Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS: May 13-19, 2008

Magnolia Warbler (Seabrooke Leckie/TTPBRS)

The period of May 13-19 could be regarded as the "sweet spot" of spring migration as the last few early migrants intermingle with the peak for neotropicals in mid-May. This is one of the most popular weeks for birders at Point Pelee and other famous migrant traps in eastern North America. However, the quality of a May birding day is more dictated by weather systems than the calender and this week at TTPBRS was a good example. Conditions were unusually cool for much of the week with winds dominating from the north. A total of 29 birds were banded on May 13, which included our first Orange-crowned Warbler of the spring. Light southerlies on the 14th produced a small push of migrants from the south as 69 birds were banded during the morning. Just 10 warbler species were noted, of which Magnolia and Myrtle were most numerous. A flyover Solitary Sandpiper and the arrival of Swainson's Thrush were also noteworthy. May 15 was a quieter day with 17 birds banded and 30 species recorded on census. Red-eyed Vireo made its first appearance for the season and another Orchard Oriole was spotted. Spring 2008 has been remarkable for the number of Orchard Orioles observed. One was observed in each of 2006 and 2007 and thus far we have seen six individuals in our study area alone. The arrival of Gray-cheeked Thrush and Green Heron were highlights of the 16th, when just 16 birds were banded in six hours of effort. Warblers were few and far between at this point, and much of the activity in the study area was due to whirling pairs of nesting birds such as Yellow Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, American Robin, Warbling Vireo and Gray Catbird, among others. The Yellow Warblers are particularly abundant, with conservative estimates of around 20-30 pairs! Wind and rain arrived mid-morning on May 17, forcing us to close up early for the day. Monitoring revealed no major changes in the composition and abundance of migrants that morning, although an especially vocal and 'well-dressed' Canada Warbler was well appreciated. The change in weather brought increased numbers of migrants to the site on May 18, with 51 birds banded before nets had to be closed by 10am. Warblers were well represented in the surveys, especially Magnolia (14 banded), along with Least Flycatcher, Veery and Swainson's Thrush. A biting wind blew from the northwest on May 19, which would normally translate to another quiet day; however, migrants were found in high numbers in sheltered areas where midges were abundant. The highlight of the day was a female Summer Tanager observed on census, a first record for TTPBRS!

NEWSLETTER- The spring issue of FlightNotes is still forthcoming and we apologize for the delay, it has been an extremely busy past couple of months!

SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WEEK (banding totals in bold)

May 13
1-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1-Orange-crowned Kinglet
2-Western Palm Warbler
2-Indigo Bunting

May 14
1-Solitary Sandpiper
1-Great Crested Flycatcher
6-Swainson's Thrush
1-Wood Thrush
2-American Pipit
1-Scarlet Tanager
15-Rose-breasted Grosbeak
13-Lincoln's Sparrow
40-White-throated Sparrow

May 15
1-Eastern Phoebe
2-Blue-headed Vireo
1-Red-eyed Vireo
2-Indigo Bunting
1-Orchard Oriole

May 16
1-Gray-cheeked Thrush
2-Western Palm Warbler

May 17
8-Least Flycatcher
1-Wood Thrush
1-Canada Warbler
6-Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1-Orchard Oriole

May 18
3-Swainson's Thrush
14-Magnolia Warbler (25 Daily Total)
2-Bay-breasted Warbler
8-Northern Waterthrush
14-Baltimore Oriole

May 19
30-Yellow Warbler
1-Summer Tanager (1st for TTPBRS)

Individuals Banded: April 1-May 19

Species Recorded: April 1-May 19