Friday, 18 August 2017

duck banding revisited

Nicole From Norwich UK with northern shoveller  have to love that bill


Well I am more interested in talking about birds and banding then my failings as a blogger  but I think I clearly had too many photo's last time and I could not figure out how to  deal with the program so here I go again.
       Last night we had the chance to go duck banding  due to the efforts of the  Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry air boat program. This program has been running for years and  has had great success not only banding ducks but also banding  some non waterfowl species


Our very own crew member Andrew Aitchison heading out on the airboat



Starting up as a partnership with the the Unites  States Fish and Wildlife Service  the air boat program has had a long run of great success and the Hilliardton marsh is one of the air boats best places to band ducks . The US wanted to get a handle on the harvest rates of ducks but the issue for them is that many of the ducks they wish to harvest breed in the north. So they initially provided the funding for the airboat and crew to capture and band ducks in the north and we happen to live where all of these birds breed . Ducks Unlimited Canada enters the picture in helping to expand the breeding potential of these birds with the construction of the Hilliardton marsh.  We benefit because recently the airboat program has been trying to show its versatility by presenting the opportunity to band some non waterfowl species such as  Sora, Virginia  Rail and very recently  AmericanBbitterns
first ever bittern banded at marsh thanks to the airboat crew






a young sora seen and heard at the marsh rarely banded 



We are extremely grateful to the airboat crew to give us the opportunity to band birds that would not normally wander into our nets  and it shows the versatility of the airboat to be able to survey these other species if that was there mandate. The airboat crew is crisscrossing the north as well as other places in the province that they know waterfowl congregates at night allowing them to put lots of bands on ducks so the duck population can be monitored. Conservationists and hunters in both Canada and the USA should be very happy with the efforts of the crew and celebrate such a long lasting and effective partnership between our governments. Clearly migrating birds are not aware of political borders  and this a program like this is such a beacon of hope as we are trying to help understand the movement of birds across the continent and beyond 


Hired airboat crew and marsh volunteers and local MNRF employees making research happen at the marsh 

.....and the band goes on Chris Sukha with a banded American wigeon



Bittern sweet!!!!! Crew goes duck banding



our first banded American Bittern at the marsh thanks to the air boat crew
















































Monday, 14 August 2017

fall banding is going really well

Virginia Rail wandered in the net first time ever in a net!!!!!





Not sure really where to start I have so much data at my finger tips but do not know how to get it from an excel file to this blog . Sarah Bonnet the marsh intern is responsible for organizing all of our data so i think it best that she posts a blog to explain  the significance of everything. So for now I am going to break in town in very simple terms we are catching a lot of birds!!!!!!

Jocelin with a redtstart thanks for the Donation of blakc oil bird seed and cracked corn a big help for us  and much appreciated 




So far we have banded 1323 of 54 species and we are just into our third week. We have had  7 days banding over 100 bird our largest day being 154 on  august 10th and we had our biggest species day so far on the 11th catching 35 different species . We are so very fortunate to have such keen volunteers and hopefully the weather will hold out so that we can keep the research going .


our 9th  phoebe of the year what is going on !!!! That's more than the 5 we had banded in all time before this year and those were in the last 2 years



Well that is it for now just wanted to let you know  we are having a record banding fall and will have more details to follow shortrly


Bird is the word!!!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

rain gives us a chance to survey bird boxes catch an uncommon northern bird and update blog

Nicole showing respect for the chompers on a rose breasted grosbeak



Thursday August 3rd  77 birds
Friday August 4 rained out and rained out  Saturday August 5th

Chris however got a chance to get the feeder nets up for about an hour when he had a sunny period while the marsh crew  was away and while the volunteers took a break and went into town. Chris being all alone  and taking car of a few chores at the marsh threw up  the nets and was rewarded by catching a phoebe.   After never having banded a phoebe this is the third year in a row we have managed to band one. We banded three in 2015, 2 last year and another yesterday. While common in the south they are rare in our area and are perhaps another harbinger of the change we are seeing in birds in the north due to climate change.
Patrick Sadler  and Jaden Briand surveying tree swallow boxes at the north cobalt sewage lagoon

The crew had the chance to get to the sewage lagoons and survey bird boxes  as the tree swallows have all but taken off south. While there are a few birds still flying around the lagoons most of them have already scooted south. The survey results were excellent and the tree swallows seem to have taken advantage of the peak in the mosquito and black fly season anecdotally i would say we were over an 85% occupancy rate of the boxes  and the nesting success rate was extremely high as well. We still have to survey the boxes at the marsh but I will post details regarding the swallow  success when we are done.

Jaden checking out a box at the Newliskeard sewage lagoon

Partick and jaden  putting up at box near kern public school one of 22 the kids there  monitor each spring

Banding totals  for Thursday August 3rd

1 downy woodpecker
5 alder flycatcher
1 least  flycatcher
2 common grackle
1 american goldfinch
5 white throated sparrow
5 song sparrow
11 swamp sparrow
3 rose breasted grosbeak
2 cedar waxwing
1 red eyed vireo
4 black and white warbler
4 nashville warbler
1 cape may warbler
3 yellow warbler
1 magnolia warbler
3 chestnut sided warbler
1 ovenbird
2 mourning warbler
3 common yellowthroat
1 wilson's warbler
11 american redstart
1 golden crowned kinglet
1 ruby crowned kinglet
1 veery
2 swainson thrush

77 birds  27 species


cedar waxwing the crew calls them a super hero



oven bird  often we only catch 1 or 2 a spring  however last year we banded 40 in the fall and so far we have banded 9 this fall



so great to have bander in charge Chris Sukha  back


first Wilson's warbler back of the fall perhaps our first migrant of the fall as the other birds we have been catching  are probably local breeders



Marsh Crew member Jaden Briand


Cape may warbler most likely another migrant


black and white  warbler


Marsh Volunteer from Newmarket Joanne Hamilton



Marsh intern Sarah Bonnett

Pete and Sarah with a male and female rosebreasted grosbeak





male Rose Breasted grosbeak




Nicole calm and poised as ever


between net checks 


crew member Andrew Aitchison  with our 5th mourning dove of the fall


The crew checking out  a young golden crowned kinglet


golden crowned kinglet left and ruby crowned kinglet right  we do not catch many Golden crowns in the spring but we make up for it in the fall this was out first of the season


Once again I have to thanks and praise such a great group of volunteers we would never be able to carry out this research without all of the help of such a great group of people. A reminder to the public that the marsh welcomes visitors Monday to Saturday from 8 to 11 if you would like to come out and see the birds for yourself. If you are not local the birds are on their way south and early indications are the migration is going to be good get ready to bird  and band. I will try to keep the blog going as often as I can to keep folks updated on how our migration monitoring is going. Bird is the word .!! 




Wednesday, 2 August 2017

quick blog rained out in morning

kirkland lake stewardship rangers visit the banding lab




Had to wait until 9 30 to set nest up due to rain we still managed to have a few birds find the nets 

28 birds  16 species 

Pete banding a downy woodpecker


2 chestnut sided warbler
1 ruby crowned kinglet
3 nashville warbler
2 tenessee warbler
1 magnolia warbler
1 least flycatcher
3 alder flycatcher
2 american redstart
1 yellow rumped warbler
1 black capped chickadee
5 red eyed vireo
1 swamp saprrow
1 white throated sparrow
1 american goldfinch
1 doowny woodpecker
1 cedar waxwing




wanting to be like Pete

stay tuned more banding adventures to come