Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Honeybee hive at Ruthven

Here are some pictures of a large honeybee hive that was recently found on Ruthven's property. Quite phenomenal.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Selkirk Northern Saw-whet Owl Recovery

A Northern Saw-whet Owl 0924-03603 banded at Selkirk as a Hatch-year Female on October 26/2004 was recovered near Sudbury, Massachesetts (422-0711) October 30, 2006.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Dry Lake fall banding results

Dry Lake operates as a "backyard " operation, after work and on weekends/holidays when time is available. The location is extremely good for migrants, nesting and wintering birds. The station operator is a sub under John Miles and the results are included in the Haldimand Bird Observatory totals.

Several good birds were seen or banded there this fall. A Western Kingbird was present for a couple of days around Sept, 14th and see by many twitchers. Noteworthy bandings included 1 Olive-sided Flycatcher, 3 Brewster's Warblers, 3 Nortern Saw-whet Owls, 6 Rusty Blackbirds.
The following results are prelimiary subject to correction once the band manager inputting is checked. But 72 species plus 1 form of 940 birds is nothing to sneeze at.

Top 10 banded

Gray Catbird 125
White-throated Sparrow 91
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 78
American Goldfinch 64
American Robin 49
Baltimore Oriole 29
Song Sparow 27
Chipping Sparrow 25
Traill's Flycatcher 24
Yellow Warbler 24

John Miles

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Anti-vehicle Ditches

In an effort to reduce ATV incursions into Ruthven Park property the Lower Grand River Land Trust has built a series of anti-vehicle ditches. Stewardship Committee member Carol Desoer demonstrates their effectiveness.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Selkirk's final banding days in Fall 2006

Selkirk's tenative fall banding season totals

The Selkirk Provincial Park's field station of the Haldiamnd Bird Observatory operated from July 6 through to November 12 for a total of 102 days, 78% coverage was provided. 3883 birds of 85 species were banded. The individual total is the station's best banding season. The 85 species is the station's 2nd lowest total since fall coverage started in 1998.

The following is a preliminary listing of the birds banded pending checking ot the Band Manager inputting. Some minor switches have been know to occur.

From the AOU number order:

Morning Dove 45 (best fall)
Sharp-shinned Hawk 16
N. Saw-whet Owl 4
Black-billed Cuckoo 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 31 (best banding season)
Yellow-shafted Flicker 3
Great-crested Flycatcher 2
Eastern Phoebe 12 (best banding season)
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1
Eastern Wood Pewee 6
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 9
Traill's Flycatcher 15
Least Flycatcher 12
Blue Jay 38
Brown-headed Cowbird 12
Red-winged Blackbird 16
Baltimore Oriole 33
Common Grackle 5
American Goldfinch 139 (best fall)
E. White-crowned Sparrow 7
White-throated Sparrow 143
American Tree Sparrow 8
Chipping Sparrow 2
Field Sparrow 1
Slate-colored Junco 371
Song Sparrow 123
Lincoln's Sparrow 3
Swamp Sparrow 13
Fox Sparrow 22
Eastern Towhee 2
Northern Cardinal 29
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 20
Indigo Bunting 11
Scarlet Tanager 1
Tree Swallow 5
N. Rough-winged Swallow 2
Cedar Waxwing 62 (new banding season high)
Red-eyed Vireo 52 (new banding sesson high)
Philadelphia Vireo 4 (new banding season high)
Warbling Vireo 7 ( ties previous best banding season high)
Blue-headed Vireo 20 (ties previous best banding season high)
Black-and-white Warbler 22
Lawrence's Warbler 1 (ties previous best banding season high)
Nashville Warbler 76
Orange-crowned Warbler 6
Tenneessee Warbler 13
Northern Parula 1
Cape May Warbler 4
Yellow Warbler 90
Black-throated Blue Warbler 45
Myrtle Warbler 111
Magnolia Warbler 168
Chestnut-sided Warbler 12
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Blackpoll Warbler 14
Blackburnian Warbler 5
Black-throated Green Warbler 9
Pine Warbler 2
W. Palm Warbler 11
Ovenbird 48
Northern Waterthrush 5
Mourning Warbler 5
Common Yellowthroat 50 (new fall high)
Wilson's Warbler 10
Canada Warbler 7
American Redstart 70 (new banding season high)
Gray Catbird 94 (new fall high)
Brown Thrasher 4
Carolina Wren 1
House Wren 25
Winter Wren 19
Brown Creeper 88 (new banding season high)
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 13
E. Tufted Titmouse 2
Black-capped Chickadee 70
Golden-crowned Kinglet 662 (new banding seasson high)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 518
Wood Thrush 1
Veery 6
Grey-cheeked Thrush 24
Grey-cheeked/Bicknell's Thrush 1
Swainson's Thrush 52
Hermit Thrush 82
American Robin 122 (new banding season high)

November 12th

We closed the station down for the season today. Hopefully Selkirk will be up and running sometime in mid/late March next spring.

