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10/22/2006

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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