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11/12/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS- November 4-10,2006

Long-tailed Ducks (© D.Derbyshire)

This is the final update on field activities of the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station for 2006. Fall migration monitoring wrapped up on November 10th, providing closure to our busiest season since we started in 2003! It was a very interesting 100 days of fieldwork, as most species were more abundant than previous seasons, despite the fact that we lost more coverage due to weather than any previous fall.
The final week began with west winds, which is a limiting factor on migration, unless you are a raptor! A total of 90 net hours were logged and 9 birds were banded. The absence of landbirds was made up for by the growing rafts of waterfowl in the inner bays of Tommy Thompson Park and surrounding waters. A full day of banding (15 mist nets in operation for 6 hours) produced just 2 birds on November 5, a result that lent itself nicely to the notion that fall migration was winding down. Amongst the collective thousands of Long-tailed Ducks, Buffleheads and Common Goldeneyes was a lone male Harlequin Duck, a first for TTPBRS! Calm conditions on the 6th of November were a bit more suitable for southbound migrants. Large numbers of American Pipits (204) and blackbirds (3320) were moving, although the action at ground level was still pretty low. A lone Pine Siskin passed over, which was the first of the fall. Diurnal migration was strong again on the 7th as Pipits, Horned Larks, Cedar Waxwings and American Goldfinches were recorded in high numbers. Also observed were 3 Surf Scoters. Numbers of American Tree Sparrow and Slate-colored Junco increased on November 9, although few were captured. A few Snow Buntings and Purple Finches were also recorded. After a 10-day absence, north winds finally returned to Toronto on November 10. A total of 47 birds were banded, which consisted of mostly Golden-crowned Kinglets, American Tree Sparrows and Slate-colored Juncos. A couple of late Swamp Sparrows were also banded. Highlight of the day was the capture of our first ever Oregon Junco, a western subspecies of the Dark-eyed Junco.

On behalf of Toronto and Region Conservation I would like to extend a big thanks to all of our volunteers and supporters who made 2006 a successful year for the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station!

HIGHLIGHTS

Captures

Nov 4
1-White-crowned Sparrow
Nov 7
1-Myrtle Warbler
Nov 10
5-Golden-crowned Kinglet
14-American Tree Sparrow
2-Swamp Sparrow
24-Slate-colored Junco
1-Oregon Junco (1st for TTPBRS)

Observations

Nov 4
5-Redhead
1-White-winged Scoter
1-Peregrine Falcon
Nov 5
1700-Long-tailed Duck
280-Common Goldeneye
1-Harlequin Duck (1st for TTPBRS)
4-Myrtle Warbler
5-Purple Finch
Nov 6
1-Eastern Phoebe
3-Horned Lark
204-American Pipit
3320-Mixed Icteridae
Nov 7
250-Bufflehead
185-American Pipit
50-Cedar Waxwing
3-Pine Siskin
3-Surf Scoter
Nov 9
2-Snow Bunting
20-Slate-colored Junco
Nov 10
11-Horned Lark
2-Eastern Bluebird
85-American Pipit
52-American Tree Sparrow
105-Slate-colored Junco
8-Pine Siskin

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Nov 10
06- 4450
05- 4230
04- 3819

Species Recorded: Aug 5-Nov 10
06-176
05-180
04-173

11/06/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS: Oct 28 - Nov 3, 2006


Northern Saw-whet Owl (D.Derbyshire)

Fall 2006 is drawing to a close, as most of the landbirds have now passed through the area. However, birding is still good at Tommy Thompson Park as wintering birds arrive and late fall migrants trickle through. Northern Saw-whet Owls are still heading south through the Toronto area but in lower numbers than "normal". Due to weather, we have only been out on one occasion since the night of heavy migration on October 26. A total of 54 owls have been banded so far and 2 foreign banded birds have been recaptured.

The week of October 28-November 3 began with inclement weather, which limited our field coverage for the first two days. A full day's work on the 30th produced some interesting birds including observations of a Northern Shrike, 6 Snow Buntings, and good tallies of several waterfowl species. A fixture of late fall migration, the distinctive calls of Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins have been completely absent this fall. This is likely due to abundant cone crops in the north, which means that these species do not need to wander south for food. West winds continued on the 31st as 20 birds were banded from 5 hours of effort. The highlight of the day was our second ever capture of the maritime subspecies of Palm Warbler, the "Yellow" Palm Warbler. It was a chilly start on the 1st of November with temperatures hovering around 0 degrees Celsius. A total of 28 birds were banded on the day and a decent variety of late fall migrants were recorded. American Pipit, Cedar Waxwing, Slate-colored Junco and American Tree Sparrow were moving through despite the cold headwinds. November 2nd and 3rd were census-only days due to excessive wind chill.

HIGHLIGHTS

Captures


Oct 31
1-Common Yellowthroat
2-Northern Cardinal
1-"Yellow" Palm Warbler (2nd record for TTPBRS)
Nov 1
11-Slate-colored Junco
2-American Goldfinch

Observations

Oct 30

1000-Long-tailed Duck
360-Bufflehead
1-Northern Harrier
5-Bonaparte's Gull
1-Northern Saw-whet Owl
1-Hairy Woodpecker
4-Horned Lark
1-Northern Shrike (2nd record for TTPBRS, although a regular winter bird in the park)
6-Snow Bunting
Oct 31
5-Northern Pintail
2-Peregrine Falcon
12-Dunlin
28-American Pipit
Nov 1
3-White-winged Scoter
4-Redhead

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Nov 3
06-4,368
05-4,214
04-3,799

Species Recorded: Aug 5-Nov 3
06-173
05-177
04-167

Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
Toronto and Region Conservation
News and Sightings: http://ttpbrs.blogspot.com

10/29/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS- October 21-27, 2006


Banded Slate-colored Junco (©D.Derbyshire)

The week began with a major concentration of late fall migrants, as kinglets, creepers and a variety of sparrows were abundant. A total of 211 birds were banded and 52 species were documented. Overhead, blackbirds were on the move as 3,500 were tallied (mostly Red-winged Blackbirds with some Rusty Blackbirds and grackles mixed in). Also on the day were observations of Green Heron, Eastern Bluebirds and a Dickcissel! There was no coverage on the 22nd due to weather. The winds were strong from the south on the 23rd, which limited diurnal migration, although birds were still plentiful at ground level. Forty-one birds were banded on the 24th, the bulk of which were Hermit Thrushes and Golden-crowned Kinglets. Highlight of the day was a final tally of 46 American Crows, an unusual concentration of this species for the spit. October 25th featured an influx of Bufflehead and Long-tailed Duck, among other waterfowl species. Also recorded were the first American Tree Sparrows of the fall and a sharp increase in numbers of Slate-colored Juncos (140 observed). Cold and calm conditions occurred on the 26th which led to a moderate movement of birds. A total of 71 birds were banded and the first Long-eared Owl and Snow Buntings of the fall were observed. The conditions were good for migrating Northern Saw-whet Owls as 37 were captured that evening and overnight (36 banded, 1 foreign recovery). Slate-colored Juncos and American Tree Sparrows were the most conspicuous species on the following morning when 52 birds were banded. Two roosting Northern Saw-whets were found in the dense willow thicket, raising our cumulative species total to 172 for the season.

