Stéphane’s Blog for April 27, 2011

Migrants on the move!

Finally, we got some decent movements at Cabot Head, although birds had to squeeze in between storms and rain! On Monday, April 25, a total of 60 species were detected (with 43 on census, quite a feast!). We had the first Killdeer of the season, as well as the first Eastern Bluebird. Northern Flickers continue to be seen in big numbers, along with Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds.

There were a lot of Kinglets, with 34 Golden-crowns caught and banded, more than a third of the total of 90 birds banded for the day. Brown Creepers were also quite abundant, with 15 banded! Of note, 5 Hermit Thrushes were banded and 11 detected during the census.

After a good day, obviously, the next must be rainy. We managed to open the nets for only 1.5 hours early on on Tuesday morning, catching a grand total of 4 birds (including a recaptured Sharp-shinned Hawk, banded just a few days previously). The rain was strong throughout the day, with increasing wind. Consequently, very few birds were observed. We had a fantastic thunderstorm late in the evening.

And today, Wednesday April 27, birds made up for lost time: we caught and banded 104 birds of 14 species, the best day so far and by far. And all in only 2.5 hours! It was too windy at dawn, but when the wind died, we were able to open nets at 8am. And then, rain came again and we had to close nets at 10:30am. Kinglets, again, were the kings (!) but, this time, both species were caught in equal numbers. It seems that the Ruby-crowned Kinglet migration has started! (it is always a bit later than the Golden-crowned ones)

Again, lots of Brown Creepers were caught (14 individuals). A good flock of 13 Black-capped Chickadees was caught at once, giving some extra work to a rushed crew. We also got our first Palm Warbler and Black-and-white Warblers! A lot of new species were detected today, mostly during a census that yielded 40 species in total. So, the arrivals for the season were: Greater Yellowlegs; Brown Thrasher; Yellow Warbler (a very early and bright individual); Palm Warbler; Black-and-white Warbler; Chipping Sparrow; Fox Sparrow; and Eastern Towhee!

In less than 2 weeks of monitoring, 85 species have already been detected.