Friday, July 24, 2015

July 24, 2015 - Go see Painted Buntings - Season Two Page

Well it has been a while since there was something to post.  We just got word that one of our color-banded Painted Buntings was observed in Georgia.  I'm going to put the story and more photos on the Painted Buntings - Season Two page (look for Pages in the upper right of the blog front page and scroll to the end).  http://brdbander.blogspot.com/p/painted-buntings-season-two.html  The pages don't send out notifications so this post should if you have signed up.

We hope to start banding at Possum Long within the month.  Unless volunteers' schedules change we will be regularly banding on Tuesdays and will have "emergency" sessions when there are a lot of migrants (please).  I will post again when we set a date.  Hope to see you then.

Painted Bunting resighting, Skidaway Beach SP, GA
Photo by Debbie Carr-Taylor




Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 5, 2015

So comes the end of a wonderful spring run at Possum Long Banding Station.  But, it is just a break; we will be back in late summer in preparation for fall migration.

It is now breeding time and the birds of Possum Long are at it.  This time last year the Blue Jays were fledging and judging by the noises we heard today the young may be out of the nest really soon.  We have seen young Northern Cardinals in the area.  Our Osprey are about to fledge THREE young.  It is time to let them carry on bringing a new generation to the property.

It has been so fun to watch the Yellow-crowned Night-Herons.  We observed 3 nesting pair a block away over the last few weeks.  Our own bird has provided us with a lot of fun observations.  Is it lonely?  Just late to the game?  Is it trying to build a flimsy nest and maybe not doing so well?

Today we were up to 3 birds practically over our banding table.  Today's vocalizations and feather displays were amazing.  Will a nest happen here or are they on nests in the next block?

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Photo by Nancy Price

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Photo by Nancy Price

We did not band any birds today.  There was very little migration action (none) and the rains threatened.  There's no joy in trying to dry nets.  So, we are done for now.  Join us again in the fall.  

There are so many folks to thank for a wonderful time.  Every volunteer brings special talents and joy.  It is a privilege to know and work with you all.  THANK YOU!  

Next banding session should start in mid-August.  I will post ahead of the start-up.  Subscribe and get an email whenever there's a new post!  

Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30, 2015

Today was an impromptu session which ended up being the best ever.  We banded 28 birds (7 species) and many of those were still warblers.  We did band 3 Gray Catbirds and our first thrush of the season - a Veery.  It seemed so big after so many warblers.

Up to April 14, we had banded 22 birds on Possum Long.  Since then (the last 2 weeks) we banded 96 more!!  Migration is the most wonderful thing in so many ways.

Veery
Photo by Jane Wiewora

The warblers banded today were 6 Ovenbirds, 7 Black-throated Blue Warblers, 8 American Redstarts, 1 Magnolia Warbler, and 2 Common Yellowthroats.

The Ovenbirds kept coming (see last posts for photos) and so did the Black-throated Blue Warblers. These 2 species accounted for almost half of today's birds.  We are starting to catch more females and immature birds.

Black-throated Blue Warbler (female)
Photo by Jane Wiewora

Also present in high numbers were American Redstarts.  Most of them were males born before last summer (after-second-year).  One showed some really unique coloring with the tail looking much paler than the wing "starts" and the underwing.

American Redstart
Photo by Jane Wiewora

American Redstart
Photo by Pete Grannis

Finally we remembered to photograph the Common Yellowthroat!  We banded a male and a female today.

Common Yellowthroat (male)
Photo by Pete Grannis

The most exciting find today was a Magnolia Warbler.  Early on Pete Grannis found one in the canopy.  We were certainly shocked to have one in the nets (Thank you Nancy Price and Jane Wiewora for extending the trail net.)  This is only the second one banded at Possum Long.

Magnolia Warbler
Photo by Pete Grannis

Note the wide black undertail tip which is a great field mark when viewing from underneath.  

Magnolia Warbler
Photo by Pete Grannis

Next banding will be the last for this season.  May 5.  Nets go up at 6 am.  We will likely resume banding in mid to late August.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 27 & 28, 2015 And The Warblers Keep Coming

West winds and some rain are the best for migratory birds setting down for feeding and rest.  So Monday had near perfect conditions for an unscheduled banding session.  Luckily the team was available for some extra banding time.

We caught a total of 25 birds:  9 Ovenbirds, 8 American Redstarts, 3 Black-throated Blue Warblers, 3 Common Yellowthroats, 1 Black-and-white Warbler, and 1 Gray Catbird.

Pete banding an American Redstart
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

One of the Black-throated Blue Warblers had black markings on its back.  This is an indication that it belonged to a subspecies which breeds in the Appalachian Mountains.  The back of the more northern subspecies is entirely blue.  The large white wing patch and entirely black throat indicates this is an after-second-year bird (born prior to last summer).

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Photo by Jane Wiewora

This Black-and-white Warbler was born last summer.  Though the photo does not show the throat, it was not entirely black (still had some white mottling) and the wing showed some juvenal feathers (molt limit) just above my right thumb.

