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Week 12 – last week of Autumn ringing!

25th September 2009

A very smart-looking adult male Slate-coloured Junco

A very smart-looking adult male Slate-coloured Junco

Adult-type Junco tail

Adult-type Junco tail

Apart from the “morning rush” of sparrows things were pretty quiet. A sharpie got caught in net 7 – i think he was after the Slate-coloured Junco in there but ended up well tangled around his feet before he could do any damage.

Lots of Geese on the move and Blue Jays are moving through. Merlin seen flying down the ridge. The atlas-eers once again had Harris’s Sparrow but it’s evading us still – get in the net!

Afternoon birding was pretty quiet but the Red-necked Grebe was on the usual pool and we saw an Osprey coming in off the lake. The weather is hot, hot, hot and can you believe it we are still getting bitten by mosquitoes!

The Lodge has filled up with balls of wool, spinning wheels and lots of ladies in home-made clothing – it’s the fibre workshop weekend.

26th September 2009

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, adult

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, adult

Steady stream of birds right from the first round this morning. Plenty of Myrtle Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creepers and White-throated Sparrows. Once again we caught a Sharp-shinned Hawk - this time i was standing at the end of net 2 extracting a Myrtle Warbler and whack! the sharpie flew straight into the other end of the net, dropping it’s rather gruesome, headless, Swamp Sparrow breakfast which it had been carrying. Ian grabbed the sharpie, a nice hatch year female.

Not so many geese around today but there were 6 Tundra Swans flying over the lake. Clouded up in the afternoon and feels pleasantly cooler.

27th September 2009

Yes! Harris’s Sparrow in the net. This now makes us up to 88 species for the Autumn – the most ever banded at Delta.

Adult Harris's Sparrow

Adult Harris's Sparrow

Head shot of the adult Harris's Sparrow

Head shot of the adult Harris's Sparrow

Hatch year Harris's Sparrow

Hatch year Harris's Sparrow

Head shot of the hatch year Harris's Sparrow

Head shot of the hatch year Harris's Sparrow

Harris's Sparrow - on the left the adult tail and on the right the hatch year tail

Harris's Sparrow - on the left the adult tail and on the right the hatch year tail

A good morning with 225 birds – 168 of them Myrtle Warbler!

Not much afternoon birding, we didn’t finish paperwork and lunch until 3pm then entered data and had a kip (tired after a couple of nights disturbed sleep!). When we woke up the Lodge was wonderfully peaceful – all the multi-coloured fibre workshop vegans had disappeared.

Thousands of Snow, Canada and Cackling Geese out on the fields around the marsh. Searched in vain for a Ross’s Goose – there has to be one in there somewhere!

28th September 2009

A VERY windy day – the wind was gusting to force 8 when we started this morning and it was difficult to find any nets sheltered enough to open. Nets 6, 8 and 12 were OK but we did net checks every 15 minutes and managed to catch a few birds. Once again the Bald Eagles were enjoying the wind and just hanging in the air above us.

Ian did census and looked frozen! Such a change from just a few days ago when we were sweltering. Quite a few Juncos, Myrtle Warblers and White-throated Sparrows around but not much else.

29th September 2009

Primary coverts of the Brown Creeper - can these be used for accurate ageing?

Primary coverts of the Brown Creeper - can these be used for accurate ageing?

-2′C at opening time at 7am. Still and calm and all nets open for the full 6 hours. Pretty quiet morning though with only 57 birds, most of which were Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. A couple of White-breasted Nuthatches were interesting and a late Northern Waterthrush was another surprise.

30th September 2009

The last day of the Fall Migration Monitoring Programme! I suppose you could say that our last official day of ringing was a bit of an anti-climax as we only caught 3 birds! However, we enjoyed ourselves. It felt very cold and we were in our hats and gloves. The wind got up and we finally closed the nets at 10am when it just got too blustery. It took ages to close the 3 nets that we had open as they were full of leaves.

Ian had a pretty quiet census but there were plenty of geese and more Tundra Swans passing over.

So, our final total for Autumn 2009 is 5548 birds of 88 species!

Afternoon birding: Quiet along the diversion road. Walked into one of the reedy areas that runs parallel to Donald Bain Drive. There were 72 Short-billed Dowitchers and a handful of Long-billed Dowitchers plus 6 Greater Yellowlegs. We returned to the lodge and got wellies to make three access points into the pool.

Evening birding: Took the ‘scope out to the pool. a few Dowitchers still there and some legs. The ducks were really skittish (mind you we hear the hunters blasting away at them nearby most days so it’s hardly surprising!). Mostly Mallard, Green-winged Teal and Shoveler. An American Bittern was a good spot, our first sighting of one for a couple of weeks.

The diversion road was pretty quiet apart from a lone Brewer’s Blackbird sitting on a bale and a few hundred Snow and Canada Geese in the fields.

1st October 2009

So, just what do you do when you’ve worked, ringing, 83 days straight, getting up early every morning? We could’ve had a lie-in, lazed around all day, just chilled out. But no, we got up early, opened the nets and ringed! Another first for Delta – ringing outside of the standard migration monitoring period. We’re curious to see what else is out there to catch. We have less than a week left here now :-(

It turned out to be quite a slow morning with only 13 birds ringed but we enjoyed it :-)

I’ve been in touch with the employment agency back in the UK and am trawling the internet for jobs for the winter…

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