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11/13/2005

Long-eared Owl

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Nov 4-12

Migration monitoring at TTPBRS for 2005 has come to an end as we completed our final day of coverage today (banded 2 birds!).

The final week featured south and west winds (often gusty) and warm temperatures which didn't help with the bird numbers at the station. There were some breaks in the weather which resulted in good numbers of high flying American Pipits, Horned Lark, American Goldfinch and Red-winged Blackbird. Waterfowl have continued to increase in density and a few raptors were recorded during the period. Banding has been very quiet as our busiest day was 21 on both the 4th and 7th, though it was more typical to end up with less than 10/day with a low of 2 on November 12. Black-capped Chickadee, American Tree Sparrow, Golden-crowned Kinglet and Slate-coloured Junco were the primary species although we did capture our 2nd ever Hairy Woodpecker on November 11. A Golden Eagle was recorded on November 7 which is the first of this species ever recorded at the station. Highlights of the 11th included 2 Tundra Swans (3rd record) and a single Long-eared Owl (3rd record).OWLS-Saw-whet monitoring has pretty much ended and our final total is 65 banded, 1 repeat and 5 foreign recaptures. So far we have heard that one of the foreigns was from Holiday Beach, ON and another was from Casselman River, Maryland. Interestingly the Maryland station captured one of our birds in a previous year and now we have found one of theirs in our nets!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT-Thanks to all of the volunteers and staff who helped make 2005 a great success and we look forward to 2006! The countdown is on.....only 4 months and 18 days till spring!

HIGHLIGHTS Banding Nov 5 1-Fox Sparrow 8-Golden-crowned Kinglet 2-Hermit Thrush Nov 8 3-American Goldfinch Nov 11 1-Hairy Woodpecker (2nd banding record for TTPBRS) 5-American Tree Sparrow

Observations Nov 4 1-Cooper's Hawk 3-American Coot Nov 5 2-Northern Goshawk 28-Horned Lark (record high count) 280-American Pipit (record high count) 12-House Finch 1-Eastern Bluebird Nov 7 1-Golden Eagle (1st record for TTPBRS) Nov 8 26-American Robin 3-Myrtle Warbler 126-American Pipit 527-Red-winged Blackbird 20-Common Grackle 100-American Goldfinch Nov 11 2-Tundra Swan (3rd record) 18-American Green-winged Teal (record high) 628-Long-tailed Duck 150-Bufflehead 25-Hooded Merganser 1-Long-eared Owl (3rd record) 7-Pine Siskin Nov 12 1-Northern Harrier 490-Red-winged Blackbird

Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA)

11/06/2005

American Tree Sparrow (S.Leckie)

Migration Monitoring Update-Oct 28-Nov 3

Migration has slowed considerably at Tommy Thompson Park although numbers of blackbirds, pipits, larks and Snow Buntings have been significant as have the surging counts of waterfowl. On October 28th, 54 birds were banded of which 22 were Black-capped Chickadee. A single Blue-headed Vireo along with 5 Hermit Thrushes were also banded that day. Red-winged Blackbird reached a season high count of 434 and Common Grackle peaked at 54. October 29 was probably our last busy day of the fall as 104 birds were banded of which 86 were chickadees! An average of 6 birds were banded from October 30-November 1st and it was evident that the flocks of Chickadees, kinglets and sparrows had passed us by. October 30th was a good day for gulls at the station as our first ever Thayer's Gull was observed and several Bonapartes were spotted. A late Cape May Warbler was recorded on the 31st. November was very quiet during the previous two fall seasons at the station and 2005 is certainly falling in line. Juncos and American Tree Sparrows are perhaps the most conspicuous landbird species in the area although we have never seen a big push of these species in November. November 2nd was another good day for flyovers as 360 Red-winged Blackbirds were counted along with 48 Snow Bunting and several Rusty Blackbird and House Finch. Weather has been unfavourable for Owl Monitoring and as such our banding total remains the same as last week although there may be some good conditions before the end. Only a week remains for fall 2005 and we are hoping for some late movement and perhaps a few new species for the season.

HIGHLIGHTS
Banding
Oct 28
1-Blue-headed Vireo
Oct 29
86-Black-capped Chickadee

Observations
Oct 28
1-Northern Goshawk
2-American Coot
40-Golden-crowned Kinglet
10-Hermit Thrush
434-Red-winged Blackbird
57-Common Grackle
Oct 29
18-Pine Siskin
Oct 30
7-Dunlin
1-Thayer's Gull
32-Bonaparte's Gull
19-American Pipit
Oct 31
1-Cape May Warbler
Nov 2
16-Horned Lark
48-Snow Bunting
363-Red-winged Blackbird

Season Banding Total
05-4214
04-3799
Season Species Total
05-177
04-167

Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA)

10/31/2005

Fall Colours

10/29/2005

BROWN CREEPER

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Oct 21-27

It was another interesting and enjoyable week at Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station as station personnel have been busy with chickadees, school groups and Saw-whet Owl monitoring in the evenings. The week began with temperatures near zero and north winds on the 21st which must have initiated some movement as 108 birds were banded including 46 Golden-crowned Kinglet, 8 Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 12 White-throated Sparrow, 9 Slate-coloured Junco and a couple of Fox Sparrows. Wind and rain from the 21st-23rd effectively shut down the lab.  Migration monitoring resumed on the 24th when an estimated 140 Black-capped Chickadee were in the count area (30 banded). The station was once again closed on the 25th. October 27th featured the arrival of Eastern Bluebird and Snow Bunting along with noticeably higher counts of Horned Lark, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin and several raptor species. A total of 7 Red-tailed Hawks were tallied on the day which is a record high total for this species at TTPBRS. In terms of banding, Black-capped Chickadee were again observed moving through the count area in flocks of between 3 and 30 birds at a time and in the end 51 were banded and 7 recaptured. Finally on the 27th 48 birds were banded which included more Chickadees and a smattering of other late fall species such as Brown Creeper, Hermit Thrush, Downy Woodpecker and 7 sparrow species. As October draws to a close we only have 2 weeks left for fall 2005 but we can still look forward to increasing numbers of winter finches, waterfowl, raptors and owls and presumably more chickadees!  November 1st and 2nd are the last scheduled dates for our "winged migration" program for schools and I should mention how enjoyable it has been showing a few birds to the kids and teaching them about bird conservation.
 
As mentioned earlier the owl monitoring is in full swing and so far we have banded 60 Northern Saw-whets and have had 5 total recaptures. Of the 5 recaptures, 4 were foreign recoveries and just 1 was a "repeat" of a bird banded at TTPBRS!
 
