May 5th and 6th

  1. Blue jay
    Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata Average weight: 70 to 100 g Average height: 30 cm in length from the bill to the tail Average lifespan: 7 years

    The first of the season, a flurry of noisy blue jays (more than ten) stopped for two or three seconds on the tamarack by the shore just north of the Hopkins Point Alvar. Behaviour I would describe as twitchy. Like the sugar rush of a kid. It is a sunny refreshingly cool spring day.
    Environment Canada: Observed at: Tobermory 12:00 PM EDT Sunday 13 May 2012 Temperature:11.6°C Pressure / Tendency:102.4 kPa / rising Humidity:59% Dew Point:3.8°C Wind Speed:S 13 km/hForecast
    Issued: 11:00 AM EDT Sunday 13 May 2012
    Today:Mainly sunny. High 20. UV index 7 or high.

  2. The visible migration watches combined with crack birders = terrific observations. The raptor movements this year are impressive, as are the waterfowl. Keep up the great work and good blogging about it!

  3. Hi!

    Good work on the tufted titmouse and Swainson’s hawk! Very cool! I’m happy for you, Andrew, as well as the volunteers present. Two new species of bird for Cabot Head already and it’s not only May 15! Glad you guys got a Golden Eagle as well. Oh man! How I miss Cabot Head!

    But I’m having fun in Alberta too, seeing bison and elk, pelicans and Swainson’s hawks.