Overall, it was a fantastic week of monitoring and research at Tommy Thompson Park with plenty of birds in the skies, on land and water, and even in the dark of night!

HIGHLIGHTS

Captures

Oct 21

113-Golden-crowned Kinglet
39-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
20-Hermit Thrush
1-Black-throated Blue Warbler (record late, prev. record Oct 16, 2003)
4-Fox Sparrow
5-Swamp Sparrow
Oct 24
14-Hermit Thrush
1-Eastern Towhee
Oct 25
2-American Tree Sparrow
Oct 26
10-American Tree Sparrow
6-Fox Sparrow
12-Slate-colored Junco

Observations

Oct 21

10-Great Blue Heron
1-Green Heron
260-Golden-crowned Kinglet
100-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2-Eastern Bluebird
50-Hermit Thrush
100-American Pipit
1-Magnolia Warbler (record late, prev. record Oct 14, 2005)
1-Orange-crowned Warbler
1-Dickcissel (2nd record for TTPBRS)
3500-Unidentified Blackbirds (mostly Red-winged)
Oct 23
1-Bald Eagle
Oct 24
1-Northern Goshawk
3-American Coot
46-American Crow
40-Hermit Thrush
Oct 25
25-Long-tailed Duck
40-Bufflehead
4-Northern Harrier
13-Sharp-shinned Hawk
3-Red-tailed Hawk
1-House Wren
140-Slate-colored Junco
Oct 26
135-Long-tailed Duck
1-Long-eared Owl
3-Snow Bunting
Oct 27
35-American Tree Sparrow
11-Fox Sparrow
105-Slate-colored Junco

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Oct 27
06-4302
05-4007
04-3700

Species Recorded: Aug 5-Oct 27
06-172
05-173
04-165

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

10/22/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS- Oct 14-20, 2006


Herring Gull (© D.Derbyshire)

This is an update on fall migration at Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station for the period of October 14 to 20, 2006. The week began with very high winds, which limited our coverage to just the daily census. The wind relented a bit on the 15th allowing us to run our full protocol. A total of 55 birds were banded on the day, which consisted of mostly Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets. Conditions on the 16th of October were suitable for an active day and yet it was uncharacteristically quiet for birds at ground level. A total of 37 birds were banded, the highlights of which were two Fox Sparrows. Overhead, the skies were full of migrating Red-winged Blackbirds (760 counted), American Pipits (64) and various raptor species! Fieldwork was cancelled on the 17th due to weather. Winds were strong from the south on October 18, which always limits the flow of birds into Tommy Thompson Park in the autumn. Despite this, there were some interesting sightings on the day which included captures of Field Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler and Blue-headed Vireo and a noticeable increase in numbers of Song Sparrow and Slate-colored Junco. A total of 59 birds were banded on the day. On October 19, migrating birds were few as 27 birds were banded. Heavy precipitation moved in overnight which caused a major grounding of nocturnal migrants. A wet and windy census on October 20 revealed a much higher density of birds than had been recorded previously in the week. Hermit Thrush, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Myrtle Warbler were especially numerous. A Wilson's Snipe flushed from the sandy trail near net 4 was the first ever record of this species during the standard count period.

The past week was unusually slow for us, considering that mid-October is normally our busiest period of the year. However, weather has played havoc with our coverage and is likely responsible for keeping migrants in a holding pattern to the north of us. This is particularly true in the case of Northern Saw-whet Owls, which have been scarce thus far at Tommy Thompson Park (11 captures). The forecasted weather for the coming week looks promising and we are eager to see what the remainder of the fall has in store!

HIGHLIGHTS

Captures

Oct 15

1-Gray Catbird
1-Blue-headed Vireo
1-Eastern Towhee
Oct 16
2-Fox Sparrow
Oct 18
1-Blue-headed Vireo
1-Orange-crowned Warbler
1-Nashville Warbler
1-Field Sparrow
Oct 19
1-Blue-headed Vireo

Observations

Oct 14

2-Greater Yellowlegs
Oct 15
4-Bonaparte's Gull
Oct 16
10-Sharp-shinned Hawk
12-Horned Lark
32-Hermit Thrush
64-American Pipit
760-Red-winged Blackbird
30-Rusty Blackbird
Oct 18
12-Song Sparrow
20-Slate-colored Junco
Oct 19
2-Common Merganser
3-American Coot
55-Golden-crowned Kinglet
Oct 20
1-Merlin
1-House Wren
105-Golden-crowned Kinglet
25-Hermit Thrush
1-Wilson's Snipe

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Oct 20
06-3841
05-3720
04-3280

Species Recorded: Aug 5-Oct 20
06-163
05-170
04-163

Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
Toronto and Region Conservation
News and Sightings: http://ttpbrs.blogspot.com

10/17/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS- Oct 7-13, 2006



Hermit Thrush (S.Leckie)

Light north winds on the 7th of October resulted in a moderate influx of migrants into Tommy Thompson Park. A total of 105 birds were banded on the day, which featured high numbers of Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, and White-throated Sparrow. First records for the fall of Greater Scaup and White-winged Scoter were recorded, along with a late Red-eyed Vireo. Warm southerly winds likely contributed to low bird activity on Thanksgiving weekend. On October 8th, 29 birds were banded and a light passage of blackbirds and grackles was noted. Twenty-three birds were banded on the following day. Of note were moderate numbers of Hermit Thrush, Myrtle Warbler, Brown Creeper, and Slate-colored Junco. The all important winds switched to the north on the 10th, which resulted in another surge of late fall migrants. A total of 168 birds were banded on this day. Eastern Phoebe, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and White-throated Sparrow were the most abundant species involved. A massive cold front moved into the Great Lakes on the 11th which brought very high winds and rain. TTPBRS was closed for an unprecedented four consecutive days thereafter! This weather system caused a break in what has been a truly exceptional season for landbird migration at TTPBRS! Waterbirds on the other hand have been unusually scarce this fall. Many species of shorebirds have been observed in record low numbers if not missed altogether. Various species of northern breeding waterfowl are just starting to trickle into the Toronto Lakeshore and soon the calls of wintering Long-tailed Ducks will be heard. Fall Migration Monitoring will continue through November 12, 2006.

The Nocturnal Owl Monitoring Program has begun for fall 2006. The start of the season has been atypically slow due to a preponderance of unfavourable winds. We are looking forward to some heavy owl migration in the coming days!

The TTPBRS website has been reformatted to address layout issues in various versions of Internet Explorer. The website is now fully functional with a snazzy new layout!