HIGHLIGHTS
Banding
Oct 21
46-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Field Sparrow
Oct 26
51-Black-capped Chickadee
1-American Tree Sparrow
 
Observations
Oct 21
1-Hairy Woodpecker (1st record for 2005)
110-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Gray-cheeked Thrush (late)
2-Black-throated Green Warbler
80-Slate-coloured Junco
Oct 24
12-American Wigeon
140-Black-capped Chickadee
Oct 26
5-Northern Pintail
1-Bald Eagle
7-Red-tailed Hawk
3-Horned Lark
15-Cedar Waxwing
6-American Tree Sparrow
1-Snow Bunting
1-Eastern Bluebird
Oct 27
275-Long-tailed Duck
75-Bufflehead
 
Season Banding Total
05-4007
04-3700
 
Season Species Total
05-173
04-165
 

10/23/2005

NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL (S.Leckie)

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Oct 14-20

It has been our busiest fall ever at TTPBRS in terms of both the monitoring and education. Migrating birds continued to pass through the count area in high numbers this past week and we have also had a steady stream of school kids coming down as well. Kinglets were abundant on October 14 as ~100 each of Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglet were recorded. Hermit Thrush and Brown Creeper were also present in good numbers. The first American Tree Sparrow of the fall was banded on October 16th along with 87 individuals of other species. Most interesting on the day was the capture and banding of 20 Black-capped Chickadees which was a record high one-day banding total (previous mark of 10 on November 1-2004). Northwest winds on the 17th probably assisted in bringing another influx of migrants as 160 birds were banded and there was some flyover activity also. Pine Siskin and American Pipits were heard flying over throughout the morning although still in small numbers. Chickadees, Kinglets, Hermit Thrush and Dark-eyed Junco were the primary species moving that day. Speaking of Chickadees, an impressive 55 were banded and 120 were tallied on the day! We were clearly in the midst of a chickadee invasion as numbers like this had never been seen before at TTPBRS. More Chickadees and kinglets were on the move the next day although in lesser quantities. The slowest day of the week was October 19th as 23 birds were banded. This day featured the first substantive counts of waterfowl which included both species of Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Common Goldeneye and Bufflehead to name a few. The 20th featured another record breaking day at the station for Chickadees as 81 were banded! The Black-capped Chickadee is commonly considered a resident species however they do migrate and during October and November in some years their numbers in eastern North America can be significantly higher than "normal". These irruptions are attributed to seed crop failure in the north as well as higher breeding productivity.
 
Northern Saw-whet Owl Monitoring has begun for 2005 and thus far we have banded 31 owls in 7 nights of coverage.
 
HIGHLIGHTS (to name a few)
Banding
2-Blue-headed Vireo
1-Red-eyed Vireo
Oct 16
1-Gray Catbird
18-Myrtle Warbler
1-American Tree Sparrow
1-Fox Sparrow
Oct 17
55-Black-capped Chickadee
Oct 20
81-Black-capped Chickadee
37-Golden-crowned Kinglet
10-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
 
Observations
Oct 14
16-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
1-Horned Lark
5-White-breasted Nuthatch
20-Winter Wren
82-Red-winged Blackbird
Oct 16
5-Sharp-shinned Hawk
40-Hermit Thrush
Oct 17
6-American Crow
120-Black-capped Chickadee
37-American Robin
8-Pine Siskin
Oct 18
245-Canada Goose
24-Bufflehead
Oct 19
1-Ring-necked Duck
25-Long-tailed Duck
2-Ruddy Duck
2-American Coot
4-Rusty Blackbird
 
Season Banding Total
05-3730
04-3280
 
Season Species Total
05-170
04-163
 
Dan Derbyshire

10/17/2005

Chickadees part 2

As a followup to yesterday we ended up banding 55 BCCH today and estimated over 100 were in the count area today. Historically only 98 Chickadees had been banded at TTPBRS since our beginning with the previous record one-day banding total being 10 birds on November 1st-2004! Black-capped Chickadees are an irruptive species and these kinds of numbers are seen regularly further north but it is more unusual to see that this far south. Maybe we will see a Boreal Chickadee with them this fall!
 
Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA)
 
 

10/16/2005

Chickadees

Lots of migrants moving through today and perhaps most interesting were the higher than normal numbers of Black-capped Chickadee. We banded 20 and there were probably more than 40-50 around today which was an all-time high for TTPBRS. Will it continue or was this an isolated occurrence?
 
 
 
BLUE-HEADED VIREO

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Oct 7-13

October 7-13 was one of our busiest 7 day periods ever at TTPBRS. North winds and rain on the 7th kept the nets closed but census revealed some high activity. Even in the midst of a steady downpour after census it was clear that a substantial movement had occurred. The next day showed that as impressive numbers of kinglets, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Myrtle Warbler and several species of sparrow were evident during the morning and afternoon. A total of 205 birds were banded of 28 species and another 135 birds were released unbanded. Birds continued to move through in massive numbers on the 9th as 238 birds were banded and another 124 were released. Only 10 recaptures were recorded on the day which indicated a high rate of turnover and another influx. Intermittent drizzle on the 10th limited our net hours to just 1.5 out of a possible 90 although birds were still much in evidence including the first Pine Siskin of the fall. Continued north winds on the 11th yielded 131 banded and the first flocks of migrant Black-capped Chickadee. We had expected some sort of break at this point but found high numbers once again on the 12th which included 33 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (2 banded) and 220 Ruby-crowned Kinglet (58 banded). A total of 137 birds were banded on the day. Remarkable numbers of birds were again detected on the 13th with a total of 205 birds banded. There is some early indication that Ruby-crowned Kinglet will surpass Golden-crowned as the most commonly captured bird at the station this fall which would be a first in our three-year history. Overall it was a tremendous week at the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station and we still have a month to go yet!
 
HIGHLIGHTS
Banding
Oct 8
5-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
3-Red-breasted Nuthatch
1-Fox Sparrow
1-Philadelphia Vireo
1-Northern Parula
1-Yellow Warbler
1-Pine Warbler
2-Scarlet Tanager
6-Swamp Sparrow
Oct 9
115-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Gray-cheeked Thrush
19-Hermit Thrush
Oct 11
3-Blue-headed Vireo
3-Black-throated Blue Warbler
Oct 12
1-House Wren
1-Northern Parula
Oct 13
1-Red-eyed Vireo
 
Observations
Oct 7
1-Black-and-white Warbler
Oct 8
60-Hermit Thrush
175-Myrtle Warbler
Oct 9
1-Northern Saw-whet Owl
300-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Chestnut-sided Warbler
70-White-throated Sparrow
Oct 11
18-Black-capped Chickadee
Oct 12
4-White-breasted Nuthatch
220-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
7-Blue-headed Vireo
Oct 13
1-Long-tailed Duck
40-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
18-Winter Wren
1-Wood Thrush
4-Common Yellowthroat
30-Slate-coloured Junco
 
Season Banding Total
05-3080
04-3049
 
Season Species Total
05-164
04-159
 
Saw-whet Owls Banded
5
 

10/07/2005

BANDER TRAINING
BLUE JAY

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Sept 30-Oct 6

The study area has taken on a distinctive golden colour as autumn has certainly settled in although one would have the impression that summer was still lingering with the warm temperatures we have been having. From previous reports you will know that warm-southerly weather in the fall usually means few birds at TTPBRS and this week was a good example. We banded 280 birds for the week culminating in a low of 12 from a full compliment of net hours on October 6. By contrast during the same week a year ago 626 birds were banded and more new arrivals were noted such as Fox Sparrow and Pine Siskin. We need not be concerned as cooler weather has already arrived and we anticipate some heavy migration during the next week. September 30 was a decent day as small numbers of kinglets, sapsuckers, Hermit Thrush and White-throated Sparrows were recorded. The day belonged to the Blue Jays however as some 3000 were estimated to have flown over during the morning. Also joining the flyover jays were the first largish groups of Red-winged Blackbirds, Rusty Blackbirds and American Pipits. It was quiet up until Oct 3 when 80 birds were banded of a respectable 20 species. The banding total consisted of 5 Red-eyed Vireo. Kinglets are easily the most prevalent bird species at Tommy Thompson Park right now and the bulk of our captures during the week were of these "little mites". A continuation of the high pressure conditions resulted in dwindling bird numbers for the update period. We are still on the verge of seeing major waves of kinglets, sparrows, hermit thrushes and creepers among others. So much yet to come.......

