Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Just when i thought it could not get any better it got better!!!

 Well once again my plan to post all of our results though the spring has been thwarted by fatigue and life  and maintaining a banding  station and coordinating volunteers and well playing with volunteers which includes fishing and  more banding at our Dawson point site.  Once things slow down i will try and catch up. We have had our best spring on record and today we captured species 72 and 73 . About a week ago we banded our first ever Connecticut warbler and our first documentation of a pine warbler then today we caught our third nelson sparrow in the last three years and if that was not enough we banded the stations  first ever indigo bunting which is something for  a station in the north east. despite having the occasional sighting in the north east i never dreamed one would show up at the marsh!! It has all been made possible by the many hard working volunteers who make banding fun every day !!! I would love to write more ut i have to get to bed . What is going to happen at the marsh tomorrow ???

pine warbler

first ever banded Connecticut warbler for marsh

neslons sparrow

bander  Sarah Bonnet 4th station record

on our down time we band at our Dawson point station

Sarah banded her second first of the day the stations first indigo bunting

Monday, 15 May 2017

may 15th 6 new species

sharp shinned hawk 
After the first net check we knew the white crowns had moved in but we never thought we were about to almost catch 100 in one day. The feeder nets and the j trap were working well and we were kept us hopping. the bulk of all the birds were captured before 10 am but we started putting the nets up at 530 this morning and it will get earlier yet as sunrise keeps creeping earlier. Thanks to the dedication of volunteers  Rick Caldwell, Barbara Babinski and Nicole Blackburn and our bander in charge Chris Sukha. Unfortunately we got too busy to get a photo of the catbird that rounded our new species total to 6 birds today.   I think the warbler wave is going to hit by the weekend  and we cannot wait. Reinforcement are coming and we will be ready with 5 more  banders and people who can run the nets. look to future blogs for more exciting news from the Hilliardton Marsh as we continue to monitor the spring migration.

northern water thrush

lincoln sparrow

rusty blackbird

nicole  with the first sharpie of the year which she banded 
Rick Caldwell with a common yellow throat I was sure this was a good photo of both....not!!! Well at least rick looks good !

Today's totals  May 15th

1 sharp shinned hawk
2 downy woodpecker
2 least flycatcher
13 red winged blackbird
2 rusty blackbird
4 pine siskin
1 purple finch
12 american goldfinch
7 american tree sparrow
2 swamp sparrow
1 lincoln sparrow
12 white throated sparrow
98 white crowned sparrow !!!!!
10 nashville warbler
6 orange crowned warbler
1 norther water thrush
1 common yellow throat
1 ruby crowned kinglet
1 grey catbird

186 birds  22 species

Sunday, 14 May 2017

migration update the second week of may

second year male rose breasted grosbeak

Well this past week we put up descent numbers  but we are still waiting for the warblers to push through but word from the south is that north winds have held up the migration but we are optimistic that they will be arriving very soon. So without much ado here are the photo highlights of the week along with our banding totals

brown creeper

May 8th
Ruby crowned kinglet 10
brown creeper 1
red breasted nuthatch 1
American tree sparrow  8
slate coloured junco 1
white throated sparrow  5
palm warbler  1
yellow rumped warbler 7
pine siskin 1
evening grosbeaks 3
downy woodpecker 1
red winged blackbird 16
common grackle 4

59 birds  13 species

Tuesday may 9th late start due to snow nets were frozen!!!

3 ruby crowned kinglet
3 slate coloured junco 1 swamp sparrow
1 swamp sparrow
1 white throated sparrow
4 purple finch
1 evening grosbeak
15 red winged blackbird

Can and Nicole with an evening grosbeak and snow on the ground !!!

nashville warbler 

orange crowned warbler

white crowned and white throated sparrow for capmaprison

Wednesday may 10th

11 red winged blackbird
2 evening grosbeak
31 american tree sparrow
1 pine siskin
5 white throated sparrow
3 swamp sparrow
1 orange crowned warbler
3 nashville warbler
4 palm warbler
8 yellow rumped warbler
2 american robin

cam with a female ruby crowned kinglet

Barbara with our first american goldfinch of the year

Thursday  May 11th

1 purple finch
1 american goldfinch
15 american tree sparrows
1 chipping sparrow
2 swamp sparrow
2 song sparrow
12 white throated sparrow
9 white crowned sparrow
1 slate coloured junco
2 nashville warblers
5 yellow rumped warblers
2 palm warblers
1 black capped chickadees

male yellow bellied sapsucker

beautiful male cape may warbler 

First veery of the year was a retrap

Friday May 12th

1 yellow bellied  sapsucker
3 downy woodpecker
10 red winged blackbird
1 common grackle
3 purple finch
1 american goldfinch
12 american tree sparrow
5 song sparrow
9 swamp sparrow
20 white throated sparrow
5 white crowned sparrow
2 cape may warbler
3 nashville warbler
2 palm warbler
4 yellow rumped warbler
2 black capped chickadee
8 ruby crowned  kinglet
4 american robin

