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Autumn ringing, week 8 – Golden-winged Warbler!

Definitely a week of extremes – from a 295 bird day to  a day with only 22 birds. Ringing tick for Ian of Conneticut Warbler and “bird of the week” has to be the Golden-winged Warbler that turned up in the net on the 2nd September – the first time since 1996 one has been captured and banded here.

28th August 2009

A pretty busy day with a good selection of birds – 166 birds of 25 spp ringed, the majority being Tennessee Warblers (55), Yellow Warblers (34) and American Redstarts (21). A new bird for the Autumn was Cliff Swallow – only the second one ever to be ringed as part of the Migration Monitoring Programme at Delta, the last one was in 1996. There are never many Cliff Swallows ringed here despite the large number of juvenile birds that are around at this time of year.

No. ringed today: 166
No. of species today: 25
Ringed so far this season: 3255
Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

After lunch we headed off with Heidi, Ana and Belen to Winnipeg to visit Mountain Equipment Co-op so Heidi and Ian could spent their photo contest winnings of $50 each. A couple more shops then off to have a last supper with Ana and Belen as they head off to Uni in Saskatoon tomorrow to start their Masters. Carel, Jennifer and Lyndsay met us at the restaurant and plenty of beer and wine was supped and good food eaten. A good evening and we got home late, for us, at around 11pm. Any later and we’d have turned into pumpkins.

Catch of the day? Taken in Cabella's which is a big huntin' shootin' fishin' outfitters in Winnipeg. Ian was eyeing up the camoflague long-johns and i found a rather fetching camo bikini. The question we asked ourselves was why would anyone WANT camo underwear or bikini.

Catch of the day? Taken in Cabella's which is a big huntin' shootin' fishin' outfitters in Winnipeg. Ian was eyeing up the camoflague long-johns and i found a rather fetching camo bikini. The question we asked ourselves was why would anyone WANT camo underwear or bikini.

29th August 2009

Well, what can i say about today apart from “phew, what a day!”. The wind was northerly still but not too strong, it was just Ian and myself today as Heidi was driving Ana and Belen over to Saskatoon to get them settled ready to start their Master’s studies there. We knew when we were opening the nets that there were quite a few birds around. We were getting reasonable numbers each round which gradually built up over the morning. By 10 o’clock we were taking it in turns and were either ringing (doing ring and fling and scribing for ourselves) or emptying nets. Whoever was on net emptying duty was coming back festooned with birds – the small mixed flocks of (mainly) warblers were filling up the nets. Luckily not all the nets were getting filled up each time. We had two new species for the Autumn – Olive-sided Flycatcher (i never fail  to be impressed by these large flycatchers) and Blackpoll Warbler. We ended the 6 hours with 295 birds ringed of 25 species. An impressive 17 species of warbler were ringed – Black and White, Nashville, Tennessee, Cape May, Yellow, Myrtle, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, Blackburnian, Wilson’s and Canada Warblers, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat and American Redstart.

Olive-sided Flycatcher. Not much time to photograph anything else today!

Olive-sided Flycatcher. Not much time to photograph anything else today!

No. ringed today: 295
No. of species today: 28
Ringed so far this season: 3550

30th August 2009

A more relaxing day today after the hectic time yesterday and the winds have gone southerly. Josh was able to help us today as he’d finished his duties as TA (Teaching Assistant) on the Field Ecology course that is being held here this week. No new species but a nice mix of birds including 5 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks – all juvenile birds – managed not to get savaged by them today ;-) Plenty of time for general observations (birding inbetween net rounds) – still a reasonable amount of birds around, lots of swallows and unusual for here 28 Purple Martins were seen, nice spots as were a Cooper’s Hawk and a Broad-winged Hawk (perhaps indicating a bit of raptor migration getting under way?).

this cheeky ground squirrel kept coming in and out of our ringing room today

this cheeky ground squirrel kept coming in and out of our ringing room today

No. ringed today: 115
No. of species today: 21
Ringed so far this season: 3665

It was such a lovely evening we decided to have a fire on the beach – mainly because there IS a beach at last. The wind has a terrific effect on the lake – Lake Manitoba is very shallow and the north wind blows the water in, covering the beach and a southerly makes the water recede leaving a lovely sandy beach. Before supper i dug a fire pit and collected wood so when beer o’clock came we were ready. What a great way to spend an evening!

Can't beat beer o'clock on the beach!

Can't beat beer o'clock on the beach!...

...and a fabulous sunset.

...and a fabulous sunset.

31st August 2009

A VERY slow day. At least it gave Josh the chance to ring. On the first net round i leapt off my bike and ran for it when i spotted a raptor in net 8. A lovely juvenile female Sharp-shinned Hawk which Josh banded. There weren’t even many birds around along the ridge today and the afternoon birding was hard going.

Josh ringing the Sharpie

Josh about to ring the Sharpie

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Data entry in our room at what must be the most plush bird observatory in the world.