Our "Winged Migration" education program is in full swing as school groups are being welcomed daily at TTPBRS and will be for the rest of the month. Additionally, on Sept 30 we had 114 visitors from Deloitte & Touche join us for the day (in small flocks at a time!).

HIGHLIGHTS
Banding
Sep 30
20-Golden-crowned Kinglet
5-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
7-Hermit Thrush
2-Black-throated Blue Warbler
Oct 1
1-American Redstart
Oct 2
1-Orange-crowned Warbler
Oct 3
7-Golden-crowned Kinglet
22-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
3-Swainson's Thrush
5-Red-eyed Vireo
Oct 4
1-Bay-breasted Warbler
1-Eastern Towhee

Observations
Sep 30
11-Green-winged Teal
4-Black-bellied Plover
2900-Blue Jay
85-Golden-crowned Kinglet
60-Red-winged Blackbird
Oct 1
1-Redhead
1-White-winged Scoter
6-Rusty Blackbird
Oct 2
27-American Pipit
Oct 3
1-Eastern Towhee
Oct 6
9-Sharp-shinned Hawk

Season Banding Total (behind last year's pace for 1st time since mid-August)
05-2164
04-2294

Season Species Total
05-160
04-156

10/01/2005

GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Sept 23-29

As expected the week of September 23rd-29th was our busiest of the fall so far, however high winds and rain resulted in an unusual amount of net closure. September 23rd was all about the warblers as 45 of the 59 total birds banded were of this family. Warblers and thrushes quickly gave way to kinglets, creepers and sparrows on the 24th when 158 birds were banded from just 35.5 standard net hours! It was as if fall had arrived overnight as late fall species were abundant and temperatures were noticeably cooler. Intermittent showers on the 25th again kept most of the nets closed. No monitoring was conducted on the 26th due to steady precipitation during the morning.The cold front resulted in another big day at Tommy Thompson Park as 164 birds were banded on the 27th. The most dominant species on the day were the kinglets and Myrtle Warbler however there were more House Wren, Hermit Thrush, Blue-headed Vireo and Black-throated Green Warblers around as well. Numbers of birds were certainly lower on the 28th although we can always count on kinglets to keep us occupied during late fall! Impressive 70km/hour winds on the 29th forced yet another cancellation of fieldwork although we were able to host our first school class of the fall. Interestingly September 23-29 was a busy week last year also. From the 23rd-29th in 2004 a total of 561 birds were banded from 624 net hours (1.1 birds/net hour). For the same period In 2005 450 birds were banded from just 281 net hours for a capture rate of 1.6 birds/net hour! Hopefully the weather will be a little more pleasant during the coming weeks as we strive towards maintaining a consistent level of coverage this year as previous years.
 
HIGHLIGHTS
 
Banding
Sep 23
7-Gray-cheeked Thrush
1-Tennessee Warbler
1-Northern Parula
2-Blackburnian Warbler
Sep 24
1-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
4-Eastern Phoebe
3-Blue-headed Vireo
1-Orange-crowned Warbler
1-Scarlet Tanager
Sep 27
2-House Wren
29-Myrtle Warbler
5-Black-throated Green Warbler
 
Observations
Sep 23
14-Yellow-shafted Flicker
13-Palm Warbler
11-Sanderling
Sep 24
125-Golden-crowned Kinglet
135-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
5-Chipping Sparrow
120-White-throated Sparrow
Sep 27
1-Turkey Vulture
7-Tree Swallow
3-White-breasted Nuthatch
2-Eastern Towhee
Sep 28
1-Northern Pintail
7-American Pipit
1-Northern Shoveller
1-American Golden Plover
 
Season Banding Total
2005-1884
2004-1668
 
Season Species Total
2005-158
2004-150
 
 
 

9/30/2005

BLACK THROATED-GREEN WARBLER

9/24/2005

SCARLET TANAGER

And then there were hundreds!

Both species of kinglet and White-throated Sparrows were everywhere today as we banded 158 birds from 33.5 net hours for a capture rate of 4.4 birds/net hour! Blue-headed Vireo, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, White-crowned Sparrow, Nashville Warbler, Black-throated Blue and Black-throated Green Warbler and Brown Creeper were also abundant. Nothing unusual turned up today although we did band the first Scarlet Tanager of the fall as well as an Orange-crowned Warbler and another Sharp-shinned Hawk.
 
 
 

9/23/2005

BROWN THRASHER

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Sept 16-22

The seventh week of fall migration was our busiest of the season so far as high numbers of thrushes, warblers and White-throated Sparrows were on the move. The week also featured some passage of vireos (mostly Red-eyed), flycatchers, kinglets and creepers. In all 343 birds were banded during a week filled with strong northerly winds. High winds associated with a cold front on the 16th cancelled banding coverage on that day. Bird activity was noticeably higher on the following morning as 101 birds were banded. There was a sharp influx of Northern Flicker (20 DT), Gray-cheeked Thrush (28), Myrtle Warbler (65) and White-throated Sparrow (45). Raptors were also moving through on the 18th which resulted in our first ever capture and banding of a Northern Harrier! A small surge of late fall migrant species such as Brown Creeper, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Winter Wren arrived on this day. On the shorebird front, Sanderling, Semipalmated Plover and the same Red Knot reported last were recorded on a daily basis during the week. September 19 was another solid day of migration monitoring as 91 birds were banded of 23 species. Our second ever Hooded Warbler was captured and released unbanded on this day (species at risk are now released unbanded). Also on the 19th the first Semipalmated Sandpipers for the TTPBRS checklist were observed on the beach.  The 20th was reported as a mega-day for migration monitoring stations at Long Point Bird Observatory and Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory however winds were too strong here in Toronto which resulted a census but no mist-netting. Winds shifted to the south and west for the 21st and 22nd respectively which meant fewer birds but still some excellent variety. Winds were apparently favourable for Blue Jays on the 22nd as 470 were recorded on the day which is a season high so far. Fall migration is about to kick into high gear as we near the peak at Tommy Thompson Park (late September-mid October) so look forward to some bulky reports in the coming weeks!
 