95 birds  18 species

savannah saprrow

first least flycatcher of the year was a retrap as well

Nicole with a mourning dove uncommon for the banding site

Nicole with the rose breasted grosbeak

a very unusual plumage for a swamp sparrow 

Saturday May 13th

1 downy woodpecker
12 red winged blackbird
5 common grackle
4 purple finch
7 american goldfinch
1 Savannah sparrow
3 white crowned sparrow
7 white throated sparrow
2 slate coloured junco
5 swamp sparrow
1 orange crowned warbler
1 cape may warbler
1 yellow rumped warbler
2 palm warbler
1 mourning dove
1 ruby crowned kinglet
1 american robin

55 birds  17 species

helping kids from St Pat's in Cobalt put up some tree swallow boxes  a thrill for HMREC to help out!!!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

yellow headed blackbird perhaps the bird of the year!!! banded may 5th

A beautiful adult male 

In november of 2014 Chris Sukaha told me that he heard the chip note just once of a  northern cardinal at the marsh. We decided to put up another feeder net and  20 minutes later the marsh had its first ever cardinal banded.  So it was with great excitement that Chris came back yellow headed blackbird to the birdhouse and told he had heard a  yellow headed blackbird calling . This time it took more than 20 minutes and instead of a net the yellow headed blackbird found its way into our brand new J trap.  Lucky we have a J trap!!!!  The other lucky thing is that Nicole and i had to go and help get ready for  the marsh doing the bar fundraiser for the annual ducks unlimited dinner.  Good thing that we still had Chris Sukha and Barb Baginski to carry on banding while we were gone or we would never have caught the yellow headed

This is the second ever yellow headed we have ever caught at the marsh and after the first one i never thought we would ever see a yellow headed ever again. the first one was banded way back in 2000 and was caught at the feeder nets. it was the only yellow headed banded that year and this may very well prove to be the same there are many years that no one ever gets a chance to band one in Ontario. Yellow headed blackbirds are common to the west and are abundant in marshes particularly in manitoba and saskatchewan. The range maps  have a distinct line west of the great lakes. many places in manitoba consider them as common as we have red winged blackbirds. it must be an incredible sight to see a marsh alive with yellow headed  blackbirds although their call is nowhere as nice as our beautiful red winged  konkaree!!!
 I thought it was of great interest that the day we banded the yellow headed that there was a sighting of a yellow headed blackbird at point pelee in southern ontario.

Barb was the one who found him in the j trap. She told me all she saw was a flash of yellow and started to run! Glad she did  the last yellow headed to my knowledge was banded at long point  bird observatory in 2015 and they banded the only one in ontario. In  comparison  long point banded 956 red winged blackbirds and there were  1641 banded across the province. Everyone celebrates the sighting let alone banding of a yellow headed blackbird. Well done Chris and barb, Chris Sukah was the one that banded the bird and joins a select group of ontario banders to be so lucky. Now i cannot wait for Chris to say , Murph I think I heard a .......

Thursday, 4 May 2017

warblers and others flocking to the marsh

Every year I have the best intention to wax poetic about every returning bird  but after waking up early and  with a little running around  I am  always am playing catch up, this year apparently is no different . What follows is a photo recap of the last three days. We were rained out on Monday, but from Tuesday to Thursday we had some interesting arrivals and we banded our 1200th American tree sparrow!!! Thanks to our new J trap and three feeder nets. Cannot wait to see where some of them will show up!! Thanks to the efforts of the bander in charge Chris Sukha, and our two volunteer interns  Nicole Blackburn and Barb Babinski for all of their effort and expertise.

colour banded  robin just a fluke  the robin and Chris are colour co-ordinated

One project I would like to comment on is a cooperative project referred to as "Team Turdus" it involves colour marking robins to see how many will return to the same site with the potential for putting locators on some birds next year.This is an international effort coordinated by Alex Jahn at the Migratory Bird Center  at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Geolocators can track the movements of these birds on their migration the challenge is you have to catch a bird a second time to get the gizmo off the bird  then put the chip in a computer to see where it has been in between captures. We are excited about being part of this research and hope to add a piece to the migration puzzle.

our first black and white warbler of the year a little earlier then expected

Nicole and the black and white  from the "back corner" nets

first golden crowned kinglet

Fox Sparrow our largest sparrow  always exciting!

Tuesdays  May 2nd totals

11 ruby crowned kinglets
4 golden crowned kinglets
1 american robin
1 black capped chickadees
1 black and white warbler
1 fox sparrow
4 slate coloured junco's
1 swamp sparrow
14 american tree sparrow
6 white throated sparrow

44 birds
10 species
Reed and John a trip to the marsh before their tree planting spring begins

Wednesday May 3rd

ruby crowned kinglet 12
american tree sparrow 17
palm warbler  1
swamp sparrow 2
song sparrow 3
white throated sparrow 4
red winged blackbird  9

48 birds
7 species

Nicole took out of the net and banded the years first palm warbler

comparing chipping sparrow on the left and american tree sparrow on the right

The Glamour of banding sipping wine lakeside after a great day of banding 

super Sukha! Could have been super soaker!!!

Amigo stalwart river net companion

can you spot the yellowlegs?

1200 club Chris, Nicole. Barb, and Melissa pause to celebrate a milestone for the marsh our 1200th american tree sparrow


ruby crowned kinglet 2
brown headed cowbird 1
red winged blackbird  22
slate coloured junco  9
american tree sparrow   18
swamp sparrow   1
white throated sparrow   3
purple finch 1
black capped chickadees   8
palm warbler    2

67 birds
10 species

brown headed cowbird