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.

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:



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
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


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

Species Recorded: Aug 5-Sept 22


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,



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


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-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

Species Recorded: August 5-September 15

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



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!


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.



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


Sep 3
1-Northern Parula
Sep 4
34-Magnolia Warbler
130-Myrtle Warbler
9-Blackburnian Warbler
22-Blackpoll Warbler
Sep 5
38-Swainson's Thrush
6-Cape May Warbler
240-Myrtle Warbler
35-Black-throated Green Warbler
28-Blackpoll Warbler
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

Species Observed: August 5-September 8


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.



Aug 26
2-Philadelphia Vireo
1-Cape May Warbler
9-Baltimore Oriole
Aug 28
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


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

Species Recorded: August 5-September 1