8/05/2010

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First Day of Fall Migration Monitoring



Northern Waterthrush

It felt good to get back to the station today. We were greeted by the resident breeders, including Yellow Warblers, Song Sparrows, Baltimore Orioles, Cedar Waxwings and Warbling Vireos. Most of the Red-winged Blackbirds have left, and now we have hundreds of European Starlings instead! Every time a huge flock swooped towards a net, there was a slight twinge of panic. One or two starlings is one thing, but a net full of them is another thing entirely...
Despite the heat and humidity, we managed to band 20 birds of 9 species. All breed at TTP except one: a Northern Waterthrush. This species does tend to be one of the early migrants, but it won't be surprising if migration is on the early side this year after such a productive summer.
As we were shutting nets, I noticed a caterpillar on the trunk of a European Birch, and I have never seen anything like it before. It turned out to be a White-marked Tussock Moth, quite a stunning creature.
White-marked Tussock Moth

Our season species list is up to 42 and counting. It is so much fun at the beginning, because every day promises new species to check off of the list!
Don't forget to visit us on the weekends, and get there early because we close the nets around 11:45. Trust me, with this heat you will want to get there in the wee hours!