HIGHLIGHTS

Captures

Oct 7

51-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
12-Hermit Thrush
1-Blue-headed Vireo
1-Red-eyed Vireo
Oct 8
1-Magnolia Warbler
Oct 10
7-Eastern Phoebe
70-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Orange-crowned Warbler

Observations

Oct 7

1-White-winged Scoter
5-Dunlin
7-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
21-Winter Wren
210-Golden-crowned Kinglet
200-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1-American Redstart
3-Eastern Towhee
23-Rusty Blackbird
4-House Finch
3-House Sparrow
Oct 8
30-American Pipit
Oct 9
1-Cooper's Hawk
1-Sharp-shinned Hawk
1-Horned Lark
1-Swainson's Thrush
Oct 10
1-American Woodcock
23-Eastern Phoebe
14-American Crow

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Oct 13
06-3662
05-3080
04-3049

Species Recorded: Aug 5-Oct 13
06-161
05-164
04-159

10/10/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS- Sept 30-Oct 6, 2006


The past week was a busy one indeed as large numbers of birds were encountered at Tommy Thompson Park. On September 30th, several late fall waterfowl species arrived (Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck) and numbers of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, White-throated Sparrow and Nashville Warbler were particularly high. A total of 105 birds were banded on the day. Blue Jays peaked for the fall on October 1st (400 counted) and high numbers of kinglets and sapsuckers were evident once again. A total of 151 birds were banded on the 2nd which consisted of mostly kinglets, Hermit Thrushes, Eastern Phoebes, and Myrtle Warblers. Rain moved into the Toronto area on the 3rd which kept our nets closed for two consecutive days. On October 5th we experienced an unprecedented passage of both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets. We began the day by cautiously opening 12 of our 15 mistnets, sensing that large numbers of birds were in the area. The second net check of the day revealed that 190 birds (mostly kinglets) were in the nets all at once! We had never seen so many birds at TTPBRS before and by day's end we had banded 162 and released 373 birds unbanded. Conservative estimates of kinglet numbers were that 1500 Golden-crowned and 700 Ruby-crowned Kinglets poured through the study area that morning. Eastern Towhee and Fox Sparrow also appeared for the first time this fall. On the final day of the update period, numbers of birds were still very high as 161 birds were banded.

HIGHLIGHTS

Captures


Sep 30
1-Wood Thrush
2-Orange-crowned Warbler
18-Nashville Warbler
Oct 1
1-Wilson's Warbler
Oct 5
1-Eastern Towhee
1-Fox Sparrow
Oct 6
2-Field Sparrow

Observations

Sep 30
18-American Wigeon
1-Dunlin
23-Hermit Thrush
1-Purple Finch
Oct 1
4-Northern Harrier
30-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
400-Blue Jay
15-Winter Wren
33-Nashville Warbler
1-Northern Parula
Oct 2
35-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
26-Eastern Phoebe
4-Gray-cheeked Thrush
10-American Pipit
175-Myrtle Warbler
Oct 5
1500-Golden-crowned Kinglet (record high for TTPBRS)
700-Ruby-crowned Kinglet (record high for TTPBRS)
75-Hermit Thrush
1-Blackpoll Warbler
5-Eastern Towhee
6-Fox Sparrow
105-White-throated Sparrow
90-Slate-coloured Junco

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Oct 6
06-3337
05-2164
04-2294

Species Recorded: Aug 5-Oct 6
06-160
05-160
04-156

10/01/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS- Sept 23-29, 2006



Nashville Warbler (© Dan Derbyshire)

The week began on September 23rd with moderate winds from the south. There were fewer birds around than the preceding days, although good numbers of Nashville Warbler and White-throated Sparrow were evident. It has been a record-breaking fall for many species including Nashville Warbler, which have been present in very high numbers on a daily basis since late August. Weather took a turn for the worse on the 24th, resulting in no coverage for the day. During the minutes before dawn on September 25th, it was clear that a major fallout had occurred as a chorus of calls and partial songs were heard. A total of 221 birds were banded and 68 species were recorded by day's end. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Yellow-shafted Flicker were abundant on the day as were both species of kinglet. Nashville Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and Myrtle Warbler were the most conspicuous of 15 warbler species. Orange-crowned Warbler (2 banded, 8 total recorded) were also numerous. Bird activity was strong once again on the 26th as 140 birds were banded, consisting mostly of kinglets, thrushes, and Nashville Warblers. The highlight of the day was the capture and banding of a Scarlet Tanager and the observation of a Whip-poor-will (second for TTPBRS). Purple Finch and Brown Thrasher finally made their first appearances this fall on the 27th on what was an otherwise quiet morning of fieldwork. Winds were light out of the north on the 29th which likely assisted in bringing an influx of birds into Tommy Thompson Park. A total of 178 birds were banded on the day and 0 recaptured. A day with no recaptures at TTPBRS is very unusual and is a sure sign that a turnover of birds had occurred. Decent numbers of raptors were recorded late in the day which included a record high count of 10 Turkey Vultures. It was yet another big kinglet day as 220 Golden-crowns and 45 Ruby-crowns were counted. Hermit Thrush, White-throated Sparrow and Black-throated Green Warbler were also recorded in high numbers.

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding
Sep 25

9-Gray-cheeked Thrush
1-Wood Thrush
8-Gray Catbird
8-Magnolia Warbler
13-Black-throated Blue Warbler
Sep 26
2-Orange-crowned Warbler
28-Nashville Warbler
1-Scarlet Tanager
Sep 29
2-Bay-breasted Warbler
3-Swamp Sparrow

Observations
Sep 25

30-Yellow-shafted Flicker
13-Eastern Phoebe
125-Golden-crowned Kinglet
105-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
18-Gray-cheeked Thrush
24-Swainson's Thrush
8-Orange-crowned Kinglet
40-Nashville Warbler
190-Myrtle Warbler
100-White-throated Sparrow
Sep 26
2-Northern Pintail
10-Northern Harrier
28-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
5-Eastern Wood-Pewee
1-Whip-poor-will (2nd record for TTPBRS)
3-Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Sep 29
7-American Wigeon
2-Redhead
10-Turkey Vulture
13-Sharp-shinned Hawk
6-Red-tailed Hawk
2-Horned Lark
24-American Pipit
190-Myrtle Warbler
19-Palm Warbler
17-Slate-colored Junco

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Sept 29
06-2670
05-1884
04-1668

Observations: Aug 5-Sept 29
06-152
05-158
04-150

9/24/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS-Sept 16-22, 2006



The past week of bird migration at Tommy Thompson Park was impressive to say the least. On September 16, a significant concentration of birds occurred with large numbers of Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Swainson's Thrushes, Red-eyed Vireos, and many warbler species. Record fall counts of several species were observed including Scarlet Tanager (4) and Rose-breasted Grosbeak (15). A total of 19 warbler species were tallied on a day when 236 birds were banded and just 4 recaptured. Weather must have been appropriate for migration that evening as bird numbers were significantly lower on the 17th when 47 birds were banded. First-of-fall species observed on the day included American Golden-Plover and Long-tailed Duck. Strong south winds on the 18th slowed migration down even further. A Black-billed Cuckoo was observed followed by a Yellow-billed Cuckoo on the following day. September 19th was interesting as the first largish groups of Blue Jays were recorded and high counts of Blackpoll Warbler and Northern Harrier were noted. A Northern Mockingbird was observed trailing behind a flock of Blue Jays, this is the first fall record of the species at TTPBRS! On September 20th, raptors and hummingbirds took centre stage. High numbers (for TTPBRS) of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were captured daily for the remainder of the period. September 21st was a record day for raptor migration. Stiff west winds brought all-time high counts of Northern Harrier (27), Sharp-shinned Hawk (35) and Cooper's Hawk (4). Also recorded on the day were season firsts of Hermit Thrush and Orange-crowned Warbler. The winds calmed down that evening which likely led to another push of migrants on the 22nd. This time, Myrtle Warbler and White-throated Sparrow were the dominant species. Increased numbers of Slate-coloured Junco and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker were also observed.

