Sunday, July 30, 2006

July 30th, 2006


Another hot, humid day. Again, it started early. There did not seem to be nearly as many birds around today as yesterday. Given the mostly clear skies and no wind last night I'm sure that many took advantage of the conditions to move on.

Banded 32: 4 MODO, 2 WBNU, 2 HOWR, 1 GRCA, 1 REVI, 10 YWAR, 1 COYE, 4 RBGR, 2 CHSP, 2 SOSP, 3 AMGO.

Retrapped 10: 1 DOWO, 1 GRCA, 7 YWAR, 1 AMGO.


July 29th, 2006


Hot, humid weather continues to hammer the area. It was already 21 degrees and humid before opening the nets. Even so, there was quite a lot of bird activity along the edges. At least until the sun got up and the temperature rose to 28+ (by 10:00 standard time). I handled another large number of Yellow Warblers, most of which were young birds. However, I did band/retrap 3 adults. All three were well into a complete moult involving flight feathers. I also banded an adult male Blue-gray Gnatcatcher that was replacing flight feathers as well.

Banded 45: 1 TRFL, 1 HOWR, 1 BGGN, 1 AMRO, 3 GRCA, 1 GWWA (the 1st we've encountered this year - HY-F), 21 YWAR, 1 AMRE, 1 NOCA, 1 RBGR, 1 FISP, 6 SOSP, 1 BHCO, 5 AMGO.

Retrapped 7: 1 BCCH, 3 YWAR, 1 RBGR, 1 INBU, 1 AMGO.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

July 27th, 2006

Ruthven - MAPS banding

The penultimate session of MAPS banding started with the surrounding vegetation dripping with moisture (from evening rain mixed with bander sweat) and air humid enough to swim through. A patchy day for birds with quiet periods followed by fairly intense bursts of activity.

There did not appear to be any pattern to the numbers caught. One net would be full of birds, the others would be empty. Sometimes the full net was in deep forest, other times it would be on the edge. The bulk of the birds were caught well after dawn and the numbers continued until close (and bander heat prostration). May have caught more than 100 if the "normal" station nets were up, but it is hard to judge.

For fun the power was out for an hour or so (or perhaps less than a minute - it went out at 4:50am and came back at 4:50am... mind you, it was 4:50am when I opened and 4:50am when I closed too - our clock needs a date with a sledge hammer) which took our scales out of the equation briefly.


Retrapped 3: YWAR, BCCH, SOSP


July 26th, 2006


Not nearly as much around today as there has been over the past few days. However there seems to still be more than I would have expected.

Banded: DOWO 1, BCCH 2, AMRO 1, GRCA 2, CEDW 4, YWAR 3, COYE 2, NOCA 1= 16


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

July 25th, 2006


The movement of birds this summer through Selkirk continues.

Banded today: BCCH 1, AMRO 2, GRCA 3, CEDW 6, YWAR 11, RBGR 1, AMGO 2 = 26


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

July 24th, 2006


The daily movement of birds into the banding area continues.

Banded: MODO 1, AMRO 6, GRCA 8, CEDW 4, YWAR 9, COYE 1, INBU 1, SOSP 3, BHCO 1, AMGO 3 = 37.

July 2006 is shapping up as the best July ever at Selkirk with over 400 birds banded so far.

On Friday I saw something I had not seen before. I released a retrapped Song Sparrow and it flew across the sedge marsh into the scrub. When the bird was about 20 feet out a Monarch Butterfly rose out of the grass and began chasing the sprrow in hot pursuit in a power flight. The distance across the sedge marsh is about 200 ft. Both critters disappeared into the scrub. It appeared the butterfly was gaining on the sparrow. The butterfly was giving a good impression of a gyrfalcon in hunting mode. Has anyone ever seen this before with monarchs or other butterflies???


Monday, July 24, 2006

July 22nd, 2006


It was threatening to rain at opening and began to do so while I was engaged in the census. As it was warm and the rain was light I decided to leave the nets open. I had a busy morning as there were a lot of birds around - mostly young birds begging from parents or, as in the case of Yellow Warblers, just moving through. There were a lot of Yellow Warblers around - banded 22 of them, all HY birds (Hatch Year or young). There was a lot of variety as well - 19 species banded.

