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4/30/2007

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS- April 22-28

Chipping Sparrow (D.Derbyshire/TRCA)

The final TTPBRS migration update for the month of April summarizes a great week of fieldwork as weather during the period was less turbulent than in previous weeks. Warm and calm conditions on the 22nd were appropriate for migrating birds as 91 birds were banded on the day. Season firsts of Northern Rough-winged Swallow and Chipping Sparrow were observed along with high counts of creepers, kinglets and juncos. Volunteers of the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) visited TTPBRS and got some great hands on training for their important rescue work in the city. Highlights of the following morning were first of spring sightings of both Pine and Palm Warblers and a sharp increase in numbers of Ruby-crowned Kinglet and White-throated Sparrow. The calm and clear weather continued through the 24th when 57 birds were banded of 15 species including a Black-and-white Warbler. Migrant activity was lacking on the 25th as just 15 birds were banded on the day although the sighting of a Northern Mockingbird was unusual for TTPBRS. Overnight on April 27, passing rain showers met with migrating birds along the north shore of Lake Ontario, which caused a "fallout" event. A total of 127 birds were banded on the following morning, predominantly White-throated Sparrows and Myrtle Warblers. The first Blue-headed Vireo and Nashville Warbler of the spring were also recorded. Clouds rolled in on the 28th and there were fewer birds evident, however there were still lots of birds to show-and-tell to enthusiastic groups from the Toronto Ornithological Club and Royal Ontario Museum.

Support TTPBRS through the 2007 Baillie Birdathon! (click Support Birds on Toronto's Doorstep)
HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

Apr 22
10-Brown Creeper
15-Golden-crowned Kinglet
4-White-throated Sparrow
Apr 23
10-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Apr 24
1-Black-and-white Warbler
25-White-throated Sparrow
Apr 27
1-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
17-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1-Blue-headed Vireo
4-Western Palm Warbler
69-White-throated Sparrow
2-Chipping Sparrow (Relatively uncommon at TTPBRS, 16th and 17th banding records)
Apr 28
1-House Wren
1-Nashville Warbler

Observations

Apr 22
2-Turkey Vulture
2-Northern Rough-winged Swallow
55-Hermit Thrush
7-Myrtle Warbler
2-Chipping Sparrow
105-Slate-coloured Junco
Apr 23
8-Common Loon
7-Wood Duck
12-Northern Shoveller
2-Pine Warbler
1-Western Palm Warbler
70-White-throated Sparrow
1-Eastern Meadowlark
Apr 24
2-American Coot
1-Purple Martin
7-Swamp Sparrow
1-Forster's Tern
Apr 25
2-Blue-winged Teal
1-Northern Mockingbird
Apr 27
1-Cooper's Hawk
1-Nashville Warbler
70-Myrtle Warbler
205-White-throated Sparrow
1-White-crowned Sparrow
Apr 28
2-Bank Swallow

Season Banding Total
2007-739
2006-638
2005-739

Season Species Total
2007-106
2006-101
2005-103

4/27/2007

A TTPBRS Fallout Captured on Radar

TTPBRS was bustling with birds this morning as a result of a fallout event. There was a gap in the rain overnight, which allowed birds to start moving north. In this video you can see birds encountering rain tracking from the west, which forced birds to reach landfall on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Migrating birds appear as a stippled mass whereas precipitation is blocky. In this video you can see rain and birds side by side. Most of the birds are White-throated Sparrows, Hermit Thrushes and Myrtle Warblers (based on ground observations at TTPBRS this morning).

Click here for April 27 NEXRAD!