Closed down with a pretty decent day which should make this fall's the best fall ever Selkirk. The running total in the log book is 3871 but this may be about 10 birds light to what Band manager's total may end up at. The species total in the mid 80's is low but that is the way it is.

Banded: NSWO 2, DOWO 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 7, RCKI 1 (female), HETH 1, COYE 1, ATSP 1, WTSP 2, SCJU 7, AMGO 4 = 28


November 11th

There was about a 5 hour window this morning that we took advanage of and did some banding. Not much a round compared to most days over the past 40 days or so. Banding totals more in line with what I would have expected at this time of the year. Variety but not numbers. The RCKI was another female for those at Ruthven to ponder over.

Banded BCCH 1, GCKI 2, RCKI 1, HETH 1, NOCA 1, WTSP 1 =7

FTD 3843 (best fall 3850!!!) Rick as you predicted Selkirk may make a new banding season high this fall. Over 400 birds banded at Selkirk so far this November, unbelievable.


November 10th

I was off to a funeral today but the crew reported a very good day for the middle of November. Apparently the diurnal flight was something else. Over 40,000 Redwings alone were recorded going over.

Banding wise, banded: DOWO 1, BLJA 1,GCKI 4, RCKI 1,HETH 2, ATSP 5!!!!, SOSP 1, WTSP 1, SCJU 25 (over 350 banded this fall now), AMGO 3 = 44

FTD should be 3836 if the running total in the log book is correct. this is 14 birds shy of my best fall ever at Selkirk. To think that at the beginning of October I would have been plesed to have reached 3000 for the fall. October was real steady with no really large days. November normally has 1-2 days over 25 birds and a lot of 5-10 bird days. This Novmeber 17 has been the low day with most days in the 30-40 or better bird range. Unbelievable!!!


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Selkirk - November 6th - 9th, 2006

November 9th

The birds continue to move through Selkirk in steady numbers. American Tree Sparrows continue to be absent this fall.

Another pretty decent day. Banded: BLJA 2, GCKI 6, RCK 2, FOSP 1, WTSP 2, SCJU 28
AMGO 1 = 42

FTD 3792


November 8th

Not nearly as productive at Selkirk today as compared to the past 2 days but still a pretty decent banding day. The diurnal flight this morning was pretty good with 1000's of grackles, and 1000's redwings, lots of E. Bluebirds and a some robins going over for starters.

Banded: BCCH 2, GCKI 4, RCKI 1, HETH 1, NOCA 1, FOSP 1, SOSP 2, WTSP 1, SCJU 10 = 23


November 7th

The forecast was not encouraging for today. The parking lot was wet this morning, it was raining in Canborough so we decided to check the conditions around 6 am rather than stricking out in the dark. After 6 we decided to try a late start as nothing conclusive could be determined from the radar images.

The station was operational by 7:30 and a few birds were present. Other than a couple of short sprinkles the weather held off really well. Shortly after 1 a light rain settled in and we closed.
Banding wise a fairly productive day for the end of the first week of Noveber.

Banded: DOWO 1, BCCH 1, WBNU 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 19, RCKI 9, NOCA 1, FOSP 1, WTSP 1, SCJU 13 = 48


November 6th

A nice November day at Selkirk. Pleasant and sunny mainly. The trails are drying up. The worst sections are now tacky instead of soupy so the mud is sticking to the boots but that is a positive sign. Bird wise a good day number wise but variety is dropping off. Lots of diurnal migrants this morning. 1000's going over.

Banded: BCCH 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 6, RCKI 3, SCJU 29 = 40


Sunday, November 05, 2006

November 5th, 2006 - Ruthven's final day of fall banding


A good finish to an interesting season.

Light southerly winds and overcast skies during the night is always good for banding at Ruthven. And so it was today - the last day of the Fall banding season here. We had a couple of good rounds before the wind picked up and bird movement tailed off noticeably. One interesting sighting was a small flock of Tundra Swans going by from west to east. I heard their beautiful call long before I was able to spot them.

Banded 55:
2 Brown Creeper
5 Golden-crowned Kinglet
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
4 Hermit Thrush
1 Blue-headed Vireo
1 American Tree Sparrow
5 Fox Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrow
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
10 Slate-coloured Junco
18 American Goldfinch.

Retrapped 29:
3 Downy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
10 Black-capped Chickadee (interestingly, most were caught at the same time in Net #10)
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 White-throated Sparrow
7 Slate-coloured Junco
3 American Goldfinch

Our Fall total is approximately 2,063 and our year total is approximately 4,886. I say 'approximately' because I have yet to enter the Fall data into the database. Usually there is a discrepancy between the count total and the electronic total due to......human error. (I then have to painstakingly go over the banding sheets to find the discrepancy.)