HIGHLIGHTS
 
Banding
Sep 17
24-Gray-cheeked Thrush
14-Swainson's Thrush
Sep 18
1-Northern Harrier (1st banding record for TTPBRS)
3-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
20-Swainson's Thrush
4-Hermit Thrush
1-Wood Thrush
30-White-throated Sparrow
Sep 19
1-Blue-headed Vireo
4-Slate-coloured Junco
1-Hooded Warbler (2nd record for TTPBRS-1st banding record)
Sep 21
9-Nashville Warbler
1-White-crowned Sparrow
 
Observations
Sep 16
1-Scarlet Tanager
Sep 17
1-Bald Eagle
1-Osprey
20-Yellow-shafted Flicker
65-Myrtle Warbler
45-White-throated Sparrow
3-Purple Finch
Sep 18
8-Sharp-shinned Hawk
3-Least Flycatcher
16-Brown Creeper
10-Winter Wren
5-Golden-crowned Kinglet
Sep 19
10-Semipalmated Sandpiper (1st record for TTPBRS)
25-Yellow-shafted Flicker
11-American Pipit
1-Orange-crowned Warbler
52-Myrtle Warbler
Sep 21
3-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Sep 22
1-Merlin
470-Blue Jay
6-Semipalmated Plover
 
Season Banding Total
05-1434
04-1107
Season Species Total
05-150
04-139
 
 
 

9/18/2005

NORTHERN HARRIER

9/16/2005

BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Sept 9-15

Friday, September 9 was our busiest day of the fall to that point as 83 birds were banded. Swainson's Thrush, Magnolia Warbler, Wilson's Warbler and White-throated Sparrow were a few of the common species on the day. We also captured an Eastern Phoebe, a single Sharp-shinned Hawk, 3 Northern Parula's and the seasons first Brown Creeper. Other season firsts on the day included Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Pipit and Wood Thrush. Less migrants were apparent on the following morning as 57 birds were banded although decent numbers of thrushes and warblers were still evident. The indisputable highlight of the day was an American White Pelican observed just prior to census. This is the 1st record for the species at TTPBRS. The north winds of the 9th and 10th ended on the 11th as winds were from the south and bird numbers were much lower. The first groups of Blue jays were observed moving through the count area (total of 12). Shorebirds were more in evidence on the 11th as American Golden Plover (1) and Sanderling were (6) recorded. Warm weather from the south persisted through the 14th and was responsible for some early net closure due to excessive heat. Relatively few birds were detected during these hot days but Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrush as well as Philadelphia and Red-eyed Vireo continued to trickle through the park. Our second Sharp-shinned Hawk of the season was banded on the 13th along with a "late-ish" Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and several Blackpoll Warblers. Migration monitoring is all about highs and lows and the 14th was certainly the latter as just 7 birds were captured and overall diversity was more reminiscent of early August! The season's first Red Knot was detected on the day. The week ended on a high note with the return of north winds on the 15th. A total of 88 birds were banded of 21 species. The day belonged to the Gray-cheeked Thrush as 16 were banded along with 9 Swainson's and 2 Hermit's. Detected Totals (includes banding and surveys) were particularly high for Nashville Warbler (12), Magnolia (24), Myrtle (46) and White-throated Sparrow (51).
 
It is well known that Tommy Thompson Park is a superb site for migratory birds but perhaps less well known for its concentration of Monarch butterflies during their fall migration. On September 15th some 9,000 Monarchs passed through peninsula D in 4 hours during the afternoon. During the heavy rains today I counted ~12,000 roosting in the trees near the tip. These numbers could make Tommy Thompson Park/Leslie Street Spit a site of international significance for this species. The International Network of Monarch Butterfly Reserves currently includes Point Pelee, Long Point and Prince Edward Point in Ontario. For more details on the September 15th Monarch migration and a photo visit the TTPBRS sightings board:
 
 
HIGHLIGHTS
Banding
Sep 9
1-Sharp-shinned Hawk
3-Northern Parula (record one-day total for TTPBRS)
12-Magnolia Warbler
Sep 10
2-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2-Lincoln's Sparrow
Sep 13
1-Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sep 15
16-Gray-cheeked Thrush
8-Nashville Warbler
5-Ovenbird
 
Observations
Sep 9
45-Blackpoll Warbler
5-Slate-coloured Junco
Sep 10
1-American White Pelican (1st record for TTPBRS)
1-White-breasted Nuthatch (1st record for 2005)
Sep 11
1-Long-tailed Duck
1-Winter Wren
2-Blackburnian Warbler
6-Sanderling
1-American Golden Plover
Sep 12
1-Semipalmated Plover
23-Blue Jay
Sep 13
7-Yellow-shafted Flicker
4-American Pipit
1-Cape May Warbler
Sep 14
1-Red Knot
Sep 15
1-Bald Eagle
10-Black-throated Green Warbler
8-Palm Warbler
1-Field Sparrow
51-White-throated Sparrow
 
Season Banding Total
05-1091
04-776
 
Season Species Total
05-144
04-122
 
 
 

9/15/2005

MONARCH BUTTERFLIES

Monarch Migration


Both the birds and the Monarch butterflies were on the move today. Monarchs typically peak around mid-September in Ontario although their concentration fluctuate year-to-year. 2004 was a weak year for monarchs at the spit as numbers were clearly down from the previous fall. Today may have been the peak this year as they were everywhere one looked, all moving southwest along the spit. Numbers really picked up after we closed nets around noon today. The butterflies were migrating between 4-25 feet above the ground and I counted 187 pass me by in a 5-minute span. This movement continued for at least 4 hours thereafter. That means that roughly 9,000 passed through peninsula D between 1230pm and 430pm (bear in mind I was counting from inside the forest and could only clearly see butterflies within a 40m radius and therefore the actual number would have been higher). I had a hunch that they would all concentrate in the trees near the lighthouse at the extreme southwest tip of the peninsula before attempting a potentially perilous crossing of Lake Ontario). The cottonwood woodlot just before the lighthouse was alive with thousands of Monarch Butterflies, quite a spectacle! This event was very difficult to photograph but some attempts are posted here.

9/14/2005

RED KNOT

9/09/2005

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK
PHILADELPHIA VIREO

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Sept 2-8

The week started off on a good note as respectable numbers of birds were recorded during the first few days. The highlight of the 2nd was the banding of our second ever Connecticut Warbler (the 1st was on September 7-2003). The first Yellow-billed Cuckoo of the fall season was observed on this day. So far not a single cuckoo has been captured in 2005 and total observations are down compared to last year (spring and fall). North winds on the 3rd brought an influx of birds onto the spit as 50 were banded. Red-breasted Nuthatch numbers picked up while flycatcher totals were clearly reduced. Warblers, vireos and thrushes are the most apparent migrants right now and will be for another 2-3 weeks. The primary species captured on the day was Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warbler (12) followed by Nashville (8) Common Yellowthroat (5) and Palm Warbler (4). Similar weather on the 4th resulted in another active day as 51 were banded. This day might well have been the final push of empidonax flycatchers as 3 Yellow-bellied, 1 Traill's and 3 Least were banded. The day also featured a sudden influx of Swainson's Thrushes (12 banded). The most memorable event of the day was watching a Merlin hunt dragonflies (successfully) just above the banding lab in the early morning. Winds shifted to south on the 5th which likely reduced numbers of migrants at the research station. Winter Wren and Orange-crowned Warbler were new arrivals and signs of the approaching late fall! Thereafter "ground level" migration was reduced as 26 birds were banded for the 3 day period of September 6-8. Still, there were was some good birding to be had as raptors had begun trickling through and numbers of warblers in the cottonwood canopy remained fairly high (especially Myrtle as 42 were obs. on 6th). We are well ahead of last year in terms of season species total and this is due to many species being earlier than usual. It has also been interesting to note the high proportion of moulting young and especially adult birds. Most adult warblers finish their moults prior to migration because a complete feather replacement is very taxing which would be problematic if added to the stress of migration. I wonder what caused the early exodus from breeding grounds in summer 2005

We will be watching for large numbers of Blue Jays in the next week or so. Fall 2004 featured a sharp decrease in numbers of jays versus fall 2003 (123 banded in 03, 9 banded in 04).

