Stephane’s Blog for August 18

Migration Monitoring has Begun!

As much as many would not want to hear the word, “fall” migration
monitoring has begun at the Cabot Head Research Station. Nets were set
up on Sunday the 16th and ready to go. The windstorm of the 17th
decided otherwise: only census and observation were done on that day,
revealing mostly the usual suspects of local breeders, like American
Redstarts, Magnolia and Nashville Warblers, and Red-eyed Vireos.
Today, Tuesday the 18th, we were able to open nets at 6am, 30 minutes
before sunrise, and ran them for the designated 6 hours. Under
overcast sky and, at times, threatening rain, we ended catching a
fairly decent total of 38 birds of 14 species and one recapture. As
expected, these birds are mostly from the local breeding population,
with American Redstarts being overly dominant (17 birds banded, with
lots of young and a few moulting adults). Magnolia Warblers and Common
Yellowthroats were distant second and third in banding total. In all,
8 species of warblers were detected. A very young Brown Creeper was
also captured. Rarely captured in the fall as opposed to the spring
season, it was a surprise to get a young Sharp-shinned Hawk in our
The Bald Eagles are still hard at work raising their young. The 2
adults were seen flying together toward the nest, while begging calls
were heard. The young must be ready to fly, if not fledged already.
At dawn, as well as dusk yesterday, we could hear the persistent,
albeit somewhat subdued, song of the Eastern Whip-poor-will. It always
sings again in late summer, a nice reminder that summer is still
around despite the “fall” in the monitoring.
It is good to be back at Cabot Head, enjoying the warm weather and
water of Wingfield Basin. The water is at its highest level here since
2003 (which is the extent of my local knowledge), swamping the back
end of the Gargantua (our own shipwreck)!