Fall Migration at TTPBRS- October 21-27, 2006

Banded Slate-colored Junco (©D.Derbyshire)

The week began with a major concentration of late fall migrants, as kinglets, creepers and a variety of sparrows were abundant. A total of 211 birds were banded and 52 species were documented. Overhead, blackbirds were on the move as 3,500 were tallied (mostly Red-winged Blackbirds with some Rusty Blackbirds and grackles mixed in). Also on the day were observations of Green Heron, Eastern Bluebirds and a Dickcissel! There was no coverage on the 22nd due to weather. The winds were strong from the south on the 23rd, which limited diurnal migration, although birds were still plentiful at ground level. Forty-one birds were banded on the 24th, the bulk of which were Hermit Thrushes and Golden-crowned Kinglets. Highlight of the day was a final tally of 46 American Crows, an unusual concentration of this species for the spit. October 25th featured an influx of Bufflehead and Long-tailed Duck, among other waterfowl species. Also recorded were the first American Tree Sparrows of the fall and a sharp increase in numbers of Slate-colored Juncos (140 observed). Cold and calm conditions occurred on the 26th which led to a moderate movement of birds. A total of 71 birds were banded and the first Long-eared Owl and Snow Buntings of the fall were observed. The conditions were good for migrating Northern Saw-whet Owls as 37 were captured that evening and overnight (36 banded, 1 foreign recovery). Slate-colored Juncos and American Tree Sparrows were the most conspicuous species on the following morning when 52 birds were banded. Two roosting Northern Saw-whets were found in the dense willow thicket, raising our cumulative species total to 172 for the season.

Overall, it was a fantastic week of monitoring and research at Tommy Thompson Park with plenty of birds in the skies, on land and water, and even in the dark of night!



Oct 21

113-Golden-crowned Kinglet
39-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
20-Hermit Thrush
1-Black-throated Blue Warbler (record late, prev. record Oct 16, 2003)
4-Fox Sparrow
5-Swamp Sparrow
Oct 24
14-Hermit Thrush
1-Eastern Towhee
Oct 25
2-American Tree Sparrow
Oct 26
10-American Tree Sparrow
6-Fox Sparrow
12-Slate-colored Junco


Oct 21

10-Great Blue Heron
1-Green Heron
260-Golden-crowned Kinglet
100-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2-Eastern Bluebird
50-Hermit Thrush
100-American Pipit
1-Magnolia Warbler (record late, prev. record Oct 14, 2005)
1-Orange-crowned Warbler
1-Dickcissel (2nd record for TTPBRS)
3500-Unidentified Blackbirds (mostly Red-winged)
Oct 23
1-Bald Eagle
Oct 24
1-Northern Goshawk
3-American Coot
46-American Crow
40-Hermit Thrush
Oct 25
25-Long-tailed Duck
4-Northern Harrier
13-Sharp-shinned Hawk
3-Red-tailed Hawk
1-House Wren
140-Slate-colored Junco
Oct 26
135-Long-tailed Duck
1-Long-eared Owl
3-Snow Bunting
Oct 27
35-American Tree Sparrow
11-Fox Sparrow
105-Slate-colored Junco

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Oct 27

Species Recorded: Aug 5-Oct 27

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


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!



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


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-House Wren
105-Golden-crowned Kinglet
25-Hermit Thrush
1-Wilson's Snipe

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Oct 20

Species Recorded: Aug 5-Oct 20

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


Fall Migration at TTPBRS- Oct 7-13, 2006

Hermit Thrush (S.Leckie)

Light north winds on the 7th of October resulted in a moderate influx of migrants into Tommy Thompson Park. A total of 105 birds were banded on the day, which featured high numbers of Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, and White-throated Sparrow. First records for the fall of Greater Scaup and White-winged Scoter were recorded, along with a late Red-eyed Vireo. Warm southerly winds likely contributed to low bird activity on Thanksgiving weekend. On October 8th, 29 birds were banded and a light passage of blackbirds and grackles was noted. Twenty-three birds were banded on the following day. Of note were moderate numbers of Hermit Thrush, Myrtle Warbler, Brown Creeper, and Slate-colored Junco. The all important winds switched to the north on the 10th, which resulted in another surge of late fall migrants. A total of 168 birds were banded on this day. Eastern Phoebe, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and White-throated Sparrow were the most abundant species involved. A massive cold front moved into the Great Lakes on the 11th which brought very high winds and rain. TTPBRS was closed for an unprecedented four consecutive days thereafter! This weather system caused a break in what has been a truly exceptional season for landbird migration at TTPBRS! Waterbirds on the other hand have been unusually scarce this fall. Many species of shorebirds have been observed in record low numbers if not missed altogether. Various species of northern breeding waterfowl are just starting to trickle into the Toronto Lakeshore and soon the calls of wintering Long-tailed Ducks will be heard. Fall Migration Monitoring will continue through November 12, 2006.

The Nocturnal Owl Monitoring Program has begun for fall 2006. The start of the season has been atypically slow due to a preponderance of unfavourable winds. We are looking forward to some heavy owl migration in the coming days!

The TTPBRS website has been reformatted to address layout issues in various versions of Internet Explorer. The website is now fully functional with a snazzy new layout!