HIGHLIGHTS
Banding
Sep 2
1-Connecticut Warbler (2nd banding record)
style="font-size:85%;">Sep 3
1-House Wren
1-Philadelphia Vireo
4-Palm Warbler
1-Northern Parula
Sep 4
12-Swainson's Thrush
4-Tennessee Warbler
Sep 5
1-Great-crested Flycatcher
Sep 7
1-Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Sep 8
1-Gray-cheeked Thrush
Observations
Sep 2
1-Hermit Thrush
1-Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Sep 3
40-Myrtle Warbler
9-Common Yellowthroat
Sep 4
2-Black-bellied Plover
1-Common Nighthawk (4th record for TTPBRS)
Sep 5
1-Blue-winged Warbler
Sep 6
1-Common Loon
5-Blue-winged Teal
2-Red-breasted Merganser
Season Banding Total
05-818
04-682
03-467
Season Species Total
05-128
04-114

9/08/2005

Rained out...

Today was a near total bust as we only managed to squeeze in 12 net hours (out of a possible 90) due to thunderstorms. Despite that we did band 8 birds, the same total as yesterday! Highlight of the day was the arrival of Grey-cheeked Thrush. Hopefully the cold front that just moved in will result in some good diversity and abundance of migrants for tomorrow.
 
 
 

9/07/2005

Northern Parula

9/03/2005

Connecticut Warbler-Sept 2
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-August 26-September 1

It was a slow week for migrants at TTPBRS as indicated by the average daily banding total of 17. Winds were primarily from the south and west which likely kept birds off the peninsula. Numbers of Red-eyed Vireo increased as several were captured daily during the week. This is the time of year at Tommy Thompson Park when Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are most abundant. Hummers started hitting the nets on the 21st and have been captured daily since then. We usually capture the last one around mid-September so keep your feeders well stocked! Despite the decreasing water levels, shorebirds have been rather scarce at the park this fall. Single Solitary Sandpipers were observed on the 26th and 27th which was unusual (3rd and 4th records). The research station was closed on the 31st due to rain and high winds. The following day was a busy one at the station as 6 new arrivals were recorded and 57 total birds were banded. There were no dominant species on the day but very good diversity as 27 species were captured and 67 total species recorded. The highest one-day species total for fall 2004 was 66 on September 18. Warblers were strongly represented but the highlights were a single Long-tailed Duck (early) and a single Common Nighthawk. The nighthawk sighting is just the third record for TTPBRS and the first ever for fall monitoring! This species is regular in the city and often seen before dawn flying over the spine road at the spit but they rarely venture over our little corner. 
 
The storyline so far this season has been higher numbers of many warbler species than the previous two fall seasons at the station. The final count of Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warblers could be very impressive when all is said and done as their movement has continued unabated since early August! It may have been an exceptional breeding season this year and if so we can expect some good days ahead.....
 
HIGHLIGHTS
Banding
Aug 26
1-Cape May Warbler
Aug 27
1-Blue-winged Warbler (1st fall banding record)
Aug 28
1-Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Aug 30
2-Great-crested Flycatcher
Sept 1
3-Swainson's Thrush
1-Hermit Thrush
4-Ovenbird
5-Wilson's Warbler
1-Lincoln's Sparrow
 
Observations
Aug 26
1-Solitary Sandpiper (3rd record)
Aug 27
1-Horned Grebe
1-Semipalmated Plover
23-Chimney Swift
1-Scarlet Tanager
Aug 28
1-White-throated Sparrow
Aug 29
1-Black-billed Cuckoo
14-Warbling Vireo
Aug 30
4-Great Egret
1-Black-billed Cuckoo
5-Bobolink
Sept 1
1-Long-tailed Duck (very early-probably a bird that spent the summer here)
1-Osprey
2-Sharp-shinned Hawk
2-Cooper's Hawk
8-Red-breasted Nuthatch
30-Myrtle Warbler
8-Black-throated Green Warbler
1-Common Nighthawk (3rd record and 1st fall record)
 
Season Banding Total
05-649
04-579
 
Season Species Total
05-118
04-110
 
 
 

8/29/2005

Blackpoll Warbler

8/27/2005

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-August 19-25

Cooler temperatures and northerly winds seem to be appropriate conditions for "fallouts" during autumn migration at Tommy Thompson Park. The past week was a record setting one for the research station as numbers of migrating warblers in particular were unusually high for this time of year. August 19 was a washout as rain and high winds forced cancellation of fieldwork. High south winds from August 20-21 probably limited overnight migration as daily banding totals were in the teens. New arrivals during the two days included Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-eyed Vireo, Veery and Swamp Sparrow. A cooling trend on the 22nd along with winds shifting to north brought in more activity as 37 birds were banded on the 22nd. Empidonax flycatchers and warblers were dominant on the day while 2 Hermit Thrushes banded was noteworthy (early). A "fallout" occurred on the 23rd as 17 species of warbler were recorded and 73 birds in total were banded. Banding totals of Veery (8), Magnolia (15), Chestnut-sided (6), Black-and-white (5) and American Redstart were significant. The tall cottonwoods towards the tip were absolutely alive with birds, mostly Myrtles (110 estimated)! A continuation of the weather pattern resulted in another strong passage of migrants on the 24th as 63 birds were banded. The 25th was equally impressive as American Redstart, Myrtle Warbler, Nashville and Magnolia Warbler were detected in higher than "normal" concentrations. The season's first Black-billed Cuckoo was observed on this day. Data from previous fall seasons at TTPBRS indicate that the highest single-day banding total for August was 45! This record was broken each day from the 23rd to the 25th of this year. Another cold front is forecasted for the middle of next week so hopefully we will have lots to report next week.....
 
Note: The TTPBRS Sightings Board is updated on a daily basis so check here for regular daily banding totals and new arrivals. The site also features the occasional photo essay. This week featured a write-up on a case of diet induced plumage variation in a Baltimore Oriole captured at the station. http://tboweb.blogspot.com
 
HIGHLIGHTS
Banding
Aug 22
6-Traill's Flycatcher
2-Hermit Thrush (early)
2-Tennessee Warbler
Aug 23
8-Veery
3-Swainson's Thrush
15-Magnolia Warbler
2-Bay-breasted Warbler
5-Black-and-white Warbler
1-Slate-coloured Junco (record early date, September 18 last year)
Aug 24
2-Philadelphia Vireo
9-American Redstart
Aug 25
2-Cape May Warbler
2-Mourning Warbler
 
Observations
Aug 20
3-Canvasback
1-Sharp-shinned Hawk
Aug 21
19-Eastern Kingbird
6-Purple Martin
1-Blackburnian Warbler
Aug 22
1-Peregrine Falcon
1-Scarlet Tanager
Aug 23
2-Green Heron (2nd record for TTPBRS)
10-Green-winged Teal
14-Chestnut-sided Warbler
23-Magnolia Warbler
13-Black-and-white Warbler
Aug 24
1-Eastern Phoebe
6-Red-breasted Nuthatch
2-Black-throated Green Warbler
8-Wilson's Warbler
Aug 25
1-Cooper's Hawk
1-Black-billed Cuckoo
3-Great-crested Flycatcher
8-Red-eyed Vireo
115-Myrtle Warbler (~90% moulting juveniles and 10% moulting adults banded during the week)
26-American Redstart
 
Season Banding Total
05-520
04-463
 
Season Species Total
05-109
04-99
 
 
 
 

8/26/2005

Field Assistants Ian Sturdee (right) and Andrew Jano

8/24/2005

Notes from the lab....