Banded 47: 1 MODO, 1 YBCU, 2 DOWO, 1 EAWP, 2 BCCH, 1 BGGN, 1 AMRO, 3 GRCA, 1 BRTH,1 CEDW, 22 YWAR, 1 RBGR, 1 INBU, 1 SOSP, 1 COGR, 1 BHCO, 4 BAOR, 1 HOFI, 1 AMGO.

Retrapped 12: 3 DOWO, 4 BCCH, 1 YWAR, 2 RBGR, 2 AMGO.

66% of the birds netted today were from #2. A significant number of them were not "feeder birds". I think that they are attracted to the area by the activity of the birds that are using the feeders there. Sort of a giant "mixed species flock"(s) centered on the feeders.


July 21st, 2006


New birds still continue to move into Selkirk daily, resulting in another decent day
Friday at Selkirk.

Banded: MODO 1, DOWO 1, BCCH 1, GRCA 1, CEDW 2, YWAR 2, OVEN 1, COYE 3, SOSP 5, RWBL 3, BAOR 3, AMGO 1 =24


Saturday, July 22, 2006

July 20th, 2006


Renowned Blogmeister Jeff MacLeod was on the site today!
Moving on....There was a heavy fog at first light that took a couple of hours to dissipate. There was also a lot of birds that dissipated along with the fog. The birds tended to be mid- to upper storey and, except for the first round, weren't around the nets, or at least at net level. There was a 'pulse' of Yellow Warblers moving through - estimated that there were at least 35 around the site. Not much activity on the river - not even a Great Blue Heron. Just Cedar Waxwings hawking insects, flying out from perches to grab them above the river. Seem to be taking the place of swallows which are now in shorter supply.

Banded 29: 1 MODO, 1 (very young) YBCU, 1 DOWO, 1 WBNU, 2 HOWR, 1 AMRO, 4 GRCA, 1 REVI, 7 YWAR, 2 RBGR, 2 INBU, 1 SOSP, 3 BAOR, 1 OROR, 1 AMGO.

Retrapped 7: 2 DOWO, 1 GRCA, 1 YWAR, 1 RBGR, 1 SOSP, 1 BAOR.


Some pictures:

Black-eyed Susans are spreading throughout the Butterfly Meadow at Ruthven.

Black-eyed Susans seem to be popular with insects,as many have petals that look like these.

Rick asked for a picture of these pink flowers, and even told me their name. If only I could remember that name...

Rick told me the name of this flower too, and he will have to tell you as well (in the comments section). These are fairly common at Ruthven now.

An interesting little guy I encountered on a mist net. Do you know what it is, Brian?


For a HHH day birds were moving around in the banding area today.

Selkirk will be closed this coming Saturday and I am not sure about Sunday. It all depends upon when I get back home Saturday night/Sunday morning from my nephew's wedding near Wingham.

Banded today: DOWO 2, HOWR 2, AMRO 5, GRCA 6, YWAR 10, COYE 3, RBGR 2, RWBL 1, BAOR 3 = 38


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

July 19th banding at Selkirk & July 18th Ruthven MAPS banding

Selkirk - July 19th, 2006

John Dickie was out the same time I was and ran most of the banding and did census. The Logans appeared mid morning, Garry and Stacey mowed and weed wacked the banding net lanes and connecting trails.

Banding wise not as many birds as the past couple of days

Banded: DOWO 1, AMRO 1, GRCA 1 WAVI 1, YWAR 6, COYE 2, SOSP 1, COGR 1, BAOR 1, AMGO 1 = 16


Ruthven - MAPS banding - July 18th, 2006

The fifth session of MAPS banding commenced to the yipping of coyotes and the rustle of wings from the approximately 900 billion male Gypsy Moths flying all over the place. Also prevalent were White-Tailed Deer with at least 8 stamping and snorting through the back forest, blundering in to sundry vegetation and a mist net (which was thankfully closed). There were a few birds around too, but the moths and mammals seemed more prominant in biomass.

