It was a dynamic week at Tommy Thompson Park with some remarkably heavy bird migration and an inordinate amount of odd and sometimes eerie weather.
October 14 was the busiest day of the fall season so far as 247 birds were banded during the morning. The light north winds brought scores of kinglets, Myrtle Warblers and Hermit Thrushes. Also captured were 2 Orange-crowned Warblers and a late Tennessee Warbler. Season firsts of Surf Scoter and Ring-necked Duck were amongst 37 species recorded during the census. Conditions were suitable later that night for Northern Saw-whet Owls as 34 were captured, including 16 on one net check. The following morning was also busy, with 197 birds banded and 30 recaptured.The species composition was much the same as the previous day although more Brown Creepers were evident and singles of Blue-headed Vireo, Chipping Sparrow and Black-throated Green Warbler were banded. A vocal Hairy Woodpecker was present, the first recorded at TTPBRS in 2007. Very strong winds led to minimal coverage (census only) on October 16. Conditions stabilized on the 17th and the migration was still in full swing. A total of 136 birds were banded and 33 recaptured. A flock of 20 Brant briefly settled near the large sandbar that has formed off the beach. This was the first record of the species for TTPBRS. Five White-winged Scoter and singles of late Yellow-bellied and Least Flycatchers were also notable. A season high of 65 Black-capped Chickadees was reached on this day, which is the highest one-day total since the last southern irruption in fall 2005. Thereafter, coverage was reduced as the weather became problematic, with a dense fog shrouding TTPBRS on the 18th, and strong winds that kept our nets furled on the 19th and 20th.
The recent warm weather with strong south winds has likely kept many migrants to the north of us. This is supported by the noticeable lack of Fox Sparrows and other late fall species. Golden-crowned Kinglets have been far outnumbered by Ruby-crowned Kinglets, which is unusual as Goldens normally outnumber Rubys by a count of 2 to 1 by this point in the fall season.
HIGHLIGHTS (banding totals in bold)
3-Black-throated Blue Warbler
1-American Tree Sparrow
1-Black-throated Green Warbler
20-Brant (1st record for TTPBRS)
Birds Banded: Aug 5-Oct 20
Species Recorded: Aug 5-Oct 20