It has been very busy at the research station the past two days, especially for August. In fact, the 73 birds banded yesterday and 63 today are the highest single-day banding totals for August in our 3 years at the site. American Redstart, Magnolia, Black-and-white and Myrtle Warbler have been particularly abundant. Good numbers of flycatchers, Veery and Swainson's Thrush were also observed. The unusually high density of migrants is attributable to cool temperatures and north winds.
 
 
 

The Red Oriole

The photo below is in fact a Baltimore Oriole and not some strange hybrid! The unusual red colouration of the bird is likely caused by diet. The phenomenon is commonly found in young Cedar Waxwings whose tail bands can be orange in some parts of the species range. Interestingly, orange coloured terminal bands were not documented prior to the 1950's. The appearance of the colour change coincided with the species population doubling from 1965-1979. So what would cause this?

Honeysuckle is an introduced shrub which produces red berries in mid-summer that many songbird species feed on. During the 1960's the shrubs were endorsed by the U.S. government as a valuable means of improving wildlife habitat. The distribution of honeysuckle increased dramatically during that time and the plants have since spread across the northeast. The increase in numbers of fruit-bearing ornamental shrubs has been credited with the increase in Cedar Waxwing numbers.

The relationship between honeysuckle and plumage variation in songbirds lies in the chemical composition of the fruit. Berries of some Honeysuckle species contain a red pigment called rhodaxanthin which causes the moulting tail feathers of 1st year Waxwings to be orange. Tartarian Honeysuckle was not tested but the species is closely related to Morrow's Honeysuckle (Lonicera Morrowi) which tested positive for the pigment. Tartarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera Tatarica) are abundant at TTPBRS and 2005 was a bumper year for the berry crop. Waxwings, Orioles and Robins were all observed gorging on berries during the first few weeks of August. At least two species of honeysuckle occur at the research station and the presence of Tartarian is known, the other has not been identified. Orange tail bands of young Waxwings have been commonly noted over the past three years of banding at Tommy Thompson Park.

Unfortunately I couldn't find any reference to plumage variance in Baltimore Oriole that is attributable to a diet of Honeysuckle berries. We can only speculate about the cause of the red plumage but diet is certainly plausible. At least 3 young Orioles banded this fall have shown varying degrees of red pigment to the feathers. One pair of Orioles (male and female were banded) successfully reared young on peninsula D in a Cottonwood directly above the shrubs. Certainly these berries would have been a substantial portion of the food brought to the nest by the adults. As the nestlings matured the incoming feathers could have come in red instead of the usual orange or yellow.

If anyone has any comments on this topic or other reports of "red" Baltimore Orioles, please email me!

Dan Derbyshire
Baltimore Oriole-Red Variant

8/20/2005

Juv. Swamp Sparrow

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-August 12-18

It has been a very interesting month of August at the research station as temperatures have been below average and we have had higher numbers of warblers than previous years. That being said, our banding totals are consistent with the August average (lowest month of the "field" year). Despite the rain cutting our net hours in half on August 12 we banded 29 birds which included good numbers of Traill's Flycatcher (11) and Yellow Warbler (14). Higher than normal numbers of Myrtle Warbler continue to pass through the park as daily totals have hovered around 10-20 individuals. The nets were very quiet on the 13th however 6 new arrivals for the fall included a singing Alder Flycatcher (1st fall record for TTPBRS) and an Upland Sandpiper (1st record for TTPBRS). 7 Short-billed Dowitchers on the 14th were new for the station checklist. The highlight of the day was the biggest concentration of swallows in the three year history of the migration monitoring program. Barn Swallow (620), Northern Rough-winged (150), Bank (120) and Tree Swallow (25) were observed migrating directly over the banding lab and along the north shore towards the lighthouse. Yellow-bellied Flycatchers started appearing on the 14th and were captured daily throughout the remainder of the week. 25 birds were banded on the following day which included season firsts of Mourning Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler. A total of 10 warbler species were observed or captured.  Strong winds on the 17th limited overall capture rates however a good passage of warblers were detected including the seasons first Black-throated Green Warbler. Remarkably, 41 Myrtles were tallied on the day! Favourable winds preceding the 18th resulted in the busiest day of the season so far as 40 birds were banded of 19 species. Numbers of Eastern Kingbird, Baltimore Oriole (6 banded) and American Goldfinch were significant.
 
HIGHLIGHTS
 
Banded
Aug 12
11-Traill's Flycatcher (record high one-day banding total for fall)
Aug 15
4-Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
1-Cedar Waxwing (1st and probably last banded of fall 05!)
Aug 16
1-Swainson's Thrush
1-Tennessee Warbler
Aug 17
3-Magnolia Warbler
2-Bay-breasted Warbler
1-American Redstart
Aug 18
2-Downy Woodpecker
2-Barn Swallow (1st banding records since spring 2003)
3-Eastern Kingbird
3-Wilson's Warbler
6-Baltimore Oriole
 
Observations
Aug 12
28-Yellow Warbler
1-White-throated Sparrow
Aug 13
1-Cooper's Hawk
1-Upland Sandpiper (1st record for TTPBRS observed by Paul Prior)
1-Ruby-throated Hummingbird
1-Alder Flycatcher (1st fall record for TTPBRS)
130-Cedar Waxwing
Aug 14
1-Common Loon
2-Black-bellied Plover
1-Least Sandpiper
7-Short-billed Dowitcher (1st record for TTPBRS)
Aug 15
1-Horned Grebe
1-Semipalmated Plover
Aug 16
1-Red-breasted Merganser
1-House Finch
Aug 17
10-Lesser Yellowlegs
22-Eastern Kingbird
41-Myrtle Warbler
Aug 18
1-Cape May Warbler
 
Season Banding Total
05-246
04-341
 
Season Species Total
05-96
04-86
 
 
 

8/18/2005

Canada Warbler

8/14/2005

Sunday, August 14

Still very quiet for migrant landbirds although there have been some unusual sightings over the past couple days. Yesterday Paul Prior had 8 species of warbler and a flyover Upland Sandpiper! This is the first record of UPSA for the station. Today there were 5 new arrivals, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Black-bellied Plover, Common Loon, Common Yellothroat and 7 Short-billed Dowitcher. The Dowitchers are also new for the TTPBRS checklist. However the highlight was a huge push of swallows. Today was the biggest swallow day on record for the station as some 600+ Barn, 120 Rough-wing and 150 Bank were observed. We also banded the first Canada Warbler of the season this morning.
 