Retrapped 6: GRCA 3, BCCH, SOSP 2

The BGGN was a young bird while the BWWA was an adult.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

July 18th, 2006


A little cooler today, although it was warm this afternoon when out in the sun.

A first positive sign of fall today in the banding area: A New England Aster was out in bloom.

Banding wise a pretty fair day.
Banded: MODO 1, DOWO 3, LEFL 1, BCCH 4, HOWR 1, AMRO 4, GRCA 1, YWAR 8, COYE 1, INBU 1, SWSP 1, RWBL 4, COGR 1, BHCO 2, BAOR 1= 34


Monday, July 17, 2006

July 17th, 2006


An interesting day at Selkirk. A cool breeze off the lake kept the banding area down in the mid to high 20's c. not the 30+'s recorded elsewhere. (32oC = approx. 90oF).New birds continue to appear daily in the banding area. While some are certinally post breeding dispersals others like the YWAR's certainly are on the go. By about the end of July, which is not that far away, around 90% of the YWAR will be gone from Selkirk. I have seen at least one fall that I did not catch a YWAR to band in Selkirk after July 31st. This is going to be a bumper crop of white pine cones in Selkirk. Some pines are loaded and I guess that 1000's (10,000+?) will be falling this fall in and around the banding area. Also, I note that there is a good mirror crop of young cones forming that should produce a good crop next summer. Not the 1000's of this summer but certainally 100's. This did not occur a few years ago when the last bumper crop occurred. For the past 3-4 years the pine crop production in Selkirk has been next to none. Maybe a dozen cones in 2005.

Banding wise a decent day for mid July, banded: GCFL 1, BCCH 4, WBNU 1, WOTH 1, AMRO 2, GRCA 3, CEDW 1, WAVI 1, YWAR 6, COYE 2, RBGR 2, BAOR 2 = 26

FTD 253


Sunday, July 16, 2006

July 16th, 2006


A few new birds around early but once the heat of the day hit shortly after 11 am it died and we closed early.

Banded: DOWO 1, GRCA 1, CEDW 1, YWAR 5, COYE 1, RBGR 1, SOSP 1, BAOR 1, = 12


Saturday, July 15, 2006

July 15th, 2006


With an over night rain and a forecast of not clearing until about noon I was not too ambitious on heading out early this morning. Finally left for the park at 7 am and was back to the banding lab by 8 am and operational by 8:45. The heat of the day rolled in around noon and I closed early. Still managed to band a reasonable number of birds that was better than the usual average for this time of the year.

Banded: MODO 1, GRCA 3, YWAR 2, SOSP 5, RWBL 1, BAOR 2 = 14


Friday, July 14, 2006

July 14th, 2006


Spent a few hours banding this morning before the heat of the day got to a point that birds in the nets would be stressed if there for any length of time. Seem to be lots of birds in "family groups" - an adult with at least one or two. Orioles were especially conspicuous - there were two groupings of Orchard Orioles; 4 or 5 young making begging calls around an adult. Same with several groupings of Baltimore (Norhtern) Orioles. Young Song Sparrows are also accompanied by an adult - I netted one young bird and while I was extracting it an adult flew into the net close by anxious at its distress calls. Young Yellow Warblers seem to be on their own now though.

Banded 18: 1 DOWO, 3 BCCH, 1 AMRO, 2 GRCA, 5 YWAR, 1 NOCA, 3 SOSP, 2 AMGO.

Retrapped 2: 1 SOSP, 1 AMGO.



New birds continue to move through Selkirk every morning. Again another decent day. I forgot to bring home the log book but from memory the following are the birds banded (at least the total is correct)

Banded: MODO 1, DOWO 1, LEFL 1, EAPH 1, BCCH 2, AMRO 3, WAVI 2, YWAR 5, COYE 1, NOCA 1, RBGR 1, SOSP 3, SWSP 1,BHCO 1, AMGO 1 = 25


July 13th, 2006


"Decent" days continue at Selkirk.

