It was a successful four days of banding this week with a nice variety of birds. On Thursday the 9th, 59 birds were captured with 25 of those being recaptures, mainly catbirds. While opening nets I heard the distinct "three beers!" song of the Alder Flycatcher, brief but identifiable, directly behind the 2nd net I opened. "Hmmm", I thought to myself, "I wonder if it will be in the net next time I come by." Of course it was! It ended up being a recapture of what I identified as a "Traill's" on August 28th. I decided to go ahead and do the calculations to see how it fit in the scatter diagram shown in Pyle (a bander's ID book) as a possible way to differentiate Willow Flycatcher from Alder Flycatcher, known collectively as Traills when the two can't be separated as they can look identical. It ended up landing very far outside the area of overlap on Alder side, so I will add that to my notes when sending in the record to the Bird Banding Lab.
Our first Canada Warbler of the year was caught today, a hatch year, sexed conservatively as unknown, but probable female with no black flecking in the crown and short wing.
There were many vireos today, mostly Red-eyed, but I did manage to capture both Philadelphia (PHVI) and Warbling Vireos (WAVI) too. Since I had them on the same round I was able to get a head comparison photo for the PHVI and WAVI. Occasionally we capture birds not so easily identifed, such as a very pale Phili, but banders have a useful feather characteristic that can easily distinguish between the two. The top photo is the Red-eyed Vireo, followed by WAVI and then PHVI below:
Here is a comparision of the Philadelphia (left) and Warbling (right) together:
Note the much thicker white area above the eye (supercilium) and darker eye line in the PHVI. The underparts of another PHVI pictured below wasn't as yellow as the other ones I captured this week.
One look at the very last feather on the wing beside the primary coverts can tell them apart. The outermost primary feather (p10) on the WAVI is longer or equal in length to the primary coverts,
while p10 on the PHVI is diminished in size.It is barely seen in this photograph.
A neat bird today was a juvenile Saltmarsh Sparrow, caught near the net where I captured an adult female with a brood patch on July 30th, which I'm assuming is the mom. This bird was still in full juvenal plumage so must have been hatched in the surrounding salt marsh.
I'm sure it got forced into the net with the exceptionally high tide today. Unfortunately even with my boots I got stuck and ended up with a wet fanny! At least Gracie enjoyed herself!
On Friday, September 10th our first Black-and-white Warbler of the fall came in, a hatch year female. She had a good deal of buffiness around the face and relatively indistinct breast streaking.
A good clue to check for age in Black-and-whites is to look at the 2nd alula feather. The white area is broken, not forming a "V" in hatch year birds. The alula feathers are the last three feathers sitting on top of the primary coverts at the upper outer edge of the wing. You might need to click on the photo to see the tiny black replaced alula covert (A1, top feather) and A2 below it. See the white edges that don't touch at the tip of the feather?
Now compare to an adult. The 2nd small feather in from the outside edge has the white edge wrapping right around the feather:
I had another American Redstart , a hatch year male
I also had an Ovenbird, 2 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and the Swainson's Warbler was recaptured today! The bird still hadn't put any fat on which led me to think it might stay for a bit. Here is Mary Keleher releasing the bird with Peter Bono, both Cape Cod Bird Club members.
On Saturday I held a banding demonstration to help offset the cost of running the banding station. It was a fun day! I always enjoy sharing my love of birds and watching the smiles as people were able to experience different species they'd never seen. We had a good variety of birds. They learned how we capture them and transport them back to the table.
and the importance of banding.
Gretchen was able to keep the flow going. She banded while I talked.
Both Peter Brown and Carolyn Kennedy were busy collecting birds at the nets for us. Here is Carolyn showing off some of our birds too.
They learned how we band birds
and were able to see a tick on a catbird
Besides an Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Philadelphia and Red-eyed Vireos, our first Palm Warbler (Western) and some common birds, they also were able to see a Wilson's Warbler
and our first Veery of the fall.
They were able to experience a "confusing fall warbler", a Blackpoll and see how different the male looks in the spring.
Everyone was able to release a bird!
Even the little ones got in on the action.
Thanks to all who made this a wonderful day- Gretchen, Carolyn, Peter and Myles Marcus from the museum who along with Julie O'Neil led participants out to the island from the museum. Thank you also to Julie for supplying the wonderful photos of our day.
I'll be doing another banding demo this Saturday, Sept 18 from 9-10:30. Meet at the museum front door. $5.00. Come join in the fun!!
Sunday, was another busy day, 85 birds in all, with 50 being new birds banded . Highlights of the 20 species handled included a late Yellow Warbler, so pale it took me a minute to realize what it was! It could possibly be an Alaskan subspecies, Dendroica petechia rubiginosa.
It had just a touch of yellow in the tail.
We banded our first Northern Parula for the year, a hatch year male
another Yellow-bellied Flycather
But the coolest bird of the day was a bird Gretchen took out on the last round- American Woodcock! This inland shorebird has bred on the island since 2005 after the town cleared half of the island for meadow restoration.
This was a hatch year male based on a molt limit in the wings and measurements.
They have beautiful plumage and a neat tail.
The following birds were seen, heard, or captured between 9-12 September. Numbers reflect captured birds only.
Total Birds: 233 Total Species: 71
Total Banded Species: 35 Birds/100 net-hours: 53
Great Blue Heron
American Woodcock -1
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Horned Owl
Ruby-throated Hummingbird -5
Downy Woodpecker -2
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher- 2
Alder Flycatcher -1
Traill's Flycatcher -2
Eastern Phoebe -9
Blue Jay -2
Black-capped Chickadee- 25
Tufted Titmouse- 6
Carolina Wren -4
House Wren -3
American Robin -3
Gray Catbird -95
Warbling Vireo -1
Philadelphia Vireo -3
Red-eyed Vireo -15
Northern Parula -1
Yellow Warbler -1
Palm Warbler -1
Blackpoll Warbler -2
Black-and-white Warbler -1
American Redstart -1
Swainson's Warbler -1
Northern Waterthrush -1
Common Yellowthroat -14
Wilson's Warbler -4
Canada Warbler -1
Yellow-breasted Chat -2
Eastern Towhee -3
Saltmarsh Sparrow -1
Song Sparrow -8
House Finch- 1
American Goldfinch- 7