News
The spring 2006 report is now complete and now available in pdf format. The report includes an interesting analysis of temporal characteristics of bird captures at TTPBRS.

Issue 2 of the TTPBRS Newsletter is nearing completion and will be circulated very soon!

Lori Nichols of the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) informed me that a Nashville Warbler banded at TTPBRS on September 14, 2006 was picked up in downtown Toronto on September 15, 2006. This bird had plenty of fat reserves so it is not surprising that it headed off on the night of the 14th but it is interesting that it was found north of us in the downtown core. This record is a poignant demonstration of the influence of city lights on nocturnal bird migration, drawing birds north when they should be pointed south. To learn more about the important work being done by FLAP and the Lights Out Toronto program, visit the following websites:
www.flap.org
http://www.toronto.ca/lightsout/

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

Sep 16
1-Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
38-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
24-Swainson's Thrush
10-Red-eyed Vireo
4-Tennessee Warbler
37-Nashville Warbler
28-Myrtle Warbler
Sep 17
4-Ovenbird
Sep 19
9-Blackpoll Warbler
5-American Redstart
Sep 21
1-Hermit Thrush
1-Wood Thrush
1-Orange-crowned Warbler
Sep 22
6-Golden-crowned Kinglet
4-Gray-cheeked Thrush
6-Black-throated Blue Warbler
1-Northern Waterthrush
23-White-throated Sparrow

Observations

Sep 16
2-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
200-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
52-Swainson's Thrush
25-Red-eyed Vireo
75-Nashville Warbler
30-Chestnut-sided Warbler
240-Myrtle Warbler
28-Black-throated Green Warbler
2-Canada Warbler
4-Scarlet Tanager
15-Rose-breasted Grosbeak
22-White-throated Sparrow
Sep 17
1-Long-tailed Duck
1-American Golden-Plover
7-Philadelphia Vireo
20-Blackpoll Warbler
Sep 18
1-Black-billed Cuckoo
Sep 19
1-Yellow-billed Cuckoo
22-Yellow-shafted Flicker
140--Blue Jay
8-Golden-crowned Kinglet
85-Myrtle Warbler
1-Pine Warbler
36-Blackpoll Warbler
1-Northern Mockingbird
Sep 21
27-Northern Harrier
35-Sharp-shinned Hawk
4-Cooper's Hawk
4-Eastern Phoebe
10-Rusty Blackbird
Sep 22
6-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
2-Orange-crowned Warbler
90-White-throated Sparrow
5-Slate-colored Junco

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Sept 22
06-2093
05-1434
04-1137
03-765

Species Recorded: Aug 5-Sept 22
06-145
05-150
04-139

9/17/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS- September 9-15

White-crowned Sparrow (D.Derbyshire)

The week of September 9-15 featured plenty of rain and wind which limited our coverage on several days. When the weather did cooperate we found good numbers of birds at TTPBRS. On September 9, just 4 birds were banded before the rain moved in around mid-morning. North winds and clear skies on September 10 resulted in a more active day as 90 birds were banded and a total of 57 species were captured and/or observed. Ruby-crowned Kinglets were abundant as were Nashville Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, and Palm Warbler. High winds foreshortened the banding activities on September 11, and yet 51 birds were banded. It has been a record season for many species at TTPBRS including Magnolia Warbler and Northern Parula which were both well represented on this day. The first Pied-billed Grebe and House Wren of the fall were also recorded. September 12 and 13 were cancelled due to heavy rain and high winds. A moderate movement of birds was recorded on September 14 as 42 birds of 15 species were banded which included singles of Brown Creeper and Northern Parula, and 20 Magnolia Warblers. Season firsts of American Kestrel, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Rusty Blackbird were recorded. Thrushes, warblers, and vireos were numerous once again on the 15th when 45 birds were banded. This day featured the first sightings of Blue Jay, American Crow, White-crowned Sparrow, and Northern Goshawk of the fall.

Leaves are beginning to fall at Tommy Thompson Park and soon the kinglets, Northern Saw-whets and Hermit Thrushes will be arriving. The bird life has been absolutely tremendous this fall and we are eagerly awaiting October and November, a great time of the year to be at TTPBRS!

Note- 2 male Harlequin Ducks were observed by TTPBRS at Pipit Point, Leslie Street Spit, on September 12 (see website for photos, http://ttpbrs.blogspot.com)

HIGHLIGHTS

Captures

Sep 10
9-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1-Blue-headed Vireo
17-Nashville Warbler
2-Philadelphia Vireo
16-Myrtle Warbler
2-Lincoln's Sparrow
Sep 11
17-Myrtle Warbler
5-Wilson's Warbler
Sep 14
1-Brown Creeper
1-Northern Parula
20-Magnolia Warbler
1-Swamp Sparrow
Sep 15
13-Swainson's Thrush
1-Blue-headed Vireo
1-White-crowned Sparrow

Observations

Sep 9
2-Northern Shoveler
1-Peregrine Falcon
Sep 10
4-Black-bellied Plover
4-Winter Wren
33-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
5-Northern Parula
55-Magnolia Warbler
105-Myrtle Warbler
17-Western Palm Warbler
16-White-throated Sparrow
Sep 11
1-Pied-billed Grebe
Sep 14
1-American Kestrel
1-Merlin
1-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
1-Rusty Blackbird
Sep 15
1-Northern Goshawk
2-Blue Jay
2-American Crow
1-Wood Thrush
130-Myrtle Warbler

Birds Banded: August 5-September 15
06-1568
05-1091
04-776

Species Recorded: August 5-September 15
06-135
05-144
04-122

Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
Toronto and Region Conservation
News and Sightings:
http://ttpbrs.blogspot.com

9/12/2006

Harlequins


High winds forced cancellation of the bird banding operations today. While Dave Langford was on census, Andrew McDonald, Joanna Jack and I went out to Pipit Point to see what was around. Sharp eyed Andrew spotted these two Harlequins just offshore. I took many photos with my binoculars and this ended up being the best one (unfortunately). These are two males going from non-breeding to breeding plumage. Great sighting!

