Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September 29, 2015

Today rain threatened us and the air was very muggy.  We got rained out by 10 am.  Despite that we caught another Veery and recaptured an Ovenbird from last week.

Photo by Jane Wiewora

The Veery was a hatch year bird.  This age was partially determined by the white tips on the greater coverts.  Also seen in the photo is one of the feathers that is emarginated - notched, on the upper edge of the primary.  This is indicated by the smaller arrow.  Other feathers are emarginated but this one is easiest to see.

Photo by Jane Wiewora

The Ovenbird had no fat when we captured it last week.  Today it was beginning to show traces of fat.  Fat is a good thing for migrating birds. It is great to be able to document that migrating birds remain on the property in order to build up fat supplies.  That teamed with site fidelity data show how valuable this property is as a stopping place .  Migrants depend on this 4.7 acre property in the middle of suburbia!  May it remain vegetated so that there is food for them.

Photo by Jane Wiewora

Next banding:  October 6.  Nets go up at 6:30 am.

Friday, September 25, 2015

September 21 & 22, 2015

We banded Monday and Tuesday this week and caught 6 birds each day.  At first light the day started out with a bit of chasing - not us looking for a rarity but first we saw a Barred Owl chasing an immature Red-shouldered Hawk.  Then the hawk was mobbed by Blue Jays with some chasing by the hawk.  Soon after a squirrel chased the hawk away.  Maybe that one should have been the other way around??

immature Red-shouldered Hawk
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

Soon we had birds.  We caught a total of 3 Ovenbirds, a Blue Jay, and a Worm-eating Warbler.

Worm-eating Warbler
Photo b Nancy LaFramboise

The sixth bird was a Red-bellied Woodpecker and it was a hatch year bird.  The red on the nape was just coming in.  Adult males have full  red at the back of the head from the bill to the nape; females have more limited red from the back of the head to the nape.  Hopefully you can see the ends of the new red feathers and see the sheaths that cover newly growing feathers.

Red-bellied Woodpecker (back of head)
Photo by Nancy Price.

On Tuesday we also caught six birds - 4 Ovenbirds, another Blue Jay, and most exciting was a Veery; the first thrush of the season.  This bird had a good load of fat and no doubt will be on its way soon.

Photo by Jane Wiewora

We also recaptured a White-eyed Vireo which was originally banded as a hatch year bird on September 23. 2013.  It was recapured a little more than a year later on October 21, 2014.  This kind of site fidelity is one of the things we are documenting as part of the banding project.

White-eyed Vireo
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

Though I don't understand the need to plant cactus at the Possum Long property, it was quite beautiful to see one of the large ones blooming.  

Next banding session:  September 29.  Nets go up at 6:30 am.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September 15, 2015 OVEN-8

Today we got more numbers but less diversity.  We banded 8 Ovenbirds (banding code OVEN) and a Blue Jay.  All 9 birds were born this last nesting season.  There were a few migrants on the property that did not go into the nets but that's the norm.

Last week the first Common Nighthawk for the property was observed.

Ovenbird (and Eddie our mascot on the banding box)
Photo by Jane Wiewora

Many thanks to Jane for all of the photos.  Since we had been negligent about getting photos she got pictures of most of the Ovenbirds.  Problem is they are all alike.  These two photos really tell it all.

Aging the Ovenbirds
Photo by Jane Wiewora

The yellow arrows above indicate lighter tipped coverts that indicate that the birds are both hatch-year (born this past summer).

Jane pointed out some more really great close-ups of our Ovenbirds from her set.  I couldn't resist adding them:  (added 9/17)  In the first photo you can see the bristles near the bill that trigger the bird to open its bill.  This is used when they are foraging in the leaves and come across a tasty treat.

Photos by Jane Wiewora

The Blue Jay was also a youngster and a sassy one at that.  The bander is receiving its opinion of  being banded.  In the second photo the arrow indicates the remaining young feathers indicating that this is a young bird.

Blue Jays
Photos by Jane Wiewora

We were going to attempt banding the next day but we were rained out.  Call us persistent/dedicated/crazy but we went anyway and eventually took down the poles we had left up.  

Next banding session:  September 22.  Nets go up between 6 and 6:30.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

September 8, 2015 Finally four!

After banding on Monday at a Painted Bunting site (see Painted Buntings - Season 3 in the Pages section) and only getting Northern Cardinals I just had to wonder if we would catch something other than cardinals.  Migrants were showing up in larger numbers but sometimes they are hard to catch. We ended up with 4 birds and 4 species banded.

First up was an American Redstart.  It was somewhat camera shy but at least we got a photo!  The true colors aren't well represented in the early morning light but you can see the lighter tail "starts" and some color in the underwing.  In real life these were yellow and this bird was aged and sexed as an adult female.

American Redstart
Photo by Jane Wiewora

Next up was an Ovenbird.  At first we had only detected these 2 warbler species so it was great to have them in the net. The Ovenbird was born this past summer.  The light tips on the wing coverts indicate this.  All birds should have tiny arrows to show these key features!

Photo by Jane Wiewora

We had a bit of a wait but soon we had a Black-throated Blue Warbler.  This bird was aged/sexed as a young male based on the colors and the fact that the black throat had some white speckles instead of being solid black.

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Photo by Jane Wiewora

Lastly we caught a Worm-eating Warbler.  I don't think I can ever again think of this species without remembering a typo I saw that labeled one as a Work-eating Warbler.  So fun to imagine!!  This bird cannot be sexed but was aged as an adult bird.  

Worm-eating Warbler
Photo by Jane Wiewora

Also on the property were 2 Summer Tanagers, 1 Scarlet Tanager, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and a Great Crested Flycatcher.  Come on migrants!

I expect that the next few weeks will bring us more migrants.  Come visit.  Nets go up early and most birds are caught pretty early but come when you can.  

Next session:  September 15.  Nets go up at 6:30.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 1, 2015 Ditto

Well today much like last week we caught 3 Northern Cardinals.  Unlike last week we did not manage to take even one photo.

The cardinals were all hatch-year birds; born this summer.  All of them were in the same net at the same time.  One appeared to be a bit older and it was actually one of the ones we banded last week. The other two were quite young.  They were molting body, tail, and wing feathers but not many yet. At one point Nancy Price was holding one in each hand - a hard thing to do and not get bitten.

Just to have a photo I am showing this Painted Bunting that returned to one of our banding locations. All of this season's adventures and more information on these birds are on the Page called Painted Buntings - Season 3.  (Look near the upper right)  Can you see the bands?  This one is dark blue over yellow on the right.  I have also made a new page called Encouraging Painted Buntings as we get requests for this a lot.  On the page is a copy of a handout we use at talks and plans for an enclosed bunting feeder that Painteds really like.

Painted Bunting
Photo by Vicki Rogerson

Next banding will be Tuesday, September 8.  Nets go up at 6:30 am.  Weather permitting.