Fall Migration at TTPBRS- August 19-25

American Woodcock (Seabrooke Leckie/TTPBRS)

So far, August 2007 has been unusually slow in terms of abundance of migrants, while over the same August period we have detected more species than in any previous fall. The lack of favourable winds is at least partially responsible for the low numbers of birds and it remains to be seen as to whether reduced breeding productivity this summer is also involved.

Light north winds on August 19 resulted in 40 birds being banded of 17 species. Increased numbers of warblers and shorebirds were documented along with higher counts of roosting Monarch Butterflies. A few Empidonax flycatchers were also recorded, in what is likely to be a record low fall for the these species. A suite of new arrivals for the fall were encountered on August 20, including Green-winged Teal, Merlin, Northern Harrier and Trumpeter Swan. Strong winds kept the nets furled on August 21, which gave us an opportunity to count over 1000 Monarch Butterflies at TTPBRS. A bit later in the morning, an awesome tally of 1,215 Purple Martins were observed off Pipt Point, and it was amazing to see these birds forging through massive wind and waves as they disappeared over a turbulent Lake Ontario. A return to full coverage on the 22nd was productive as 45 birds were banded of 19 species. Warbling Vireos were abundant and 13 warbler species were detected, which included the first Wilson's Warbler of the fall. Numbers of waterbirds have been higher than normal as indicated by the 300 Mallard and 42 Mute Swans recorded on August 23. A total of 67 Eastern Kingbirds were observed flying over the station on the 24th, which was a record high count for a 24-hour period - until 140 were observed on August 25th! Black-throated Green Warbler and Olive-sided Flycatcher were new arrivals on the 25th, which was a quiet day with just 12 birds captured.
The past month of migration has certainly been a curious mix of low volume and high diversity punctuated by some spectacular sightings, which is reminiscent of our first fall at TTPBRS in 2003. It will be very interesting to see how the next week or two unfolds as a cold front is due in just a few days.

HIGHLIGHTS (capture totals in bold)

Aug 19
4-Common Loon
1-Ruby-throated Hummingbird
6-Purple Martin
3-Red-breasted Nuthatch
22-Warbling Vireo
11-Yellow Warbler
2-Chestnut-sided Warbler
1-Blackburnian Warbler
3-Mourning Warbler

Aug 20
9-Green-winged Teal
1-Eastern Wood-Pewee

Aug 21
1-Trumpeter Swan
46-Purple Martin
64-Barn Swallow

Aug 22
16-Lesser Yellowlegs
2-Ruby-throated Hummingbird
2-Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
95-Purple Martin
30-Warbling Vireo
1-Philadelphia Vireo
2-Wilson's Warbler
3-Magnolia Warbler
5-Black-and-white Warbler

Aug 23
42-Mute Swan
1-Scarlet Tanager
1-Wilson's Warbler

Aug 24
8-Northern Shoveler
67-Eastern Kingbird
95-Cedar Waxwing
2-Philadelphia Vireo
1-Cape May Warbler

Aug 25
1-Olive-sided Flycatcher
140-Eastern Kingbird
3-Black-throated Green Warbler
5-American Redstart
2-Northern Waterthrush

Total Banded- Aug 5-25

Total Species- Aug 5-25