9/10/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS- Sept 2-8, 2006

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (D.Derbyshire)

The first week of September is an interesting period of fall migration, when flycatchers, orioles, and swallows have largely moved on, giving way to warblers, vireos, thrushes, and the first arrivals of late fall migrants such as the Ruby-crowned Kinglet (pictured above). September 2nd and 3rd were a "no go" as the remnants of hurricane Ernesto brought substantial rain and wind to the Toronto area. Fieldwork resumed on the 4th when we found north winds and a substantial movement of birds. A total of 102 birds of 20 species were banded which included high counts of Philadelphia Vireo, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Blackpoll, Wilson's and of course the omnipresent Myrtle Warblers of Tommy Thompson Park. Conditions were calm with low cloud on the following morning when 127 birds of 25 species were banded. The day featured high numbers of many warbler species and an increase in abundance of Swainson's Thrush, Veery, Bobolink, and Cedar Waxwing. Birding was very good once again on September 6 when the first noticeable movement of Sharp-shinned Hawks occurred. Also appearing were Ruby-crowned Kinglets, American Pipit, Solitary Sandpiper, and Blackpolls and Myrtles in scores. Between September 4th and 6th, a total of 560 Yellow-rumped "myrtle" Warblers were tallied which is astounding for the time of year! Banding was quiet on the 7th which gave opportunity to observe a very good raptor day for Tommy Thompson Park. The sightings included an adult Bald Eagle, 15 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 7 Northern Harrier, our 1st ever Broad-winged Hawk, and over 3000 high-flying Monarch butterflies (which look remarkably like hawks at high altitude)! Also recorded on the day were several newly arrived species such as, Swamp Sparrow, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, American Coot, and American Wigeon. South winds on the 8th led to a quiet day overall as 13 birds of 11 species were banded. Shorebirds finally turned up in numbers on this day, the most notable of which were Pectoral Sandpiper and Semipalmated Sandpiper.

HIGHLIGHTS

Captures

Sep 4
4-Philadelphia Vireo
3-Blackburnian Warbler
12-Wilson's Warbler
1-Scarlet Tanager
Sep 5
10-Veery
17-Swainson's Thrush
1-Northern Parula
19-Magnolia Warbler
8-Ovenbird
3-Canada Warbler
Sep 7
1-Brown Creeper
1-Wood Thrush
1-Northern Parula
3-Palm Warbler

Observations

Sep 3
1-Northern Parula
Sep 4
34-Magnolia Warbler
130-Myrtle Warbler
9-Blackburnian Warbler
22-Blackpoll Warbler
Sep 5
1-Merlin
38-Swainson's Thrush
6-Cape May Warbler
240-Myrtle Warbler
35-Black-throated Green Warbler
28-Blackpoll Warbler
32-Bobolink
6-House Finch
Sep 6
2-Peregrine Falcon
1-Solitary Sandpiper
3-American Pipit
190-Myrtle Warbler
55-Blackpoll Warbler
25-American Redstart
Sep 7
1-Bald Eagle
1-Broad-winged Hawk (1st record for TTPBRS)
2-American Wigeon
1-Winter Wren
Sep 8
12-Semipalmated Plover
1-Pectoral Sandpiper
2-Semipalmated Sandpiper

Birds Banded: August 5-September 8
2006-1339
2005-818
2004-682
2003-467

Species Observed: August 5-September 8
2006-124
2005-128
2004-114

9/03/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS-Aug 26-Sept 1

Lincoln's Sparrow (D.Derbyshire)

Fall 2006 is turning out to be a great season as we have experienced more favourable winds (north) than in any previous autumn at TTPBRS. These northerly winds have brought in new migrants on a daily basis and fall records are being established for many species. The week started off with good numbers of warblers, vireos, flycatchers and our best day of the fall for Baltimore Oriole (9 banded). A total of 62 birds were banded and 23 recaptured. A brief return to south winds on the 27th stalled migration as just 23 birds were banded. The most remarkable sighting of the day was of two mixed flocks of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs totaling 48 birds. Migrant activity was strong on the 28th with many warblers and vireos feeding on caterpillars in the canopy. It has been a good season for Veery as 1-3 have been banded daily for the past two weeks. East winds on the 29th brought higher numbers of American Redstart, Blackpoll and Bay-breasted Warbler and our first ever fall Golden-winged Warbler. The first push of Common Loon occurred on August 30th along with yet another surge of warblers and vireos. High totals for many species were recorded on the day but relatively few were caught as birds were found foraging mainly in places distant from the net locations. Cool temperatures and brisk north winds on the 31st made it feel like fall as did the arrival of both Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Lincoln's Sparrow. Nashville, Magnolia and Wilson's Warbler were the bulk species captured on the day. The busiest day of the period was September 1st when 78 birds were banded (more details below). A Peregrine Falcon was nearly captured on this day and impressive counts of warblers and vireos were logged.

The Monarch migration has fizzled a bit, perhaps owing to the high winds and cool temperatures we have been experiencing the past 10 days or so. There is at least another week or two of their migration window so we will keep an eye out for heavy movements.

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

Aug 26
2-Philadelphia Vireo
1-Cape May Warbler
9-Baltimore Oriole
Aug 28
3-Veery
2-Swainson's Thrush
1-Western Palm Warbler
Aug 29
5-Red-eyed Vireo
1-Golden-winged Warbler (1st fall Banding Record for TTPBRS)
2-Blackpoll Warbler
Aug 30
4-Black-throated Blue Warbler
6-Northern Waterthrush
1-Western Palm Warbler
Aug 31
6-Wilson's Warbler
1-Lincoln's Sparrow
Sept 1
11-Nashville Warbler
14-Myrtle Warbler
24-Magnolia Warbler
7-Wilson's Warbler

Observations

Aug 26
1-Black-bellied Plover
40-Magnolia Warbler
55-Myrtle Warbler
Aug 27
5-Greater Yellowlegs
43-Lesser Yellowlegs
7-Purple Martin
Aug 28
1-Solitary Sandpiper
Aug 29
3-Palm Warbler
10-Blackpoll Warbler
Aug 30
4-Common Loon
7-Eastern Wood Pewee
14-Least Flycatcher
18-Nashville Warbler
55-Magnolia Warbler
85-Myrtle Warbler
10-Black-throated Green Warbler
30-Blackpoll Warbler
12-Northern Waterthrush
Aug 31
1-Cooper's Hawk
1-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
9-Philadelphia Vireo
20-Red-eyed Vireo
26-Nashville Warbler
9-Bay-breasted Warbler
Sept 1
1-Peregrine Falcon