Black-and-white Warbler
Photo by Pete Grannis

In addition to the birds we banded we also saw a Black-throated Green Warbler yesterday and some Worm-eating Warblers today.

Tuesday's regularly scheduled session was cut short by threatening weather.  We banded 2 Ovenbirds, 1 Black-and-white Warbler, 1 Common Yellowthroat (SY), and 1 Gray Catbird.  We may try again tomorrow.  If we do we will add to this post so please check back.  (Wednesday we were rained out but will try again and make a new post!)

Next scheduled banding:  May 5.  Nets go up at 6 am.  NOTE:  THIS WILL BE THE LAST SESSION UNTIL FALL MIGRATION.  BANDING MAY RESUME SOMETIME IN AUGUST.  It is best to sign up for notifications.  I will post a week ahead of the new season!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21 and 22, 2015 WARBLERS!

FINALLY!  Today started out hot and humid but also with the sounds of many chipping birds.  A thunderstorm yesterday and a shift of winds and we had warblers to see and band.

Today was record breaking - we banded 26 birds and all of them were warblers.  There were 11 species noted on the property and we managed to catch 7 of them.

First it was a run of Ovenbirds.  We eventually banded 8.  The second photo shows the lighter tips indicating a bird that was born last year.

Ovenbird
Photo by Pete Grannis

Ovenbird
Photo by Pete Grannis

The birds kept coming and coming.  We caught a Common Yellowthroat and a Black-and-white Warbler at the same time.  Currently I do not have a photo of the Common Yellowthroat from today. It was a male.  We eventually banded 4 Black-and-white Warblers.

Black-and-white Warbler
Photo by Pete Grannis

It seemed like most of the Ovenbirds took off or at least found a place to hide.  We started getting Worm-eating Warblers and Black-throated Blue Warblers.  All this time, between bandings, we were seeing many warblers in all of the ficus/strangler fig trees as well as in the oaks.  Frustrating to have so many birds so high.  We banded 3 Worm-eating and 7 Black-throated Blue Warblers.

Worm-eating Warbler
Photo by Crystal Conway
Worm-eating Warbler
Photo by Bill Eaton

Black-throated Blue Warbler (male)
Photo by Bill Eaton

Black-throated Blue Warbler (female)
Photo by Bill Eaton

At times it seemed like birds were flying in.  We started to see a few more American Redstarts.  We banded 2.  

American Redstart (male)
Photo by Georgia Binderow

The bird that topped it all off for me was finally (in our third spring) catching a Cape May Warbler and a stunning male at that!  This is the 99th species I have banded.  

Cape May Warbler (male)
Photo by Pete Grannis

The other 4 warbler species present on the property today were Blackpoll, Prairie, Palm, and Northern Parula.  Only the Blackpoll is a species I have yet to band.

If weather/time/personnel permits we will band for a while tomorrow.  Hopefully the birds will stay and fatten up before continuing their journey.

(UPDATE 4/22:  It seemed about half of the birds had moved between yesterday and today but we still had a good day. We banded 3 American Redstarts, 4 Black-throated Blue Warblers, 1 Common Yellowthroat, and 4 Ovenbirds.  That would usually be a great day.  We also noted 2 migrants on the property that we had not seen yet this season - A Scarlet Tanager and a Red-eyed Vireo.  Also present was a Black-throated Green Warbler, bringing the two day warbler total to 12.

Next regularly scheduled banding will be April 28.  Nets go up at 6 am.




Thursday, April 16, 2015

April 14, 2015

Many apologies for the delay in this post.  On April 14 we banded 2 Gray Catbirds and a Northern Cardinal.  We also recaptured one of each of these species.

The Northern Cardinal is the only one we managed to photograph.  Pete and Nancy P are making great progress extracting and banding.  Pete banded this Northern Cardinal and Nancy banded the catbirds.

Northern Cardinal (female)
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

Migrants were non-existent.  Winds from the south send birds straight over without stopping.  Good for the birds but not as good for the banders.  That's actually fine with us.   May the birds make good progress to their nesting grounds. We still manage to have a good time and survey the property.  The Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are nesting as are the Red-shouldered Hawks.  There was no evidence of a brood patch on this female cardinal but maybe soon they will nest.  We did hear a Brown Thrasher which are not typically on the property and may have been passing through.  

I forgot to mention that last week Diana observed a snake entering a Red-bellied Woodpecker nest. We can only assume the chicks or eggs were eaten.  Nature in real life or real life in nature.  True either way you look at it.

Next banding session will be April 21.  Nets go up at 6:15.  


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 7, 2015

The bad news is that the weather is terrific and we just might be anticipating migration that is yet to come.  Tuesday was quiet but we did manage to catch 4 Gray Catbirds.  That number is high considering that not many spent the winter on the property.

We also recaptured another Gray Catbird and a Northern Cardinal.  The cardinal had been banded over a year ago.

We spent a lot of time birding the property and enjoyed the sounds of returning Chimney Swifts and more Cedar Waxwings than we have had all winter.  The only warbler was a singing Black-and-white Warbler.

Next session:  Tuesday, April 14.  Nets go up at 6:30 am.