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9/09/2005

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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