Species Recorded: Aug 5-Oct 27
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
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)
15-Black-throated Green Warbler
1-Cape May Warbler
220-Golden-crowned Kinglet (78 banded)
Birds Banded: Aug 5-Sept 29
Species Observed: Aug 5-Sept 29