Data entry in our room at what must be the most plush bird observatory in the world.

No. ringed today: 36
No. of species today: 12
Ringed so far this season: 3701

1st September 2009

First Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the Autumn. Another raptor-induced heart-stopping moment as i arrived at net 4 to find a Broad-winged Hawk in the bottom panel – i leapt off my bike and ran for it but it flapped and was away. Damn! (Plus a string of other, unprintable stuff). Ian spent the next couple of hours making fun, telling everyone “we’d have had a Broad-winged Hawk but Yvonne let it go”. Divine  retribution was in the air however because a Broad-winged Hawk appeared in net 12 and guess what? Yup, Ian let it escape LOL!! ;-)

No. ringed today: 22
No. of species today: 16
Ringed so far this season: 3723

2nd September 2009

What an exciting day! The first good bird out of the net was a ringing tick for Ian – Conneticut Warbler. We also had Mourning Warbler so it was interesting to compare the two species – Conneticut Warbler has a complete eye ring in all plumages and a wing length of over 65mm, p9 is longer than p6 by at least 3.5mm compared to Mourning Warbler in which the hatch year and adult female birds usually have eye arcs and will have a wing length less than 65mm and p9 is usually shorter than p6. (Note: I have numbered the primaries as per the convention here where p1 is the innermost primary. In Europe using Svensson’s id guide the innermost primary would be numbered p10 – although when scoring primary moult the innermost primary is numbered p1 – yeah i know, confusing huh!)

Conneticut Warbler

Conneticut Warbler

Mourning Warbler

Mourning Warbler

Next exciting moment was when i got to net 9 and found a Blue-headed Vireo – a few are ringed here each year so we were expecting them, but they are such great birds and i bagged it up feeling really pleased with myself. My turn for census, 28 species today, not much happening but the beach was looking good and for the first time this year i was able to follow the “official” census route and returned along the beach.

Blue-headed Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo

Walking back along the beach on census, on the lookout not only for birds but also arrowheads. The native americans used to use this area as a place for herding the bison to for slaughter and very often artefacts can be found on the beach - mainly arrowheads and hide scrapers.Sadly nothing today apart from a few remmnants of bison bones.

Walking back along the beach on census, on the lookout not only for birds but also arrowheads. The native americans used to use this area as a place for herding the bison to for slaughter and very often artefacts can be found on the beach - mainly arrowheads and hide scrapers. Sadly nothing today apart from a few remmnants of bison bones.

The sun was getting warmer and the birds were still quiet so Ian and i were doing net checks together. We headed off down to net 2, the furthest away net, and i got there a little ahead of Ian. There was only one bird in there, right at the far end and as soon as i got to the net i shouted back to Ian, “aye up, this looks interesting” as i walked the length of the net and got a good look at the bird i said “oh (insert expletives of choice) it’s a Golden-winged Warbler!!!!” Wow – the first time since 1996 that one has been captured and ringed here. Ringing tick time for me then :-)

Golden-winged Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler

We ended the morning with 61 birds, a good mix of 20 species, 3 of which were new for the Autumn.

No. ringed today: 61
No. of species today: 20
Ringed so far this season: 3784

3rd September 2009

A relaxing morning’s ringing with only 55 birds and plenty of time for census and general observations. The settled weather continues and we had our second day running of all nets open for the full 6 hours. No birds out of the ordinary captured today but Marsh Wren was interesting as was a House Wren a hatch year bird that was eccentrically moulting it’s outer primaries.

Hatch year House Wren. You can see the moult limit in the greater coverts (it's not usually as obvious as this!). The outer primaries on each wing were being replaced eccentrically but not the corresponding primary covert.

Hatch year House Wren. You can see the moult limit in the greater coverts (it's not usually as obvious as this!). The outer primaries on each wing were being replaced eccentrically but not the corresponding primary coverts.

As i say, nothing out of the ordinary but a lovely mix of birds: 6 Wilson’s, 10 Tennessee and 1 Magnolia Warblers, 5 American Redstart, 3 Eastern Phoebe, 1 Traill’s Flycatcher, 4 Yellow Warbler, 5 House Wren, 1 Chipping Sparrow, 2 Myrtle Warbler, 1 American Goldfinch, 1 Marsh Wren, 2 Mourning Warbler, 2 Northern Waterthrush, 1 Purple Finch, 3 Blue-headed Vireo, 1 Red-eyed Vireo, 2 Ovenbird, 3 Swainson’s Thrush, 1 Grey Catbird.

No. ringed today: 55
No. of species today: 20
Ringed so far this season: 3839

Our usual afternoon and evening birding sessions – nothing too much out of the ordinary there either but nice to see juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron’s, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, and Bald Eagle.

Calm, still evening, ideal for a fire on the beach and watching the sun go down with a beer (or 2 or 3).

Season summary
At end of week 8: 3839 birds
Birds this week: 750
Species so far: 75 species
Best fall ever: 7390 (in 2006)

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