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4/29/2006

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-April 22-28


"Yellow" Palm Warbler (Derbyshire)

The research station was closed on the 22nd and 23rd due to very high winds and rain. Staff and volunteers returned on the 24th and found respectable totals of White-throated Sparrow, Hermit Thrush and Brown Creeper. On this day Ruby-crowned Kinglets outnumbered Golden-crowns for the first time this spring and there was also a good diversity of sparrows. Despite north winds a total of 77 birds were banded on the 24th which included the first Pine Warbler banded for the season and the first ever banding of "Yellow" Palm Warbler at the station. Higher wind speed (northerly) on the 25th stalled migration once again as just 12 birds were banded before the rain and hail began falling at TTP. April 26 saw the arrival of Northern Rough-winged Swallow at TTPBRS and season firsts of Black-and-white Warbler, Merlin and Purple Martin appeared on the 27th. Also documented on the 27th were higher counts of Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Barn Swallow, Myrtle Warbler and Swamp Sparrow. The weather was quite consistent throughout the update period and continued on the 28th as there were few new migrants and many recaptures. Highlight of the 28th was the second sighting of Forster's Tern this spring (likely the same bird).

Overall the first 30 days of spring 2006 was "normal" for us as April has consistently been the most quiet month at TTPBRS between 2004 and 2006. However banding totals are never an appropriate measurement of success for a project of this kind. What is important is that we have been able to gather a good sample of temperate migrant species that pass through the area in early spring.

The Winged Migration program for grade 5-7 students has been going very well with many excited responses to the Flickers, White-throats, Cardinals, Kinglets and Creepers that we have shown them in the hand! The program will be running through May 12.

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

Apr 24
16-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
16-Hermit Thrush
1-Pine Warbler
1-"Yellow" Palm Warbler (1st banding record for TTPBRS)
Apr 27
6-Swamp Sparrow
Apr 28
5-American Goldfinch

Observations

Apr 24
2-American Coot
50-Brown Creeper
95-White-throated Sparrow
Apr 26
7-Common Loon
3-Northern Rough-winged Swallow
3-Eastern Towhee
Apr 27
1-Merlin
1-Purple Martin
14-Myrtle Warbler
1-Black-and-white Warbler
Apr 28
1-Forster's Tern

Season Banding Total
2006-638
2005-739
2004-421

Season Species Total
2006-101
2005-103
2004-111

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

4/28/2006

TTPBRS-Baillie Birdathon 2006

The Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS) has been busily documenting the spring migration since April 1st and we are gearing up for an increase in numbers and variety of northbound migrants in the next week or so.

As many of you may already know we are planning on establishing TTPBRS as a long-term initiative and we are moving forward with our plans for research, monitoring and educational programs in the GTA. In order for TTPBRS to continue it will be necessary to establish initiatives that will ensure financial stability on an annual basis. The Baillie Birdathon is a long standing annual fundraiser operated by Bird Studies Canada that raises both awareness and monetary support for important bird conservation projects. The Baillie Birdathon is a unique opportunity for us to ensure that TTPBRS can continue to deliver effective field and educational programs. A summary of a few of our accomplishments is provided.

TTPBRS 2003-2006
  • 3+ years of daily standardized data collection through the Migration Monitoring Program
  • Data being applied to monitoring and conservation at local, national and international levels
  • Successful launch of annual Nocturnal Owl Monitoring Program and the The Breeding Birds of Tommy Thompson Park Project.
  • Over 9,000 volunteer hours contributed to field programs
  • Banding demonstrations and talks given to over 3,000 people
  • Several of past volunteers have been trained at TTPBRS and gone on to work in Costa Rica, British Columbia, Ohio, Michigan and Ontario
  • Collaborative research projects initiated with the University of Montreal, University of Sheffield (UK), Queen's University and the Canadian Wildlife Service.
  • Annually provide steering and support to other bird conservation organizations and researchers
  • Stakeholder in the Lights Out Toronto campaign
  • 2006 will see the launch of Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) in the GTA and incorporation of the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program into our summer field program roster.
  • Application for new member status with the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network (CMMN) in review
Please consider pledging your support for TTPBRS in our first Baillie Birdathon!
You can make a significant contribution to bird conservation and outdoor education in the GTA by either sponsoring a designated TTPBRS Birdathoner or by setting up your own Birdathon. Remember that all donations over $10 are tax-credible through Bird Studies Canada and all donations over $35 dollars receive quarterly issues of Birdwatch Canada (http://www.bsc-eoc.org/organization/birdwatch.html). You can sponsor one of our Birdathoners at either a flat rate or on a per species basis. You can also support the TTPBRS Baillie Birdathon online with your credit card by visiting either one of the following links:

Dan Derbyshire (Station Coordinator)
Seabrooke Leckie (Assistant)
We have several registered TTPBRS Birdathoners but we would be very pleased to have more so please contact me if you are interested in this or if you are interested in being a sponsor!

Sincerely,

Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
Toronto and Region Conservation
dderbyshire AT trca.on.ca
(416) 318-2107

4/22/2006

Migration Monitoring at TTP-April 15-21


We have just completed the third week of spring monitoring at TTPBRS in 2006 and yet it almost feels as though migration has barely started! For the past 21 days, migrants have trickled through the Toronto lakeshore while the bulk of them have likely been held back by predominantly northern winds. The past week began with strong north winds and a moderate influx of Brown Creeper and Golden-crowned Kinglet. Season firsts of Glaucous Gull, Common Tern and Red-necked Grebe appeared on this day along with a decent passage of Common Loon. It remained relatively quiet on the 16th when 20 birds were banded however the first Pine Warbler and Barn Swallow were noted and 8 Myrtle Warblers were tallied. A single Brown Thrasher was a highlight of the 17th. The continuation of northerly winds on the 18th resulted in few new bands being issued however an Osprey and the station's first Forster's Tern were recorded. Kinglets, Hermit Thrush, Red-winged Blackbird and Swamp Sparrow were the primary species banded on the 19th which featured a good diversity of species but low numbers overall. The strong winds relented a bit on the 20th which contributed to a small influx of northbound migrants. A total of 46 birds were banded and some impressive observations were made including 95 Brown Creeper and 50 Hermit Thrush! April 21 was equally active as 50 birds were banded and only 3 recaptured. Most distinctive about this day was the sudden incursion of White-throated Sparrow (45 total).

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

Apr 15
1-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1-Eastern Towhee
Apr 19
3-Swamp Sparrow
Apr 20
1-Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
5-Fox Sparrow
Apr 21
12-Hermit Thrush
8-White-throated Sparrow

Observations

Apr 15
8-Common Loon
1-Red-necked Grebe
1-Turkey Vulture
6-Chipping Sparrow (high total for TTPBRS)
Apr 16
1-Horned Lark
2-Bank Swallow
8-Myrtle Warbler
1-Pine Warbler
6-Field Sparrow
Apr 17
1-Brown Thrasher
Apr 18
6-Greater Yellowlegs
1-Forster's Tern (1st record for TTPBRS)
Apr 19
1-Red-throated Loon (2nd record for TTPBRS)
Apr 20
1-American Coot
18-Northern Flicker
95-Brown Creeper
18-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
50-Hermit Thrush

Season Banding Total
2006-470
2005-702
2004-270

Season Species Total
2006-97
2005-97
2004-98

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

4/15/2006

Migration Monitoring at TTP-April 8-14


This is the second weekly update on the Migration Monitoring Program at Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station in spring 2006. Cold temperatures cancelled our banding efforts on the 8th and delayed net opening on the 9th. Conditions improved mid-morning on the 9th which permitted banding operations to recommence. A total of 38 birds were banded on this day which included 28 Golden-crowned Kinglets. A full day of fieldwork was carried out on the 10th and several new species for the spring were encountered including Sandhill Crane, Great Egret and Swamp Sparrow. More bird activity was evident on the 11th as 44 birds were banded, and the most impressive tally was for Fox Sparrow (17 banded/observed). Another 46 birds of 13 species were banded on the following morning which included Hermit Thrush, Myrtle Warbler and Winter Wren. The highlight of the 13th was the first sighting of Palm Warbler at TTPBRS this spring! It was also a good day for sparrows as Eastern Towhee, Dark-eyed Junco, American Tree, Chipping, Field, Fox and Song Sparrow were present in good numbers. We are still waiting for White-throated Sparrows as just a few have been seen rummaging through the dead leaves near the tip area. In fact we have yet to see any major pushes of most species as the weather has not been conducive to grounding nocturnal migrants. Despite this we have found a good variety of birds in moderate numbers.