Birds Banded: August 5-September 1
2006-1006
2005-638
2004-579

Species Recorded: August 5-September 1
2006-111
2005-118
2004-110

8/26/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS-Aug 19-25, 2006


The week of August 19-25 was nothing short of spectacular as unprecedented August numbers of birds were found. This statement echoes the update from the same week in 2005 although this past week was more impressive by far. The period started off slow as 17 birds were banded on the 19th. This was "the" day for swallows at Tommy Thompson Park this year as a steady stream of an estimated 650 Barn Swallows were tallied during the morning! Only half of the morning of the 20th received coverage as heavy winds out of the north began around mid-morning which is likely responsible for what occurred the following days. On August 21st a total of 66 birds were banded which included a sudden influx of Magnolia Warbler, American Redstart and Northern Waterthrush. Most of the birds present that day remained high in the canopy as described in the update from last week. First of fall species on the day included Great-crested Flycatcher, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Red-eyed Vireo and White-throated Sparrow. Migration was again steady on the 22nd as the daily totals included 90 Myrtle Warbler, 70 Magnolia Warbler and 18 American Redstart amongst 17 warbler species. August 23rd will be hard to forget as by day's end 171 birds of 27 species were banded! Single day banding records were set for Northern Waterthrush (19 banded, 35 total), Magnolia Warbler (36, 110), Chestnut-sided Warbler (18, 50) and Bay-breasted Warbler (7, 20). Twenty-one species of warbler were banded or observed and high numbers of Traill's Flycatcher, Veery and Bobolink were also recorded. The north winds continued into the next day and there was no break in the action as 126 birds of 26 species were banded on the 24th, 50 of which were Magnolia Warblers (140 daily total!). To put these numbers into context the previous high one-day banding total for August at TTPBRS was 62 on August 25-2005. The birding during the two-day period was excellent and the incredible numbers of birds hopefully point to a very good breeding season this year. The weather took a turn for the worse on August 25th with high winds and rain which limited our coverage.

News and Notes
The fall migration of the Monarch butterfly is in full swing and so far counts near the lighthouse have revealed an early concentration of over 5,000. The peak of migration is typically in early-mid September which means that numbers could be phenomenal in a week or two! See a report from last year on this annual spectacle at Tommy Thompson Park (scroll down a bit)- http://ttpbrs.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_ttpbrs_archive.html

A male Yellow-shafted Flicker originally banded at TTPBRS by Paolo Viola on May 14-2003 was recaptured at TTPBRS on August 24th! Paolo Viola was instrumental in the formation of TTPBRS in the "early days" and has been very helpful ever since. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Paolo for all of his efforts over the years and wish him all the best in his move to Sarnia next week!

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

Aug 20
1-Philadelphia Vireo
1-Cape May Warbler
7-Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
2-Red-eyed Vireo
7-Northern Waterthrush
Aug 22
1-Hermit Thrush
Aug 23
1-Black-billed Cuckoo
4-Ruby-throated Hummingbird (released unbanded)
10-Traill's Flycatcher
2-Swainson's Thrush
4-Veery
5-Black-throated Blue Warbler
4-Blackburnian Warbler
15-American Redstart
Aug 24
50-Magnolia Warbler

Observations

Aug 19
650-Barn Swallow
90-Bank Swallow
65-Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Aug 21
1-Yellow-billed Cuckoo
1-Olive-sided Flycatcher
45-Magnolia Warbler
6-Blackburnian Warbler
Aug 22
1-Sharp-shinned Hawk
1-Cooper's Hawk
8-Tennessee Warbler
70-Magnolia Warbler
Aug 23
12-Tennessee Warbler
22-Nashville Warbler
50-Chestnut-sided Warbler
150-Myrtle Warbler
60-American Redstart
11-Ovenbird
35-Northern Waterthrush
10-Canada Warbler
1-Scarlet Tanager
15-Bobolink
Aug 24
140-Magnolia Warbler
145-Myrtle Warbler
17-Bay-breasted Warbler
10-Wilson's Warbler

Season Banding Total
06-691
05-520
04-463

Season Species Total
06-102
05-109
04-99

8/19/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS-Aug 12-18, 2006


The second week of fall migration at TTPBRS began on August 12 with some strong early morning movement of warblers, mostly Yellows and Myrtles. The vast majority of the birds were found in the tops of birch trees throughout the study area which meant that our surveys were far more productive than the mist-nets were. An unusual daily occurrence throughout the week was the observation of substantial flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds passing over just after dawn which we normally don't encounter until later on in October and November. A total of 17 birds were banded on the 13th which included 2 Black-throated Blue Warblers. Other noteworthy observations from the day included an Osprey, and several of both Cape May and Tennessee Warbler. South winds on the 14th and 15th likely held birds back as bird migration was generally lacking. August 16th was very interesting as both the diversity of species and overall abundance was high for August at Tommy Thompson Park. A total of 16 warbler species were recorded including an estimated 60 Myrtle, 5 Black-throated Green, 9 Blackburnian and 8 Northern Waterthrush. Common Loon, Veery, Philadelphia Vireo and Mourning Warbler put in first appearances for fall 2006 on the 17th. What we have found at TTPBRS over the course of the first four years is that early fall migrants tend not to linger in the area very long as indicated by high turnover and low recapture rates. This was much in evidence on the 18th as just 9 birds were banded from a full compliment of net hours. Despite this there were some "new" birds around which included 6 Cape May Warbler, the first high flying Bobolink of the fall and over 170 Red-winged Blackbirds. August 2005 was very atypical at TTPBRS due in large part to the remarkable abundance of Yellow-rumped "myrtle" Warblers which consisted of moulting juveniles and adults. This may not be as odd as we thought as we are seeing even more of this species in 2006! Over the course of the next few weeks we can look forward to more and more warblers, the arrival of vireos and thrushes and what is looking to be a most impressive Monarch Butterfly migration!

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

Aug 12
3-Blackburnian Warbler
Aug 13
1-Swainson's Thrush
2-Black-throated Blue Warbler
Aug 15
5-Myrtle Warbler
Aug 16
6-Traill's Flycatcher
Aug 17
1-Veery
Aug 18
2-Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Observations

Aug 12
25-Eastern Kingbird
45-Yellow Warbler
1-Slate-coloured Junco
160-Red-winged Blackbird
Aug 13
1-Osprey
17-Warbling Vireo
3-Cape May Warbler
1-Bay-breasted Warbler
1-Blackpoll Warbler
4-Wilson's Warbler
Aug 14
1-Sharp-shinned Hawk
Aug 15
4-Blue-winged Teal
Aug 16
2-Red-breasted Merganser
60-Myrtle Warbler
6-Black-and-white Warbler
Aug 17
1-Common Loon
1-Philadelphia Vireo
42-Yellow Warbler
7-Chestnut-sided Warbler
8-Northern Waterthrush
Aug 18
1-Bobolink
172-Red-winged Blackbird

Season Banding Total
06-248
05-246
04-341

Season Species Total
06-90
05-96
04-86

8/12/2006

Fall Migration at TTPBRS-Aug 5-11, 2006


This is the first update on Migration Monitoring at Tommy Thompson Park for fall 2006. Weekly news and sightings from the station will be distributed each Saturday through November 12. As always you can follow the migration at TTPBRS by visiting our sightings board which is updated on a daily basis. http://ttpbrs.blogspot.com

