A wind change brings a windfall!
For most of last week, we had an East wind blowing at Cabot Head, sometimes strong, sometimes weak, but quite persistent. East winds tend to bring rain in their wake. However, this time, the rain was mostly to the South of the peninsula, never quite reaching our shores, except of the very last day of East wind, on October 1st.
We thus could open the nets every morning, but very few birds were captured. Very few birds likely travelled during these days: why fly into bad weather if you can avoid it?
Finally, the wind turned: last night, a North wind started blowing and greeted us at dawn on the third day of October. It brought many birds in the trees, on the ground, and in our nets. We banded 94 birds today, the highest banding total of the season. Many Juncos, many Kinglets (both Golden- and Ruby-crowned), quite a few Brown Creepers and White-throated Sparrows, as well as some White-crowned Sparrows and Hermit Thrushes. It is the expected suite of birds of fall, the short-distance migrants leaving the boreal forest for the more temperate one of southern Ontario and the eastern United States.
We have also been observing a few Rusty Blackbirds around the station, some even investigating the Gargantua (the shipwreck in the basin). On October 1st, we captured and banded one of them! It is the second ever banding record of this species in the fall, after one in fall 2007. And only three have been banded in the spring. It is thus quite a rare species to have in our nets.