Migration update

In the first ten days of September, warblers have continued to move through on their way to their wintering grounds. Diversity has been high, notably on September 2, when 11 warbler species were detected. There was certainly a good movement of birds on that day: alongside many warblers (including one Northern Parula), we captured and banded 13 Red-eyed Vireos! It is a significant number: even though Red-eyed Vireos are banded in good numbers every fall, daily captures rarely reach ten birds or more. In the last 16 years of fall banding, there were 454 days with captures of Red-eyed Vireos and only 15 days had ten or more birds captured.

At dawn of September 4, we heard shortly an Eastern Whip-poor-will calling. This species has not been as vocal this fall compared to previous seasons.

New species keep arriving at Cabot Head, with the first Veery and Swainson’s Thrushes captured on September 4 and the first Lincoln’s Sparrow on September 6. Like last year, we are putting little radio transmitters (“nanotags”) on Swainson’s Thrushes and also on Gray-cheeked Thrushes this fall. We have yet to capture our first Gray-cheeked Thrush but have already deployed 15 nanotags, of the 30 we have for Swainson’s Thrush (see www.motus.org).

The young Carolina Wren we banded on August 31 was heard singing on September 7 and was also recaptured on September 8. It was quite amusing to hear a voice from the Carolinian Forest fill the soundscape of Cabot Head! A bit disconcerting at first as well. Who knows? We might add a new species to the common inhabitants of the Bruce Peninsula.

The first Palm Warblers, arriving from their boreal bogs, were observed at Cabot Head, on September 10, in a morning of strong East wind. With these new arrivals, we can feel the slow change of seasons, alongside the first leaves turning away from their deep green.