Mist nets were setup and trails and lanes were cleared on the 4th in preparation for the first day of fieldwork on the 5th. The vegetation at the park is very dense which made for a long and arduous day which would have been more difficult if not for the help of volunteers Don Johnston, Larry Menard and Andrew Jano (thanks guys!). The first day was characterized by hot and humid conditions with winds from the south which meant few birds were moving. August typically features localized movement of post-breeding young and adult birds, however the most interesting aspect of the first week was a noticeable lack of local breeders, particularly Yellow Warblers. It seemed as though many birds finished nesting early this year and left Tommy Thompson Park to finish moulting in other locations. A total of 38 birds were banded on the 5th which was dominated by young and boisterous European Starlings. Highlights of the day were observations of Black-billed Cuckoo and Eastern Meadowlark and the banding of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Wood Thrush. More south winds and more empty net rounds were a feature of the 6th through the 9th although there were a few birds trickling through such as Ovenbird, Nashville Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Canada Warbler and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. The all important winds shifted to north on the 10th which increased the number of birds at TTPBRS. A decent push of Warbling Vireo was observed on this day and an early Swainson's Thrush was banded. August 11 was noteworthy in that this was the first day that felt like fall migration was underway. A total of 30 Yellow Warblers, 18 Myrtle Warblers and over 100 Red-winged Blackbirds were recorded. Singles of Blackburnian Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler and an early Slate-coloured Junco were also noted.

The first week went very well and we are all looking forward to another great season at Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station!

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

Aug 5
1-Wood Thrush
8-Traill's Flycatcher
Aug 6
1-Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Aug 8
1-Black-billed Cuckoo
2-Nashville Warbler
1-Ovenbird
Aug 10
1-Swainson's Thrush
9-Warbling Vireo
Aug 11
1-Myrtle Warbler
2-Northern Waterthrush
3-Canada Warbler
1-Slate-coloured Junco

Observations

Aug 5
1-Least Sandpiper
1-Alder Flycatcher
1-Myrtle Warbler
1-Eastern Meadowlark
Aug 6
2-Purple Martin
1-Chipping Sparrow
Aug 7
1-Black-and-white Warbler
Aug 9
1-Northern Harrier
1-Cooper's Hawk
Aug 11
350-European Starling
30-Yellow Warbler
18-Myrtle Warbler
1-Blackburnian Warbler
1-Bay-breasted Warbler
4-Northern Waterthrush

Season Banding Total (Aug 5-11)
06-107
05-94
04-208

Season Species Total (Aug 5-11)
06-65
05-73
04-65

8/10/2006

A few birds from the first week

Eastern Kingbird
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
European Starling

7/10/2006

Summer Update from TTPBRS

[A breeding Wood Thrush is banded by TTPBRS at the newly established Humber River Valley MAPS station in Claireville Conservation Area. The operation of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program in the GTA will provide long term monitoring of breeding bird demographics in response to changes in the local environment.]

Spring 2006 was an exciting season at Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS). On June 8th, staff and volunteers completed the 7th consecutive season of the Migration Monitoring Program at Tommy Thompson Park! A total of 2,570 birds were banded and 177 species were recorded in the study area and these were our highest spring totals ever! Highlights from the field included first records of Clay-coloured Sparrow, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Grasshopper Sparrow and Forster’s Tern, among others. It was a great season not only because of the birds but also because our educational programs were in full swing. In the end over 900 people were treated to bird banding demonstrations and discussions!

In other news, this past June we were very pleased to hear from Bird Studies Canada that TTPBRS was accepted as a member station of the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network!

Staff and volunteers of TTPBRS have been very busy this summer with three major initiatives: The Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program, Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program and the Breeding Birds of Tommy Thompson Park Project. The newly established MAPS station at Claireville Conservation Area in Brampton has been an absolute pleasure to run and we were very pleased to find very high breeding densities of many species including American Redstart! More details on year 1 of this program will appear in the upcoming TTPBRS Newsletter (summer issue).

Our surveys of marsh birds for The Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program recently wrapped up for 2006. We were pleased to find lots of activity and some improved diversity for many of the sites compared to previous years. This year there were more Purple Martin, Marsh Wren and Green Heron to name a few. The highlight of the surveys was the discovery of three simultaneously calling Least Bittern in Hydro Marsh in late June!

The Breeding Birds of Tommy Thompson Park Project has been a tremendous success in 2006 as 215 nests of non-colonial waterbird species have been carefully detected and monitored. This figure encompasses 33 species which is a big jump from last year when 73 nests of 20 species were found. Highlights include second and third nesting records of Orchard Oriole at Tommy Thompson Park, first record of Northern Rough-winged Swallow, second record of Least Flycatcher and first record of Eastern Meadowlark to name a few.

The research station will reopen on August 5 for fall migration so look for daily reports to resume then!

6/11/2006

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-June 3-9


Cedar Waxwing- detail of "wax" appendages (derbyshire)

Note on photo-These red tips on the ends of waxwing secondaries are flat extensions of the feather shafts and are composed of keratin (same material as hair and fingernails). The tips derive their colour from astaxanthin, a caretenoid pigment that is ingested from certain foods.
This is the final update on spring migration monitoring at TTPBRS in 2006. Thursday, June 8 was our last day of coverage providing closure to a week that was typically quiet for the time of year. Banding totals reached a low of 8 on June 4 and a high of 28 on June 7. Migrant species were captured on a daily basis, the most notable of which were Gray-cheeked Thrush, Swainson's Thrush and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. June 3rd featured a small trickle of passing warblers including Blackburnian, Blackpoll, Northern Waterthrush and Wilson's Warbler. On June 5 a good selection of flycatcher species were evident along with another Blue-winged Warbler. Most of the birds banded on June 6 and 7 were captured on the first two net rounds and were almost entirely late migrant thrushes. Of note on the 7th was the banding of 4 Ovenbird, 1 Canada Warbler and the discovery of a Great-horned Owl near nets 10 -11. Great-horned Owl is often heard and sometimes seen during our Northern Saw-whet Owl Monitoring Program in late fall but the bird on June 7 was the first ever encountered during the day at TTPBRS!

Spring 2006 was yet another successful season of fieldwork and on behalf of Toronto and Region Conservation I would like to thank all of the volunteers who made it possible! The Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station will reopen on August 5th for the start of fall migration. In the meantime staff and volunteers will be busy collecting data on breeding birds all over the GTA as well as entering and proofing spring migration data. News, photos and summaries from our summer work will be added to our website on a regular basis: http://ttpbrs.blogspot.com

WEEK HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

June 3
1-Blackburnian Warbler
1-Northern Waterthrush
June 4
2-Blackpoll Warbler
June 5
3-Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
1-Blue-winged Warbler
2-Black-throated Green Warbler
June 6
7-Gray-cheeked Thrush
7-Swainson's Thrush
June 7
4-Ovenbird

Observations

June 3
1-Yellow-billed Cuckoo
June 4
20-Semipalmated Sandpiper
June 7
1-Great-horned Owl

Season Banding Total
2006-2549
2005-2547
2004-2525

Season Species Total
2006-177
2005-172
2004-172

6/04/2006

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-May 27-June 2


Ruby-throated Hummingbird (derbyshire)