Banded today: DOWO 1,BCCH 2, AMRO 2, GRCA 6, BRTH 1, CEDW 4, YWAR 4, RBGR 2, SOSP 4, RWBL 1, BHCO 1, AMGO 1 = 29

The Great St. Johnswort is in full bloom. Under the hawthorns a sign of fall is the litter on the ground of newly fallen leaves. The lance leaf goldenrod is coming out into bud. The cone crop on the white pines is rapidly maturing with the heavy ladden branches hanging down. The maturing crop this year in Selkirk should run into 1000's of cones. There appears to be a good number of little pine cones formed on some trees that will be next year's cone crop. White pines cones in case you are not aware of it take 2 years to mature. The young cones overwinter as small dark minature cones in this year's growth.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

July 11th, 2006


It was a beautiful early morning at Ruthven. There was a lot of bird activity along the edges - which didn't ease even as the sun got up and the day warmed. There are a lot of young birds fledging (especially Yellow Warblers and Song Sparrows) while some species are still defending territories (Indigo Buntings for example). All the American Goldfinches handled today were adults - no young have fledged yet.

I ended up handling 74 birds.

Banded 59: 1 MODO, 3 BCCH, 3 AMRO, 4 GRCA, 18 YWAR, 3 RBGR, 1 INBU, 9 SOSP, 1 BAOR, 1 OROR, 1 HOFI, 14 AMGO.

Retrapped 15: 1 SSHA, 1 AMRO, 1 GRCA, 1 REVI, 2 YWAR, 1 INBU, 1 CHSP, 1 SOSP, 1 BHCO,

Some of the retraps were interesting:
AMGO - banded October 2004
AMGO - banded September 2004
CHSP - July 2001
YWAR - July 2000
REVI - June 2004
SOSP - October 2003
SSHA - April 2006

Only had about half the nets open as the others are being used in the MAPS program. The nets used were: # 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9.


Bander Brian Pomfret moonlights as an exotic dancer in Toronto. Here he is seen with his interpretation of "Dance of the Faeries". Alcohol, a very great deal of alcohol, evidently enhances the appreciation of his performances.


Another decent July day at Selkirk today.

Banded: MODO 1, DOWO 2, BCCH 2, HOWR 1, AMRO 1, GRCA 1, CEDW 1, YWAR 2, RBGR 2, SOSP 1, RWBL 5, BHCO 2, AMGO 3 = 24

Selkirk has operated for 5 of the past 6 days and banded 147 birds. Most Augusts and a lot of Septembers Selkirk is hard pressed to band 300 birds for the entire month. Not sure what this good start means but most likely the wheel will fall off shortly and the day's banding totals will be back to between 5 & 10 birds per day.

Tomorrow morning's weather forecast is not promising so it could be a rain out morning.


July 9th, 2006


The day started off slow and it looked like slim pickens up to noon. However a mixed flock of birds obviously moved into the banding area as over 2/3 of the birds banded for the day were extracted while closing the nets.

Banded: DOWO 2, NRWS 1, BCCH 2, HOWR 1, AMRO 4, GRCA 1, CEDW 1, YWAR 7, SOSP 1, RWBL 1, BHCO 2, BAOR 5, AMGO 1 = 29.

The station will not be open Monday due to the weather, the need to get spring reports done plus sore hips and back. The station just does not need the down time experienced late last August and early September.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Rick's Arctic Sojourn

I just recently returned from Southampton Island - at the northern end of Hudson Bay. I spent 3 1/2 weeks working on a project at East Bay Island, the largest Common Eider colony in the Canadian Arctic with ~5,000 breeding pairs. We caught and banded 500 birds (mostly COEI's but also a few King Eiders). To catch them we strung salmon fishing nets, 100 m. long, on a cable strung between two 10 m. poles. As well as an aluminum band, we also attached coloured Darvic bands with numbers/letters on them for identification in coming years. As well, the females were afixed with coloured nasal tags so they could be monitored throughout this breeding season. [They sit continuously on their eggs except for a brief sojourn to the central pond for a drink.] These nasal tags are attached with a UV sensitive filament that will disintegrate, releasing the tags, by the end of the breeding season.