Thanks to everyone that helped make this season so productive and enjoyable!



As we progress into November the number of birds present and the variety falls off but the odd surprise does pop up. Today this trend was evident. However, a Monarch Butterfly was seen moving west today.

1 BCCH (Black-capped Chickadee)
1 RBNU (Red-breasted Nuthatch)
2 BRCR (Brown Creeper)
3 GCKI (Golden-crowned Kinglet)
3 RCKI (Ruby-crowned Kinglet)
1 HETH (Hermit Thrush)
1 MYWA (Myrtle Warbler)
1 FOSP (Fox Sparrow)
4 SCJU (Slate-colored Junco)

Total = 17


November 2nd- 4th, 2006

November 4th


It was cold (-5) and clear at opening time. A couple of White-throated Sparrows sang and chipped at me from the margins as I opened (but we didn't catch any of them today). There was a flurry of activity early but it petered out after that. For this time of year, we had pretty good variety for ET's - 39 species, the highlight being the first Rough-legged Hawk of the winter season (in fact, it was the first one encountered this year). I saw it just as I was closing the front gate on my way home.

Banded 34:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglet (including a very late female)
2 Hermit Thrush
2 American Robin
3 American Tree Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
14 Slate-coloured Junco
7 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 13:
6 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Brown Creeper
1 Hermit Thrush
1 Northern Cardinal
2 Slate-coloured Junco
2 American Goldfinch

Interestingly, we have not encountered a single Purple Finch this Fall despite having banded a record number of them last year. Could this be due to the excellent cone crop being reported in the north?



A cool but sunny morning although the wind was strong enough in the open to make it raw on the hands. Bird Numbers have dropped substantially over the past couple of days but still pretty decent numbers for early November. ATSP (American Tree Sparrows) continue to be far and few. We have banded only 2 and have 1 retrap from last spring. That has been it period.

Banded: DOWO 1, BLJA 1, RBNU 1, GCKI 4, RCKI 1, HETH 2, EATO 1, SOSP 1, WTSP 4, SJCU 9 = 25

FTD 3622


November 3rd


Clear and cold at dawn this morning. Opening was delayed until it could warm up a bit. The day saw ever increasing wind and cloud cover. Not much in the nets lanes although there was some life around the feeders. My faithful flock of EUST (European Starling) seems to have departed.

A small flock of BUFF (Bufflehead) were observed on the river, and a lone frigid TRES (Tree Swallow) foraged fruitlessly in the -6C temperatures. A few TUVU (Turkey Vultures) were still in evidence following the river southwards.

Around midday a lone GRYE (Greater Yellowlegs) was observed flying over the park.

Banded 15: NOCA, FOSP 2, SOSP 3, SCJU 5, AMGO 4

Retrapped 10: BCCH 6, AMGO, WBNU 2, SCJU



A cool but sunny day for most of the time. Lake effect snows stayed south of Lake Erie. However a good heavy freeze overnight with shaded area still iced over when we left mid afternoon.

Bird wise numbers have dropped off substantially but still darn good for November. Anything over 10 I would consider good this time of the year.

Banded: BCCH 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 4, RCKI 2, HETH 1, OCWA 1, SOSP 1,WTSP 4, SCJU 8 = 23


November 2nd


A quiet dawn....followed by a quiet morning....ending with a cold, windy slightly-louder-but-equally-birdless early afternoon. Not much around the nets but there were some oddities such as an EATO (Eastern Towhee; always nice) and a semi-albino HETH (Hermit Thrush) with large white blotches of white on its rects, coverts, primaries and secondaries. It actually looked fairly sharp.

A very cold Clouded Sulphur was found sheltering in the grass near Net 10.

In other banding news I received notification about a MALL (Mallard) I banded in 1990 being shot near London this fall. The bird was at least 16 years old.


Retrapped 10: BCCH 4, DOWO, SCJU, BRCR, NOCA, AMGO 2



The day started off with lots of sun and no wind but by noon hour it was getting a little raw. Still a good number of birds present for early November. So far the ATSP (American Tree Sparrows) have failed to arrive. Just 2 stragglers so far.

Banded: BLJA 1, BCCJ 1, RBNU 1, GCKI 17, RCKI 4, HETH 4, NAWA 1, FOSP 2, SCJU 31, AMGO 1 = 63

As promised, Nov. 1st figures. I might add that finally after nearly a week of hearing BLJA (Blue Jays) and RBNU (Red-breasted Nuthatches) protesting in the pines we had a look. A LEOW (Long-eared Owl) was in the pines behind the banding trailer.

Banded; BRCR 4, GCKI 24, RCKI 10, BHVI 1, NOCA 1, ATSP 1, FOSP 3, SOSP 2, SWSP 1, WTSP 2, EWCS 1, SCJU 27 = 77