Friday, October 2, 2015

A Break in the Rain

Captain Sam's
Yesterday we were a little skeptical as to if we would be able to make it out to the banding station today but the weather cleared just in time for us to band this morning.  Things were a little bit slower today with 47 new birds and 12 recaptures, comprised of 13 species.  Highlights included a Blackpoll Warbler, likely brought in by the storm, a Cape May Warbler, and a Summer Tanager.  We also captured a pair of Northern Parulas which allowed us to get comparison photos of male and female. 

Both of the Parulas captured today were hatch-year birds that were aged by the presences of a molt limit in the wing.  Similar to most warblers, hatch-year Parulas will show an A1 molt limit and this can be seen in the photo below.  There is a clear contrast between the darker and bluer replaced A1 versus the retained greenish A2.  On an adult, the wing will be uniform in color and wear, and all the feathers will have blue edging and dark centers.  
Northern Parula molt limit
The Northern Parula can be sexed based on the color of the breast.  Males will have a distinctive tawny breast band and can occasionally have a slate breast band as well.  The slate breast band in the fall is usually only seen in older males but in the spring both younger (SY) and older (ASY) males can have slate.  Female Parulas will have a uniformly yellow breast.  Occasionally, older females can show a slight tawny breast band.  As far as overall plumage goes, males will tend to be bluer and females will tend to be greener.

Northern Parula (left: male, right: female)
Little Bear
After spending a good portion of last night watching the weather radar and feeling fairly uncertain about the likelihood of getting out to band, we were very happy to wake up and find that the rain was staying offshore. We did get our fair share of dreary, Fall weather with wind and overcast skies, as well as a lot of flooding in our net lanes from last night's rain.

Despite the weather we had an interesting and steady morning, banding 80 new individuals and recapturing 7 of 16 species. Gray Catbirds and Common Yellowthroats made up the majority of birds banded with 30 of each species, but we also saw a good variety of migrants at the banding table. Highlights for the day include Little Bear's first Magnolia Warbler and 3 new Yellow-Billed Cuckoos!


  Species Captain Sam's Little Bear
New Recaps New Recaps
Yellow-billed Cuckoo -- 3 -
Downy Woodpecker- - - 1
Traill's Flycatcher - - 1 -
White-eyed Vireo 1 - - -
Red-eyed Vireo 4- 1 -
Carolina Wren- - - 1
Gray Catbird 12 7 30 2
Northern Waterthrush 1 - 1 -
Common Yellowthroat 16 3 30 2
American Redstart 4 - 3 -
Cape May Warbler 1 - 1 -
Northern Parula 2 - - -
Blackpoll Warbler 1 - - -
Magnolia Warbler - - 1 -
Prairie Warbler - - 5 -
Palm Warbler (Western) 1 - 2 -
Yellow-breasted Chat - - 1 -
Summer Tanager 1 - - -
Northern Cardinal - 1 - 1
Painted Bunting 3 1 1 -

 Banding Stats Captain Sam's Little Bear TOTAL
# Birds Banded 47 80 127
# of Recaptures 12 7 19
# of Species 13 16 20
Effort (net-hours) 116.6 46.5 163.1
Capture Rate (birds/100 net-hours) 50.6 187.5 89.5
Nets 25 13 38

Banding Staff
Aaron Given (CS)
Mattie VandenBoom (CS)
Chris Snook (LB)
Nancy Raginski (LB)
Sean McElaney (LB)
Casey Weissburg (CS)
Micheal Gamble (CS)
Ryan Donnelly (CS)

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