Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April 22, 2014

Finally a pretty good banding day.  It seemed slow and catbird numbers were down but we saw and banded more species than during other recent sessions.

We banded 4 Gray Catbirds, 5 Black-throated Blue Warblers, 1 Downy Woodpecker, and 1 Ovenbird. We also recaptured a Painted Bunting from over a year ago (3/26/13).  This one was banded before we started color banding.  We can now say that this green Painted Bunting is female; a male would have molted to his bright colors in the intervening year.

The Black-throated Blue Warblers were very interesting.  The backs of 3 of them showed the black centers that indicate they are the Appalachian subspecies.  The other two had all blue backs.

Black-throated Blue Warbler - with black back markings
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

Black-throated Blue Warbler - without black back markings
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

The Downy Woodpecker was born last year.  It still had juvenal covert feathers - see arrow.  These feathers are browner than the newer adult feathers.

Downy Woodpecker
Photo by Jane Wiewora

Photo by Crystal Conway

In addition to the species banded, we also saw Cape May Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Parula, and Scarlet and Summer Tanagers.  Nancy Price also heard a Chuck-will's-widow in the early hours.

Scarlet Tanager
Photo by Crystal Conway

Northern Parula
Photo by Crystal Conway

Next banding session:  April 29, 2014.  Nets go up at 6 am.  Each week could get better - what will next week bring?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 15, 2014 Kittybirds and Fat

Today was a busy day as we banded a record number of Gray Catbirds - first single day double digits for one species!  Twelve new bands and three recaptures.  We also banded a green Painted Bunting and a Black-throated Blue Warbler.

We noted more migrants today including a very vocal Summer Tanager (frustration plus!!) or two, a Blue-headed Vireo, and a male American Redstart.

The Painted Bunting was a female or young male and was packed with fat for its journey from wherever it was to its breeding grounds.  Maybe someone will find this one at a feeder in North or South Carolina.  Bill Eaton almost levitated when he saw the fat from across the table, obviously not a hollow any longer.  Luckily he got his gear and documented the bulging store of energy.

Painted Bunting (green)
Photo by Bill Eaton

The Black-throated Blue Warbler was an after second year male - always fun to see colorful males in spring.  It had the typical identifying "white handkerchief" field mark which you can see is made up of a series of white marks on individual feathers.  There was some black streaking on its back which may indicate that this is the subspecies which breeds in the Appalachian Mountains.  I will investigate further and update this information.

Black-throated Blue Warbler (male)

both photos by Bill Eaton

Next banding session:  April 22, 2014 nets up at 6:45.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April 8, 2014

Today was a good day at the banding station.  Summer humidity has returned.  Spring migrants have too but not in great numbers yet.  I was very glad to have Rich and Doris visit.  They are from my former home and it is great to have their company.  Rich helped at banding stations there so it was nice to share Possum Long with them.

Also good news is that the Yellow-crowned Night-Herons have come back to Possum Long to nest.  If someone on the team got photos I will update this post.

Today we had 7 new Gray Catbirds and a second-year female Prairie Warbler (no chestnut on the back).  We also recaptured a Black-and-white Warbler from October 10, 2013 and 2 Gray Catbirds One catbird was recently banded and the other was from last October.  The Black-and-white Warbler was just getting in the black throat feathers of a male - definitely a second-year bird.

Black-and-white Warbler
Photo by Jane Wiewora

We continue to see Gray Catbirds with mottled undertail coverts and one was almost entirely gray instead of rusty.  No molt was visible.  Very strange.

Gray Catbird
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

We observed 30 species on the property - definitely rising numbers.  Of note last Saturday was a Magnificent Frigatebird flying over.

Next banding session:  Tuesday, April 15.  Nets go up at 6:45.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 1, 2014

It was the first truly busy day we have had for a while and we are also busy banding Painted Buntings before they depart.  Apologies for being late with this post.  We banded 9 new Gray Catbirds, a Common Yellowthroat, and a White-eyed Vireo.  We are starting to hear more noise but still way up in the canopy.  The Strangler Fig (Ficus) is fruiting and the Cedar Waxwings are fattening up before departing.  Lots of waxwing noise.  Could one of them please come down to net level, please??

We also recaptured an Ovenbird that was originally banded in September.  Hard to know if it overwintered undetected on the property or if it returned to Possum Long on its return journey.

Photo by Bill Eaton

The recaptured Gray Catbird was banded on April 10, 2013 - almost a year later.  We have banded over 80 Gray Catbirds so hopefully more recaptures are in store.

Next banding session:  April 8 with nets going up at 6:45.