 

8/13/2005

Northern Waterthrush (dgd)

Migration Monitoring at TTP-August 5-11

This is an update on the first week of fall migration in 2005. The station was setup on August 4 in preparation for the first day of fieldwork on the 5th. 18 birds were banded on the first day which included juvenile Eastern Kingbird, Gray Catbird, Song Sparrow and American Goldfinches. Migrants were few but a single Northern Waterthrush was captured along with 6 Yellow Warblers. The 6th featured more Traill's Flycatchers as well as early records of Swainson's Thrush and Wilson's Warbler. Also noteworthy on the day was an Indigo Bunting which was just the 8th banding record and the first fall banding record for TTPBRS.  A trickle of Yellow Warbler and Empidonax flycatchers continued on the 7th however the highlight was a very early Hermit Thrush. Hot and humid weather really put a damper on migration during the first week and was reflected in the low banding totals from the 7th-11th. Despite this there were some nice observations including singles of Tennessee, Magnolia, Blackpoll and Blackburnian Warbler. The most obvious difference between the first week this fall and previous fall seasons is the absence of Cedar Waxwing and American Robin from the banding data-set. The birds are present but are heavily concentrated on the north side of the peninsula feeding on the abundant honeysuckle berries. Most of the observations of warblers have been at this location as well. It was a quiet week overall but a good kickoff to the season and it will be interesting to see how the remainder of the fall unfolds!
 
HIGHLIGHTS
 
Banding
Aug 5
1-Least Flycatcher w/brood patch
Aug 6
5-Traill's Flycatcher
1-Swainson's Thrush
1-Nashville Warbler
1-Black-and-white Warbler
2-Ovenbird
2-Northern Waterthrush
1-Wilson's Warbler (record early)
1-Indigo Bunting (1st fall banding record)
Aug 7
1-Hermit Thrush (record early)
Aug 9
1-Magnolia Warbler
Aug 11
2-Brown Thrasher
 
Sightings
Aug 6
1-Cooper's Hawk
1-Red-breasted Nuthatch
1-Golden-crowned Kinglet (record early)
1-Myrtle Warbler
3-Chipping Sparrow
Aug 8
1-Horned Grebe
2-Greater Scaup
Aug 9
24-House Sparrow (record high count)
Aug 10
105-Cedar Waxwing
Aug 11
8-Purple Martin
1-Blackburnian
1-Blackpoll Warbler
3-Least Sandpiper
 
Season Banding Total
05-94
04-208
 
Season Species Total
05-73
04-65
 
Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA)
 
The Tommy Thompson Park Migration Monitoring Program is a joint project
of Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) and Toronto Bird Observatory (TBO)
 
TTPBRS Sightings: http://tboweb.blogspot.com/
 
 

8/04/2005

TTPBRS is open!

The research station was opened today for fall 2005 (our 3rd fall so far). Despite a couple of wasp nests, countless ants and high temperatures, the opening went very smoothly. Thanks to Don Johnston, Kerry McGuire and Steve Gillis for their help today!
 
There were a few birds about, the highlights were several Purple Martins and an early Myrtle Warbler. The Myrtle is the earliest fall record ever at TTPBRS!
 
Looking forward to tomorrow!
 
Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
 

8/01/2005

Fall 2005

Where did the summer go? Fall 2005 is only a few days away now and staff and volunteers are preparing for another season of fieldwork at Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station! Stay tuned for an update on our first day of operations.

Dan Derbyshire

6/10/2005

Great-crested Flycatcher

Migration Monitoring at TTP-June 3-9

This is the final update for spring 2005 as our last day of coverage was June 9. We will re-open the research station in early August for fall migration.
 
Given the unusually high level of bird actively last week at TTPBRS we weren't quite sure what to expect during our final week. Not surprisingly the remaining days of the spring season were quiet as banding totals peaked at 30 on June 5 and reached a low of just 3 on June 9! The primary species encountered in the first half of the period were Gray-cheeked and Swainson's Thrush, Magnolia, Wilson's and Yellow Warbler. Rather suddenly on June 5 the Yellow-bellied Flycatchers finally arrived at the station as 7 were banded on this day followed by 7 on the 6th and 3 on the 7th. Small numbers of Traill's Flycatcher were also associated with this movement. Unfortunately, a late push of Red-eyed Vireo didn't occur during the final week. Capture totals of this species were way down from last years total of 60, only 5 were banded this year. For the final few days of coverage migrating birds were hard to find as point count and census surveys yielded mostly breeding birds.
 
Recovery-As mentioned earlier in the season on May 18 we recaptured an ASY male American Redstart that was not banded at TTPBRS. We have discovered that the bird was originally banded on September 29, 2000 in Georgia, U.S.A. Based on all TTPBRS recoveries, this one is the furthest in terms of distance from the station and also the oldest (~4.5 years between banding and recovery). 
 
Acknowledgement-It has been another great season at Tommy Thompson Park and volunteers and staff can be proud of what was accomplished. Our coverage was excellent once again and we were able to offer interpretive talks and bird banding demonstrations to 363 people! As it turns out, spring 2005 was our busiest spring on record (2003-2005), however our totals were remarkably similar to spring 2004 (see below). Many thanks are due to the volunteers and to Seabrooke Leckie for their essential support this season!
 
HIGHLIGHTS
Banding
 
June 4
1-Eastern Wood Pewee
June 5
7-Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
5-Traill's Flycatcher
1-Great-crested Flycatcher
1-Wood Thrush
June 6
2-Gray-cheeked Thrush
1-Lincoln's Sparrow (late)
June 7
1-Red-eyed Vireo
1-Black-throated Green Warbler (late)
 
Observations
 
June 3
4-Blackpoll Warbler
June 4
20-Cedar Waxwing
June 5
1-Common Loon
10-Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
1-Black-throated Green Warbler
June 6
1-Black-bellied Plover
June 7
1-Yellow-billed Cuckoo
 
Season Banding Total
2005-2544
2004-2519
 
Season Species Total
2005-172
2004-172
 
Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA)
 
TTPBRS Sightings: http://tboweb.blogspot.com/
 
 
 
 
 
 

6/09/2005

June 9-End of Season

Spring 2005 has drawn to a close as today was our final day of coverage. Fittingly, we caught a total of 4 birds today, 2 Swainson's Thrush, 1 American Goldfinch and a Yellow Warbler Recapture. There were few migrants today but many busy adults tending eggs and nestlings! Also, our resident pair of Chickadee's finally fledged young today!

Here's to another great season and thanks to all the volunteers who made it possible!

Dan Derbyshire

6/07/2005

Recovery-American Redstart

As mentioned earlier in the season on May 18 we recaptured an ASY male American Redstart that was not banded by us. I found out today that the bird was originally banded on September 29, 2000 in Georgia, U.S.A. Based on all TTPBRS recoveries, this one is both the furthest in terms of distance from the station and also the oldest (~4.5 years between banding and recovery).

6/05/2005

Update-June 5

Just when you think migration has completely abated we band 7 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher amongst 30 birds! This was one of our better empidonax flycatcher days as reasonably good numbers of Traill's and Least's were observed and banded as well. The only migrant warbler species seen or caught were Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler and American Redstart.
 
