Spring Migration Monitoring Has Begun!

It is wonderful to be back at TTPBRS taking in the sunshine and fresh air. The Red-winged Blackbirds and Song Sparrows are singing and battling over territories, and the European Starlings and Mute Swans have already begun nesting.

The last of the snow was still melting as we set up the station on Thursday. When we were done getting the nets up, we headed over to Cell 1 to see the King Eider which has been hanging around. We also managed to spot 2 Long-eared Owls from afar, perched low in some willows.

Spring Migration Monitoring kicked off on Friday, and we got off to a record slow start. We didn't catch a single bird all day! There were very few passerines to be found, not a kinglet in sight. The census yeilded 191 individuals of 20 species, the majority being ducks. The highlight was 2 Iceland Gulls sitting out on the ice.

The following species were recorded on April 1:

Horned Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Mute Swan
Canada Goose
American Black Duck
American Wigeon
Greater Scaup
Long-tailed Duck
White-winged Scoter
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Mourning Dove
Downy Woodpecker
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
American Robin
European Starling
American Tree Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Trumpeter Swan
Iceland Gull

The pace picked up a little on Saturday as temperatures warmed. We captured 5 Black-capped Chickadees - 3 new and one which was already banded during a previous season. There were several early arrivals including Osprey, Turkey Vulture and 3 Sandhill Cranes which circled over the station a few times. Other new species were Northern Flicker, Brown-headed Cowbird, Rusty Blackbird and Wood Duck.

Sandhill Cranes taken by Juan Zuloaga

With such a long winter it is no surprise that migration seems delayed for our songbirds. Now that spring is here, we should expect a new wave any day now!