4/23/2007

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS- April 15-21

Tree Swallow (D.Derbyshire/TRCA)

The third week of April began with high winds, cold temperatures and very few migrants. With the persistent inclement weather we began to envision an immense "bottleneck" of birds to the south that would suddenly break with a shift in weather. There was no shift in the weather on the 16 and 17th and just 8 birds were banded during the two days. A near complete day of coverage on the 18th produced 10 birds banded and 12 recaptures as well as first of spring sightings of Ruddy Duck, Trumpeter Swan and Green-winged Teal. The temperatures improved on the 19th, however the wind was still from the north. Highlights of the day included observations of Merlin, Rusty Blackbird, Great Black-backed Gull and the first of many Common Terns to arrive at Tommy Thompson Park. Migration picked up on the 20th when 27 birds were banded, mainly Golden-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrushes and Slate-colored Juncos. The first Barn Swallows and Savannah Sparrows of the year were observed. Finally, south winds and warm temperatures returned on the 21st and a small surge of migrants was recorded. A total of 55 birds were banded on the day, which included Myrtle Warbler and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Unusual observations included an Eastern Meadowlark and the first ever Short-eared Owl recorded at TTPBRS!

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

Apr 17
1-American Tree Sparrow
Apr 18
2-Fox Sparrow
Apr 20
13-Slate-colored Junco
Apr 21
2-Myrtle Warbler
3-Swamp Sparrow

Observations

Apr 15
1-Great Egret
Apr 17
6-Common Loon
20-Golden-crowned Kinglet
6-Winter Wren
Apr 18
10-Common Loon
2-Trumpeter Swan
Apr 19
8-Green-winged Teal
1-Merlin
12-Tree Swallow
1-Rusty Blackbird
Apr 20
3-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
2-Barn Swallow
30-Brown Creeper
1-Savannah Sparrow
Apr 21
1-Cooper's Hawk
6-Greater Yellowlegs
1-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
4-Savannah Sparrow (record high count)
1-Short-eared Owl (1st for TTPBRS)
1-Eastern Meadowlark

Season Banding Total
2007-351
2006-470
2005-702

Season Species Total
2007-91
2006-97
2005-97

4/16/2007

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS- April 8-14

Sharp-shinned Hawk (D.Derbyshire/TRCA)

The weather experienced during the first two weeks of spring 2007 has been remarkably windy, wet and cold, which has adverse consequences for birds trying to migrate north. Many species will be arriving late to southern Ontario this year as the cold northern air flows have stalled migration. The data collected during this period will be no less valuable to science as the impacts of climate on migratory birds is becoming an increasingly important issue. However, warm weather is on the way and we expect a steady flow of birds to follow!

Banding was cancelled from April 8-9 due to negative temperatures. Surveys during the two-day period revealed high numbers of waterbirds, particularly Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead and White-winged Scoter. A half-day of banding on April 10 yielded only 8 birds banded, including the season's first White-throated Sparrow. Another abbreviated session on April 11 produced 14 birds banded and a suite of spring arrivals including Iceland Gull, Northern Shoveller, and Cooper's Hawk. Kinglets, robins, blackbirds and flickers were the primary landbirds evident on the day. A Brown Thrasher was also banded. Full coverage resumed on the 14th when 23 birds were banded and season firsts of Greater Yellowlegs, Caspian Tern and Great Egret were observed. A single Black Scoter was also detected amongst the lingering rafts of White-winged Scoter.

As one would expect, we are a little behind last year in terms of species recorded thus far (see below). Yellow-rumped Warbler and Ruby-crowned Kinglet are just two of several species that normally would have appeared by now. These species are due to arrive in the next few days with the forecasted increase in temperatures.

