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!