Dan Derbyshire
 
 
 
 
 

6/03/2005

Mourning Warbler

Migration Monitoring at TTP-May 27-June 2

The final week of May and first week of June are typically slower paced for bird migration although the period is important for late spring migrants such as thrushes, vireos, flycatchers and a few warbler species. The absence of Philadelphia Vireo in Spring 2005 was alleviated on May 27 when our first of spring 2005 was banded.  Respectable numbers of Least Flycatcher (5) and Swainson's Thrush (13) were caught and banded on this day. Given the late date the 129 birds banded on May 28 was a surprise as this ended up being our busiest day of the spring! In 2004 our busiest day was May 10 which is more typical for southern Ontario. Primary species captured on the day were 42 Swainson's Thrush, 6 Gray-cheeked Thrush, 1 Tennessee Warbler,18 Magnolia Warbler, 8 Wilson's Warbler and 5 Lincoln's Sparrow. An impressive 17 warbler species were also tallied which is fairly late for such diversity. Migration was strong on the 29th and 30th as 60 and 69 birds were banded respectively. The 30th featured solid counts of flycatchers including 2 Yellow-bellied, 7 Eastern Wood Pewee, 5 Alder, 5 Willow, 7 Traill's (banded) and 6 Least. A very late female Ruby-crowned Kinglet was banded on this day. The date was unusual as was the fact that it had a brood patch which suggests that it might be breeding nearby (possible but unlikely). Oddly, a Golden-crowned Kinglet was observed the previous day which is an extremely late date for the species. Another 68 birds were banded on the 31st and one of the the highlights was 3 Canada Warbler. Bird numbers dropped considerably on June 1 when just 8 species of warbler were detected. A single Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, 3 Mourning Warbler and 3 Wilson's were banded on the day. Also on the 1st, a lone Common Nighthawk was sighted just before dawn. June 2nd was equally slow as 27 birds were banded and the vast majority of activity was from local breeders. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was observed on the north trail which was the first detected this spring. Overall it was a very good week given the lateness of spring, in fact this may turn out to be one of our busiest periods of the entire season!
 
The 42 Swainson's Thrushes banded on the 28th was a record one day total for the species at the research station, the previous being 25 on May 29th in 2003! Given the abundance of thrushes in both spring and fall it is clear that Tommy Thompson Park is an important stopover site for catharus thrushes. Based on the banding data from all years, Hermit Thrush is the 5th most commonly banded species at TTPBRS while Swainson's ranks 7th.
 
HIGHLIGHTS
 
Banding
May 27
1-Philadelphia Vireo
1-Red-eyed Vireo
1-Scarlet Tanager
28
1-Ruby-throated Hummingbird (captured and released unbanded)
42-Swainson's Thrush
2-Wood Thrush
7-Chestnut-sided Warbler
18-Magnolia Warbler
2-Myrtle Warbler
1-White-throated Sparrow (late)
29
3-Black-throated Green Warbler
4-Canada Warbler
30
2-Eastern Wood Pewee
7-Traill's Flycatcher
1-Ruby-crowned Kinglet (very late-last date was May 11 in 04)
1-Blue-headed Vireo
4-Mourning Warbler
31
5-Gray-cheeked Thrush
June 1
1-White-throated Sparrow
 
 
Observations
May 27
3-Whimbrel
12-Least Flycatcher
28
7-Red-eyed Vireo
14-Chestnut-sided Warbler
29-Magnolia Warbler
4-Myrtle Warbler (late)
5-Blackburnian Warbler
20-American Redstart
14-Wilson's Warbler
29
1-Golden-crowned Kinglet (very late-last date was April 22 in 04)
5-Philadelphia Vireo
1-Black-billed Cuckoo
30
8-Black-bellied Plover
3-Blue-headed Vireo
31
2-Common Loon
1-Northern Parula
June 1
1-Common Nighthawk
2
1-Yellow-billed Cuckoo
 
Season Banding Total
2005-2427
2004-2443
 
Season Species Total
2005-172
2004-172
 
Dan Derbyshire
 
 
 
 
 

5/28/2005

Migration Monitoring Assistant-Seabrooke Leckie w/ American Woodcock

May 28

High migrant density detected this morning as 129 birds were banded, 10 recaptured and 3 captured-unbanded. The bird of the day was the Swainson's Thrush as a whopping 42 were banded. This is the most SWTH ever banded in one day at TTPBRS, the former record being of 25 banded on May 29-2003. High numbers of American Redstart (20 DST), Wilson's Warbler (8 band), Magnolia Warbler (18 band) and Traill's Flycatcher (5 band) were also recorded. 17 species of warbler were found along with increased totals of vireos and flycatchers. Still no sign of Yellow-bellied Flycatchers this spring........

Great day!

Dan Derbyshire

5/27/2005

Chestnut-sided Warbler (D.Derbyshire)
Indigo Bunting (S. Leckie)

Migration Monitoring at TTP-May 20-26

The week started off on a quiet note with 41 birds banded on the 20th. The highlight of the day was the 31 Grade 7 students who participated in our Bird Studies at Tommy Thompson Park Program. The first Cedar Waxwings (4) appeared on this day along with 2 late Pine Warblers. Warm and calm conditions on the 20th led to 80 birds banded on May 21. Bulk species from the nets were Swainson's Thrush (16), Ovenbird (9) and Northern Waterthrush (8). From the 22nd-25th ground level migration wound to a halt as cool and "northwindy" (new word!) weather swept into the Toronto area. A Juvenile American Woodcock was banded on the 22nd which is evidence of this species having bred successfully right under our noses. Migrants were scarce on the 24th as the capture totals reached a May low of 6! There were a few more birds to see on the 25th and luckily we were able to find our first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the spring! Normally this species is a regular migrant at TTPBRS with 10-20 birds turning up in the nets from the first week through the third week of May. Continuing the trend of late arrivals and near "no shows" are Vireos and Flycatchers and a couple of warbler species. Thus far census and banding totals have been particularly meager in 2005 for Philadelphia, Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireo as well as Mourning and Black-throated Green Warbler. The first Tennessee Warbler of the season was banded on the 25th along with singles of Bay-breasted and Blackburnian and another Wood Thrush. The wind abated on the evening of the 25th which brought in another influx of migrants into Tommy Thompson. 86 birds were banded on the 26th which included 9 Gray Catbird, 12 Magnolia Warbler, 2 Mourning Warbler, 1 Indigo Bunting and 6 Lincoln's Sparrow. The most unusual sighting on the day was a Black Tern which was a first for TTPBRS and a rare sighting in the Toronto area!
 
HIGHLIGHTS
 
Banding
May 20
1-Black-throated Green Warbler (1 of few this spring!)
1-Purple Finch (4th banded at TTPBRS)
21
16-Swainson's Thrush
1-Wood Thrush
22
1-Wood Thrush
25
1-Wood Thrush
1-Tennessee Warbler
26
2-Mourning Warbler
11-Common Yellowthroat
3-Wilson's Warbler
1-Indigo Bunting (7th banded at TTPBRS)
6-Lincoln's Sparrow
 
 
Observations
May 20
4-Cedar Waxwing
2-Pine Warbler
21
2-Tennessee Warbler
19-Myrtle Warbler
6-Blackpoll Warbler
22
3-Blue-headed Vireo
23
1-Northern Parula
24
13-Common Loon
1-Peregrine Falcon
25
1-Long-tailed Duck (late)
1-Ruby-throated Hummingbird
26
1-Black Tern (1st for TTPBRS)
2-Alder Flycatcher
6-Gray-cheeked Thrush
22-Swainson's Thrush
5-Red-eyed Vireo
1-Orange-crowned Warbler
15-Chestnut-sided Warbler
 
Season Banding Total
2005-1978
2004-2198
 
Season Species Total
2005-166
2004-170
 
Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA)