Tuesday, September 15, 2015

FOS: Eastern Towhee and Indigo Bunting

Captain Sam's

We were treated to cool temperatures again today at Captain Sam's as well as moderate bird activity through out the morning. We banded 66 new individuals and recaptured 6 of 16 species. Common Yellowthroats made up the majority of birds caught with 32 new individuals banded, this brings our Common Yellowthroat season total to 332 banded. We also caught our 6th Yellow-breasted Chat of the season, twice as many as were caught in 2014. The highlight of our morning was a hatch year Alder Flycatcher, our second of the season. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, these are tricky birds to identify because they are pretty much identical to Willow Flycatchers. The measured characteristics from this bird put it very deep in Alder territory, we banded a second flycatcher that we were unable to determine if it was a Willow or Alder because it's measurements fell into an area where the two species overlap. Birds with measurements that are in the area where overlap occurs cannot be separated and are classified as Traill's Flycatchers.  Not a lot is known about Alder Flycatchers in the state of South Carolina, so to catch two so far this season is pretty noteworthy.


Alder Flycatcher (hatch year, sex unknown)
Little Bear

It was another perfect day at Little Bear with cool temperatures and all around great weather. We banded 31 new birds with 4 recaptures of 12 species. We had 3 species that were first of the season for the site, which included an Eastern Towhee, an Indigo Bunting, and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. We also caught 4 Yellow Warblers of varying ages, which allowed us to get a good look at the differences in plumage between the sexes and age groups. We caught a hatch-year male, hatch-year unknown, after hatch-year male, and after hatch-year female. After hatch-year males have a lot of orange streaking on the breast while hatch-year males have little to no orange streaking (as seen below).


Yellow Warblers (left: hatch-year male, right:after hatch-year male)
Photo by Sean McElaney

  SpeciesCaptain Sam'sLittle Bear
Downy Woodpecker-1--
Alder Flycatcher1---
Traill's Flycatcher1---
White-eyed Vireo3--1
Red-eyed Vireo9---
Carolina Chickadee-23-
Northern Mockingbird--1-
Northern Waterthrush4-2-
Black-and-White Warbler2---
Common Yellowthroat34-71
American Redstart3-41
Yellow Warbler1-4-
Prairie Warbler1---
Yellow-breasted Chat1---
Eastern Towhee--1-
Northern Cardinal--21
Indigo Bunting--1-
Painted Bunting323-

 Banding StatsCaptain Sam'sLittle BearTOTAL
# Birds Banded663197
# of Recaptures6410
# of Species161220
Effort (net-hours)125.042.75167.75
Capture Rate (birds/100 net-hours)57.681.963.8