Our Winged Migration program for schools officially kicked off for 2006 on Apr 13 and we will be hosting classes on weekdays from mid-April to mid-May!

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

Apr 9
28-Golden-crowned Kinglet
Apr 10
1-Swamp Sparrow
Apr 11
4-Hermit Thrush
1-Myrtle Warbler
Apr 12
5-Fox Sparrow
5-Brown-headed Cowbird
Apr 13
2-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1-Eastern Towhee

Observations

Apr 8
2-Wood Duck
126-Bufflehead
Apr 9
20-Common Merganser
80-Golden-crowned Kinglet
3-Rusty Blackbird
1-Long-eared Owl
Apr 10
1-Great Egret
1-Sandhill Crane (2nd record for TTPBRS)
16-American Tree Sparrow
2-Savannah Sparrow
Apr 11
1-Northern Harrier
2-Greater Yellowlegs
8-Eastern Phoebe
1-Barn Swallow
Apr 12
1-Pied-billed Grebe
250-Long-tailed Duck
10-Northern Flicker
14-Winter Wren
2-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
230-Red-winged Blackbird
Apr 13
16-Hermit Thrush
1-Western Palm Warbler

Season Banded
2006-268
2005-530
2004-115

Season Species
2006-83
2005-87
2004-80

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

4/08/2006

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-April 1-7


The fourth year of Migration Monitoring at Tommy Thompson Park began on April 1st with warm temperatures and an eager crew of five volunteers. Returning to TTPBRS each spring is reward enough and we were very pleased to find some familiar sights and sounds on the first day. A total of 5 American Woodcocks were heard and observed displaying during net opening. Brown Creeper, American Robin, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird and Song Sparrow were easily the most conspicuous species during the first few days of the period. The weather turned cold on April 2nd when just 10 birds were banded. Thereafter an unprecedented 3 consecutive days of fieldwork at TTPBRS were lost to weather! Our return on the 6th yielded several new arrivals including; Savannah Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Myrtle Warbler and Rusty Blackbird. A total of 39 birds were banded of which 20 were Golden-crowned Kinglets, the most commonly banded species at TTPBRS. Rain returned on the 7th once again limiting our coverage to census and a few net hours. Out of a possible 630 net hours for a 7-day period, just 274.5 were completed during the week which is record low (427 in 2004, 385 in 2005). A total of 71 birds were banded and 59 species recorded during the week. Several expected species have yet to appear and we can look forward to better weather and hopefully more bird activity in the next week.

News and Notes
We had an interesting recapture of an American Tree Sparrow that was originally banded by Seabrooke Leckie on October 28-2003 at TTPBRS and was subsequently recaptured on April 3-2004 and again this year on April 1! On all occasions this bird was captured in either net 7 or net 8.

The TTPBRS Sightings board will once again provide daily results and regular photos and reports so tune in here for a pulse on spring migration in Toronto: http://ttpbrs.blogspot.com
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

Banding
Apr 1
1-Northern Flicker
1-Fox Sparrow
Apr 2
6-Golden-crowned Kinglet
Apr 6
1-Hairy Woodpecker (3rd banding record for TTPBRS)
20-Golden-crowned Kinglet
5-American Tree Sparrow

Observations
Apr 1
5-Tree Swallow
40-American Robin
42-Brown-headed Cowbird
Apr 2
4-Tundra Swan
1-Eastern Towhee
Apr 5
22-Tree Swallow
1-Field Sparrow
Apr 6
1-Great Blue Heron
5-Eastern Phoebe
40-Brown Creeper
90-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Savannah Sparrow
1-Eastern Meadowlark (3rd record for TTPBRS)

Season Banding Total
2006-71
2005-249
2004-42

Season Species Total
2006-59
2005-78