Oct 7

51-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
12-Hermit Thrush
1-Blue-headed Vireo
1-Red-eyed Vireo
Oct 8
1-Magnolia Warbler
Oct 10
7-Eastern Phoebe
70-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Orange-crowned Warbler


Oct 7

1-White-winged Scoter
7-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
21-Winter Wren
210-Golden-crowned Kinglet
200-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1-American Redstart
3-Eastern Towhee
23-Rusty Blackbird
4-House Finch
3-House Sparrow
Oct 8
30-American Pipit
Oct 9
1-Cooper's Hawk
1-Sharp-shinned Hawk
1-Horned Lark
1-Swainson's Thrush
Oct 10
1-American Woodcock
23-Eastern Phoebe
14-American Crow

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Oct 13

Species Recorded: Aug 5-Oct 13


Fall Migration at TTPBRS- Sept 30-Oct 6, 2006

The past week was a busy one indeed as large numbers of birds were encountered at Tommy Thompson Park. On September 30th, several late fall waterfowl species arrived (Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck) and numbers of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, White-throated Sparrow and Nashville Warbler were particularly high. A total of 105 birds were banded on the day. Blue Jays peaked for the fall on October 1st (400 counted) and high numbers of kinglets and sapsuckers were evident once again. A total of 151 birds were banded on the 2nd which consisted of mostly kinglets, Hermit Thrushes, Eastern Phoebes, and Myrtle Warblers. Rain moved into the Toronto area on the 3rd which kept our nets closed for two consecutive days. On October 5th we experienced an unprecedented passage of both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets. We began the day by cautiously opening 12 of our 15 mistnets, sensing that large numbers of birds were in the area. The second net check of the day revealed that 190 birds (mostly kinglets) were in the nets all at once! We had never seen so many birds at TTPBRS before and by day's end we had banded 162 and released 373 birds unbanded. Conservative estimates of kinglet numbers were that 1500 Golden-crowned and 700 Ruby-crowned Kinglets poured through the study area that morning. Eastern Towhee and Fox Sparrow also appeared for the first time this fall. On the final day of the update period, numbers of birds were still very high as 161 birds were banded.



Sep 30
1-Wood Thrush
2-Orange-crowned Warbler
18-Nashville Warbler
Oct 1
1-Wilson's Warbler
Oct 5
1-Eastern Towhee
1-Fox Sparrow
Oct 6
2-Field Sparrow


Sep 30
18-American Wigeon
23-Hermit Thrush
1-Purple Finch
Oct 1
4-Northern Harrier
30-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
400-Blue Jay
15-Winter Wren
33-Nashville Warbler
1-Northern Parula
Oct 2
35-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
26-Eastern Phoebe
4-Gray-cheeked Thrush
10-American Pipit
175-Myrtle Warbler
Oct 5
1500-Golden-crowned Kinglet (record high for TTPBRS)
700-Ruby-crowned Kinglet (record high for TTPBRS)
75-Hermit Thrush
1-Blackpoll Warbler
5-Eastern Towhee
6-Fox Sparrow
105-White-throated Sparrow
90-Slate-coloured Junco

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Oct 6

Species Recorded: Aug 5-Oct 6


Fall Migration at TTPBRS- Sept 23-29, 2006

Nashville Warbler (© Dan Derbyshire)

The week began on September 23rd with moderate winds from the south. There were fewer birds around than the preceding days, although good numbers of Nashville Warbler and White-throated Sparrow were evident. It has been a record-breaking fall for many species including Nashville Warbler, which have been present in very high numbers on a daily basis since late August. Weather took a turn for the worse on the 24th, resulting in no coverage for the day. During the minutes before dawn on September 25th, it was clear that a major fallout had occurred as a chorus of calls and partial songs were heard. A total of 221 birds were banded and 68 species were recorded by day's end. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Yellow-shafted Flicker were abundant on the day as were both species of kinglet. Nashville Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and Myrtle Warbler were the most conspicuous of 15 warbler species. Orange-crowned Warbler (2 banded, 8 total recorded) were also numerous. Bird activity was strong once again on the 26th as 140 birds were banded, consisting mostly of kinglets, thrushes, and Nashville Warblers. The highlight of the day was the capture and banding of a Scarlet Tanager and the observation of a Whip-poor-will (second for TTPBRS). Purple Finch and Brown Thrasher finally made their first appearances this fall on the 27th on what was an otherwise quiet morning of fieldwork. Winds were light out of the north on the 29th which likely assisted in bringing an influx of birds into Tommy Thompson Park. A total of 178 birds were banded on the day and 0 recaptured. A day with no recaptures at TTPBRS is very unusual and is a sure sign that a turnover of birds had occurred. Decent numbers of raptors were recorded late in the day which included a record high count of 10 Turkey Vultures. It was yet another big kinglet day as 220 Golden-crowns and 45 Ruby-crowns were counted. Hermit Thrush, White-throated Sparrow and Black-throated Green Warbler were also recorded in high numbers.


Sep 25

9-Gray-cheeked Thrush
1-Wood Thrush
8-Gray Catbird
8-Magnolia Warbler
13-Black-throated Blue Warbler
Sep 26
2-Orange-crowned Warbler
28-Nashville Warbler
1-Scarlet Tanager
Sep 29
2-Bay-breasted Warbler
3-Swamp Sparrow

Sep 25

30-Yellow-shafted Flicker
13-Eastern Phoebe
125-Golden-crowned Kinglet
105-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
18-Gray-cheeked Thrush
24-Swainson's Thrush
8-Orange-crowned Kinglet
40-Nashville Warbler
190-Myrtle Warbler
100-White-throated Sparrow
Sep 26
2-Northern Pintail
10-Northern Harrier
28-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
5-Eastern Wood-Pewee
1-Whip-poor-will (2nd record for TTPBRS)
3-Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Sep 29
7-American Wigeon
10-Turkey Vulture
13-Sharp-shinned Hawk
6-Red-tailed Hawk
2-Horned Lark
24-American Pipit
190-Myrtle Warbler
19-Palm Warbler
17-Slate-colored Junco

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Sept 29

Observations: Aug 5-Sept 29