I spent one glorious day in a helicopter investigating the NE coast of Southampton Island, some large islands just north of it (White & Vansittart Islands), and Lyon Inlet on the Melville Peninsula looking for gull colonies (made up mostly of Thayer's Gulls with a few Glaucous Gulls).

I have included a few pictures to give you an idea of the country.


East Bay Island, Southampton Island, from the air - site of the largest Common Eider colony in the Canadian Arctic.

Salmon net, used for catching eiders.

Midnight in East Bay.

3AM, time to get up for banding.

Topography of the mainland of Southampton Island in the area of East Bay - excellent habitat for shorebirds, Sabine's Gulls, Arctic Terns, Red-throated and Pacific Loons.

The rugged NE coast of South Hampton Island.

Thayer's Gull habitat.

Lyon Inlet

Interior of the kitchen/dining tent. Note the propane stove.

Start of break-up.

Polar Bear - it was stalking 2 caribou that had wandered out on a spit of land sticking out into the ocean.

Pacific Loon - agitated by our closeness to its nest.

Sylvia Grinnell River and Park - just outside of Iqualuit. Rocky areas were home to Northern Wheatears.

Sylvia Grinnell River - above the falls.

July 8th, 2006


Another fairly decent day at Selkirk today as the post breeding dispursal seems in high gear.
The Great St. Johnswort is showing a lot of colour in the buds and should be open in another day or two. The Michigan Lilly in the woods seems to be at its peak bloom.

Banded: MODO 1, DOWO 2, YSFL 1, NRWS 1, AMRO 1, GRCA 1, CEDW 3, YWAR 1, SOSP 7, COGR 2, BHCO 2, AMGO 1 = 23


Ruthven - Forest Bird Monitoring Program

Spent the early morning back in the Slough Forest doing the Forest Bird Monitoring Program point count. I was struck by the large number of Veerys I encountered - at least 11 spread through the 5 points.

I then ventured over to the banding area at Ruthven to see what was happening. I couldn't help but open a couple of nets to see what birds were around. In just 1 hour of net time (with nets 1, 2, 5 and 7 open), I captured 15 birds.

Banded 14: 3 GRCA, 4 YWAR, 3 RBGR, 2 SOSP, 2 AMGO.
Retrapped 1: 1 YWAR

Had notice from the Banding Office that an AMGO retrapped by us in April of this year had been banded last November at Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory.

July 7th, 2006


Not as much activity as yesterday but still a pretty decent day for this time of the year.

: MODO 1, DOWO 1, TRFL 1, BCCH 1, AMRO 3, GRCA 3, CEDW 1, YWAR 3, SOSP 4, BHCO 1, BAOR 7 = 26.


Ruthven - MAPS banding results - actually occurred July 6th, 2006

The fourth session of MAPS banding took place on July 6th. In a complete contrast to Selkirk not much was moving around and very little birdlife was evident.

Even the mosquitoes were lethargic.

Retrapped 1: yes, 1! GRCA (usually there are scads)

First fledged YWAR (for Ruthven) of the season was banded.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Autumn already?

Selkirk - July 6th, 2006

Started up Selkirk today for the fall sesson. When opening it was discovered that the top 4 trammel shelf strings were cut/chewed about 3 inches from the loops on one net. It took close to 2 hours restringing the trammel lines and spicing pieces to fit. It appears either a squirrel or a mouse may have been after nesting material. Never the less a real pain to start the season off with.

Banding wise a bit of a surprise, have 15 retraps and banded the following: MODO 1, BCCH 6, HOWR 1, VEER 1, AMRO 4, GRCA 3, BRTH 1, CEDW 5, YWAR 2, COYE 1, NOCA 2, RBGR 2, INBU 1, SOSP 9, SWSP 1, COGR 1, BAOR 2, AMGO 2 = 45

The Veery is the first encountered in the park during the nesting season over the 9 summers banding has taken place. The same could be said for a MYWA singing as if on territory south of the banding trailer. MYWA occassionally show up very late in July but these appear to be birds that are moving around while in the process of molting.