36 new birds of 10 species; 34 recaps.  No new species.  Bird of the day was Blackpoll Warbler, with 20 new bands (and 27 recaps!).   It rained heavily for the first two hours after sunrise, but we were eventually able to open a handful of nets.  We kept a watchful eye on the radar all morning, but we only suffered a brief two-minute light rain at about hour 4.

It is interesting that the number of recaps this morning nearly matches the number of new birds – and we are starting to feel like we must have banded nearly every Blackpoll Warbler in the immediate area by now!  We are noticing however, that many of these usually slender birds are turning into little Butterball turkeys.  When we first band a Blackpoll Warbler that has freshly flown in from across the lake, it weighs around 11 grams.  If we recapture it just before it makes another jump south, it may weigh more than 20 grams.  Today, we had one that weighed in at 23.2 grams – more than twice its normal weight!  It is a difference you can see (and feel, when you have them in the hand):  in the picture below the bird on the left weighed in at 11.1 grams, while the bird on the right was 20.7.

The picture is a little misleading because the pudgy bird on the right is fluffing his back feathers, but notice the curve of the breast and belly, and how the belly hangs over the bander’s finger.

While Blackpolls accounted for more than half the new birds today, we did get a smattering of other beauties as well, including the second Winter Wren of the season, a gorgeous adult male Magnolia Warbler and this equally stunning Wilson’s Warbler.

Not the best pose, but the photo shows off his stunning black cap. Peter Pyle’s Guide tells us that in males, the cap can reach 17 mm long . . . but this bird didn’t read the book because his cap was even longer than that!