Late May and early June typically features a gradual slowdown of bird migration in terms of abundance and species richness. This is the period of spring migration when flycatchers, vireos and thrushes replace warblers and sparrows as the most prominent species. During the past week there was no such slowing of migration however warblers were few and the aforementioned late spring species were abundant. On May 27 the first Yellow-bellied Flycatcher of the season was recorded along with an unusual TTPBRS sighting of an American Bittern. A shift to south winds on the 28th brought in more birds to Tommy Thompson Park as 92 birds were banded which included high numbers of Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrush, Gray Catbird and Red-eyed Vireo. A total of 40 Red-eyed Vireos were tallied on the day along with 18 American Redstart and a record high 14 Mourning Warblers. The second record of Green Heron for TTPBRS was also detected on this day. Overnight migration was heavy on the night of May 28/29 which led to the banding of 85 birds on the 29th. Eastern Wood Pewee (2 banded), Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (8 banded) and Traill's Flycatcher (50 observed) were well represented along with another high count of Red-eyed Vireo. A total of 92 birds were banded and 6 recaptured on the 30th of May which included 12 Gray-cheeked Thrush along with 27 Swainson's Thrush and the first Yellow-billed Cuckoo since 2004. The weather pattern of high temperatures and heavy fog continued on the 31st when TTPBRS staff encountered another decent passage of late spring migrants. Highlights of the first day of June included the arrival of Alder Flycatcher and the capture and banding of 7 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. On the final day of the update period, migrant species were fewer and most of the birds observed were active breeders. The TTPBRS study area has "greened out" very nicely, the honeysuckle and dogwood shrubs are in full flower and the amount of nesting activity is quite spectacular! The migration monitoring program will run through June 9 for the spring and then re-open for the fall on August 5.

TTPBRS News

Foreign Recovery- Marcel Gahbauer of McGill Bird Observatory informed me that a Ruby-crowned Kinglet banded on October 9-2005 at TTPBRS was recovered at his station in Montreal on May 2-2006. This represents the second RCKI banded at TTPBRS that has been recovered elsewhere. This is interesting given that fewer than 20 Ruby-crowns banded in Canada have ever been recovered.

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

May 27
1-Bay-breasted Warbler
3-Blackpoll Warbler
May 28
1-Eastern Kingbird
5-Gray-cheeked Thrush
22-Swainson's Thrush
2-Cedar Waxwing
6-Mourning Warbler
May 29
8-Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
19-Traill's Flycatcher
26-Swainson's Thrush
2-Philadelphia Vireo
1-Indigo Bunting
May 30
1-Yellow-billed Cuckoo
12-Gray-cheeked Thrush
27-Swainson's Thrush
June 1
7-Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
June 2
1-Indigo Bunting

Observations

May 27
8-Cedar Waxwing
1-American Bittern
May 28
38-Swainson's Thrush
15-Gray Catbird
40-Red-eyed Vireo
18-American Redstart
14-Mourning Warbler
18-Wilson's Warbler
1-Eastern Towhee
1-Green Heron (2nd record for TTPBRS)
May 29
50-Traill's Flycatcher
45-Red-eyed Vireo
May 30
3-Purple Martin
25-American Redstart
8-Blackpoll Warbler
12-Black-bellied Plover
June 1
1-Alder Flycatcher

Season Banding Total
2006-2359
2005-2432
2004-2443

Season Species Total
2006-175
2005-172
2004-172

5/27/2006

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-May 20-26


Cape May Warbler (derbyshire)

The week began with high winds and rain on the 20th and 21st which limited our coverage to a few meager net hours and the daily census. Despite the inclement conditions a very high diversity of species was detected during census on the 21st as 54 species were observed which included the second record of Northern Mockingbird for TTPBRS. May 22nd featured a sharp rise in abundance of birds as 98 were banded and 5 spring firsts were recorded including our first spring record of Olive-sided Flycatcher. Warblers were seemingly everywhere especially Myrtle, Magnolia and Cape May Warbler. A remarkable 13 Cape May's were banded and 22 were detected. The previous high cumulative total for an entire spring season was 10 in 2005 (5 in 2004)! An estimated 83% of the world population of this species nests in Canada's boreal forest and the species has been declining since the 1970's due to waning densities of the spruce budworm. May 23rd was also quite active as 70 birds were banded and 76 species were detected. A total of 9 Cape May Warblers were banded on this day and a whopping 28 were recorded in total. Shorebirds were numerous during this period with significant tallies of Dunlin, Least Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher and Semipalmated Plover. May 25th featured another influx of migrants as 116 birds were banded and 81 species were recorded (narrowly missing our record high one-day species count of 82). Dominant species on the day were Least Flycatcher, Swainson's Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Magnolia Warbler and American Redstart. Birds were less numerous on the 25th however we did capture and band the first Gray-cheeked Thrush of the spring. Banding was cancelled on May 26th due to showers and census revealed mostly resident/breeding species however migration is far from over yet......
News and Notes
  • TTPBRS staff have been collecting sperm samples from a variety of warbler species this spring which will assist Phd candidate Simone Immler of the University of Sheffield in the U.K. The procedure is far less invasive than it might sound! More information on this fascinating project is found at the following link: http://www.shef.ac.uk/aps/apsrtp/immler-simone/index.html
  • We have also been checking birds for ticks as in spring 2005 and have removed, catalogued and shipped over 50 ticks which will assist Dr. Nicolas Ogden of the University of Montreal for his research on the dispersal of disease bearing ticks by migratory birds.
  • Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) is about to launch for the first time in the Greater Toronto Area! This exciting project will assess vital rates of breeding birds in the humber watershed through mist-netting, habitat assessments and surveys. More details and updates will follow and a feature will be included in the next TTPBRS newsletter (late summer).
HIGHLIGHTS
Banding
May 22
1-Eastern Wood Pewee
13-Cape May Warbler
25-Myrtle Warbler
2-Northern Waterthrush
May 23
1-Orange-crowned Warbler
9-Cape May Warbler
1-Mourning Warbler
2-Wilson's Warbler
1-Savannah Sparrow
May 24
9-Least Flycatcher
21-Swainson's Thrush
1-Orange-crowned Warbler
1-Blackpoll Warbler
1-Scarlet Tanager
9-Lincoln's Sparrow
May 25
1-Gray-cheeked Thrush
Observations
May 21
1-Northern Mockingbird (2nd record for TTPBRS)
May 22
1-Merlin
55-Dunlin
1-Cedar Waxwing
6-Northern Parula
8-Blackburnian Warbler
1-Olive-sided Flycatcher (1st spring record for TTPBRS)
May 23
12-Veery
6-Tennessee Warbler
28-Cape May Warbler
60-Myrtle Warbler
May 24
18-Least Flycatcher
2-Blue-headed Vireo
1-Philadelphia Vireo
30-Red-eyed Vireo
65-Magnolia Warbler
20-American Redstart
11-Wilson's Warbler
May 25
6-Whimbrel
7-Short-billed Dowitcher
Season Banding Total
2006-2039
2005-1986
2004-2175
Season Species Total
2006-170
2005-166
2004-170
Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
Toronto and Region Conservation

News and Sightings:
http://ttpbrs.blogspot.com