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)-

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!



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
5-Black-throated Blue Warbler
4-Blackburnian Warbler
15-American Redstart
Aug 24
50-Magnolia Warbler


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
35-Northern Waterthrush
10-Canada Warbler
1-Scarlet Tanager
Aug 24
140-Magnolia Warbler
145-Myrtle Warbler
17-Bay-breasted Warbler
10-Wilson's Warbler

Season Banding Total

Season Species Total


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!



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
Aug 18
2-Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Aug 12
25-Eastern Kingbird
45-Yellow Warbler
1-Slate-coloured Junco
160-Red-winged Blackbird
Aug 13
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
172-Red-winged Blackbird

Season Banding Total

Season Species Total


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.

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!



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


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)

Season Species Total (Aug 5-11)


A few birds from the first week

Eastern Kingbird
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
European Starling