Fall Migration at TTPBRS- September 23-29

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Seabrooke Leckie/TTPBRS)

The trickle turned into a torrent this week as thrushes, kinglets, sparrows and other "late fall" migrants arrived en masse. This is typical for late September when most neotropical migrants have moved south and the Great Lakes region suddenly abounds with the birds of October.

Moderate numbers of birds were observed and banded on September 23. The most unusual sighting of the day was a flyover
Dickcissel, the 3rd record for the station since 2003. Blue Jays have been moving through on a daily basis during the last two weeks and 343 were recorded on the 23rd. Thirteen warbler species were recorded including Northern Parula, Magnolia, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll and a lateish Northern Waterthrush. Migration slowed down on the 24th for the start of the Winged Migration program for schools. Hermit Thrushes, White-throated Sparrows and Myrtle Warblers were the most conspicuous species on the day. September 25 was much the same with unusually warm temperatures (high of 29.1) and south winds, which resulted in another quiet day, with 21 birds banded. Small numbers of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Winter Wren and Golden-crowned Kinglet were notable. The 26th was even slower as just 11 birds were banded in 6 hours of effort. The winds switched to the west around late morning, prompting 1100 Blue Jays to quietly wing over TTPBRS. Later that evening, a rainy cold front moved in around midnight during a session of Saw-whet Owl banding and many birds were heard descending from the skies to seek refuge at TTPBRS. The 173 birds banded the next morning revealed a significant number of Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrushes and Myrtle Warblers. Also of note during the morning were the captures of 2 late Least Flycatchers and 1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. September 28 was also active as 91 birds were banded, including 12 Blue Jays, 5 Black-throated Blue Warblers and a Northern Parula. There was no break in the action on 29th as substantial numbers of kinglets, creepers, phoebes and White-crowned Sparrows arrived on the Toronto lakeshore. By the end of the morning, a total of 219 birds of 26 species had been banded. Also of note during the day was the observation of 3 Red Bats, which together with the two captured earlier in the week is easily the most we have recorded at TTPBRS in one week. The Red Bat and the Silver-haired Bat are described as being "highly migratory" but little is known about their movements.

Overall, it was a superb week of fieldwork and education at TTPBRS. Classes from grades 5-7 were welcomed daily during the week along with a group of students from Centennial College on September 28. Northern Saw-whet Owl monitoring has begun for fall 2007 and a total of 4 owls have been banded already. Normally we don't start encountering these birds in the nets until the second week of October.

HIGHLIGHTS (banding totals in bold)

Sep 23
3-White-breasted Nuthatch
2-Winter Wren
9-Hermit Thrush
4-Magnolia Warbler
15-Black-throated Green Warbler
22-Palm Warbler
1-Northern Waterthrush
3-Lincoln's Sparrow

Sep 24
17-Hermit Thrush
2-American Redstart

Sep 25
1-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
2-Winter Wren
9-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Cape May Warbler

Sep 26
9-American Wigeon
1100-Blue Jay
1-Red-eyed Vireo
1-Chestnut-sided Warbler

Sep 27
1-Bald Eagle
10-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
2-Least Flycatcher
1-Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
17-Gray-cheeked Thrush
47-Myrtle Warbler
1-Blackburnian Warbler
1-Northern Waterthrush
130-White-throated Sparrow

Sep 28
11-Northern Harrier
5-American Kestrel
12-Blue Jay
20-Brown Creeper
13-Winter Wren
2-Red-eyed Vireo
1-Northern Parula
140-Myrtle Warbler

Sep 29
1-Horned Lark
20-Red-breasted Nuthatch
220-Golden-crowned Kinglet (
78 banded)
1-Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
4-Blue-headed Vireo
1-American Redstart
1-Northern Waterthrush
18-Cedar Waxwing
32-White-crowned Sparrow
40-Slate-colored Junco

Birds Banded: Aug 5-Sept 29

Species Observed: Aug 5-Sept 29