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

Apr 10
1-White-throated Sparrow
Apr 11
1-Sharp-shinned Hawk (1st spring banding record)
1-Hermit Thrush
1-Brown Thrasher
Apr 14
14-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-American Tree Sparrow

Observations

Apr 8
1-Redhead
3-Winter Wren
Apr 10
2-Pied-billed Grebe
240-Long-tailed Duck
1-Northern Harrier
1-Sharp-shinned Hawk
15-Brown Creeper
Apr 11
5-Common Loon
1-Northern Shoveller
2-Cooper's Hawk
4-Bonaparte's Gull
1-Iceland Gull
Apr 14
8-Horned Grebe (record high count)
2-Red-necked Grebe
1-Ring-necked Duck
90-White-winged Scoter
1-Greater Yellowlegs
1-Black Scoter
17-Yellow-shafted Flicker

Season Banding Total
2007-238
2006-268
2005-530

Season Species Total
2007-74
2006-83
2005-87

4/09/2007

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS- April 1-7

Swamp Sparrow (S.Leckie)

The 5th year of the Migration Monitoring Program at Tommy Thompson Park began on April 2nd. The first week of fieldwork in 2007 has been unusual given the unprecedented number of cancellations due to weather and also the remarkable number of birds passing through.

We began the season on April 2 with westerly winds and high counts of Brown Creeper and Slate-colored Junco. TTPBRS was also buzzing with American Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds and the ubiquitous Song Sparrows. On the water, Common Mergansers and White-winged Scoters were particularly abundant and have remained so throughout the first week. A total of 50 birds were banded on the day and 47 species recorded overall. Clear and calm conditions on the 3rd were more comfortable and a decent variety of birds were found. Several spring arrivals were recorded including Red-necked and Horned Grebe, Glaucous Gull and American Bittern. Seabrooke Leckie had the most unusual sighting of the day, a male European Goldfinch in full song near net 3 (very likely a recently caged bird)!

Steady rain was encountered for the first few hours of April 4th. When the rain ended the nets went up and an impressive early spring movement was recorded. Observations of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Hermit Thrush added some variety to the 109 birds of just 4 species banded in 3 hours of operation! Conservative estimates of Slate-colored Junco (240), Brown Creeper (160) and Golden-crowned Kinglet (190) established record high spring counts for all three species at TTPBRS.

Unfortunately, the nets were closed for the remainder of the week due to cold temperatures. Census was conducted daily, which documented higher than "normal" concentrations of landbirds at TTPBRS. Highlights of the surveys include a Pied-billed Grebe on April 5 and a Brown Thrasher on April 6. Despite the rather frustrating weather of the past week, it was great to be out at TTPBRS once again and we are all looking forward to the waves of migrants (and warm fronts) ahead!

The TTPBRS Sightings board will once again provide daily results and regular photos and reports so tune in here for a pulse on spring migration in Toronto: http://ttpbrs.blogspot.com

HIGHLIGHTS

Banding

Apr 2
3-Eastern Phoebe
20-Brown Creeper
6-Fox Sparrow
Apr 3
1-Swamp Sparrow
Apr 4
34-Brown Creeper

Observations

Apr 2
1-Common Loon
3-Wood Duck
91-White-winged Scoter (record high count)
6-American Woodcock
1-Eastern Towhee
2-Field Sparrow
Apr 3
250-Long-tailed Duck
1-European Goldfinch
2-Glaucous Gull
1-American Bittern
Apr 4
1-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
160-Brown Creeper (record high count)
190-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Hermit Thrush
24-Fox Sparrow
240-Slate-colored Junco (record high spring count)
Apr 5
1-Pied-billed Grebe
Apr 6
1-Glaucous Gull

Season Banding Total
2007-192
2006-71
2005-249

Season Species Total
2007-60
2006-59
2005-78

4/02/2007

TTPBRS Opens!

Eastern Phoebe (D.Derbyshire/TRCA)

Today was the first day of spring 2007 at TTPBRS, as yesterday was cancelled due to rain. We were pleased to find some cooperative weather today and some lively bird migration. Strong numbers of Brown Creeper were moving through (20 banded) along with some Eastern Phoebes, Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Golden-crowned Kinglets and Slate-colored Juncos to name a few. Most of the inner bay is still frozen, which may explain the lower numbers of early April waterfowl recorded today than in years past. Record high numbers of Common Merganser and White-winged Scoter were recorded today, balancing record low counts of scaup and Long-tailed Ducks.