Stéphane’s Blog for May 11, 2011

A Big Pulse of Migrants!

Today, under again an overcast sky and a strong easterly wind, there was a big movement of migrants at Cabot Head. For the most part of the morning, they were flying high against the wind, making identification of all these small warbler-y specks maddeningly difficult. I could tell it was a very diverse flock, with the most abundant still the Yellow-rumped Warbler, but also quite a bit of Nashville, Palm, and Blackburnian. A lot were left unidentified, although a total of 14 species of warbler were identified at the station today.

There were also blackbirds. Being bigger, it was easier to determine the species, and interestingly enough, there were a lot of Rusty Blackbirds: a total of 66 were detected today, alongside some Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, and Bobolinks (7 detected for the latter). It was actually mostly in single-species flocks.

The Sharp-shinned Hawks were quite numerous as well; most of them now are immatures, moving through after the adults.

Towards the end of the morning, birds finally went down and filled up our nets quickly! We banded a total of 68 birds today, most of them captured within an hour! The most abundant was the Nashville Warbler (21 individuals banded), with Black-and-White and Magnolia Warblers also numerous. It is interesting that the first Magnolia Warbler of the season was detected this morning during census. And then, 7 were captured at the end of the day!

Other firsts were the Bay-breasted Warbler (observed) and Northern Parula (captured). The Summer Tanager is still hanging around. And still no Ruby-throated Hummingbird!