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A Slower Day . . . Is Migration Coming to an End ???

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Friday May 31, 2013:  80 birds of 24 species; 20 recaps.  New species:  House Finch.  We were all optimistic that today would match yesterday, but we were all mistaken.  An 80 bird day is respectable during most parts of the season, but 80 birds seems slow in comparison with all the 100+ and 200+ days we’ve had recently!  It’s possible there will be one more push of late flycatchers, Red-eyed Vireos and Gray-cheeked Thrushes, but it seems that migration is coming to a close.

Highlights today included a visit from Madeline, and our first “baby” bird of the season (a Common Grackle with a face only a mother could love).

Jason (a BTC student and professor from Canisius) teaches his daughter Madeline to safely release an Indigo Bunting.

Jason (a BTC student and professor from Canisius) teaches his daughter Madeline to safely release an Indigo Bunting.

It was a bittersweet day, as Betsy and Ryan were preparing to leave for the season.  Betsy returned home to Alfred this afternoon to continue her nest surveys, and Ryan will head home to Vermont on Sunday to continue his MAPS station at Dead Creek.  Katie (our researcher from Canisius) has taken a job with the Nature Conservancy and hence isn’t running the MARS trailer any longer, Jenna (our field assistant) has finished her research on White-throated Sparrows for the season, and soon Mike (our data tech) will head out to Oregon to start graduate school.  There were lots of hugs and goodbyes today, although for most of us it is really just “see you in the fall”!  For those of our flock going farther afield, we wish you the best of luck and we hope you’ll come back to visit!  Andrea Patterson

Clay-colored Sparrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Thursday May 30, 2013 225 new bands of 35 species; 18 recaps.  New species Clay-colored Sparrow.

Wow, talk about jumping into the deep end!  Because of my teaching responsibilities, I had not banded more than a few birds this spring.  When Betsy said she could use me as the bander in charge today, I said sure.  I wasn’t expecting to see 225 new birds of 35 species!  I thought that since this was late in the banding season, it would probably be a pretty easy day.  Was I ever wrong!

Among the 225 new birds banded today, the more common species included Wilson’s Warbler (27), American Redstart (18), Trail’s Flycatcher (48), and Cedar Waxwing (15).  By far the most unusual bird of the day was a Clay-Colored Sparrow, which was the first of the year.

New Species - Clay-colored Sparrow Photo by John Waud

New species – Clay-colored Sparrow.  Photo by John Waud

Another bird which caused a lot of excitement was a female Northern Parula.

Female Northern Parula Photo by John Waud

Female Northern Parula.  Photo by John Waud

We also had 3 Great Crested Flycatchers, which were a real treat.

We are closing in on a milestone; the 200,000th bird banded at BBBO.  We are less than 600 birds away from this remarkable number.  With six days to go in the season, we may very well reach this milestone.

I also want to say thank you to everyone who helped at BBBO today.  Even though we dove into the deep end of the pool, it was a great day thanks to everyone’s help.

John Waud

Radar Saves the Day

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Wednesday May 29, 2013  118 new of 27 species; 10 recaps.  We had the crew assembled at dawn but it was still raining. so we waited and kept checking radar until it was safe to put up nets (at 3.25 hours after sunrise).  We watched radar the rest of the morning until we saw a new line of storms approaching at 6.5 hours after sunrise.  We had a splendid day, with great variety … and while we banded inside the banding lab we could hear Mourning, Yellow, Common Yellowthroat, N. Parula, Black-throated Green, and Blackpoll warblers singing in the trees surrounding the building.

Birds of the day were Wilson’s Warbler (18), Traill’s Flycatcher, (12) and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (10).  We failed to capture the Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoos singing out in the field.  There were large flocks of Cedar Waxwings in the area but we only managed to capture four of them.

Greg Cunningham continued his study of the olefactory capabilities of birds … today it was time for the Red-eyed Vireos to be tested.

Gorgeous adult male Baltimore Oriole.  Photo by Ryan Kayhart

Gorgeous adult male Baltimore Oriole. Photo by Ryan Kayhart

Young Quinn Deutschlander watched intently as a beautiful adult male Baltimore Oriole was banded and released.

Betsy Brooks

Rain Spoils Half the Day

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Tuesday May 28, 2013.  101 new,16 retraps, 28 species.

It was a cloudy day, with threatening skies from the moment we opened, so we got radar on as soon as we got to the station. The most hours we could band with all the nets up was two hours, but we got at least three hours in before the rain really got here.  The station was closed after 3 hours.  Bird of the day was Traill’s Flycatcher with 19 banded.

Also Ryan banded 7 hummingbirds.  We said good bye to Ann Adams as she went back to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ryan - our newest hummingbird bander.  Photo by Betsy Brooks.

Ryan – our newest hummingbird bander. Photo by Betsy Brooks.

Measuring a hummingbird's tail before sending her off. Photo by Betsy Brooks.

Measuring a hummingbird’s tail before sending her off. Photo by Betsy Brooks.

In the afternoon we got ready for the annual Picnic For Volunteers scheduled for tomorrow.   We will also remember Dick O’Hara in the Memorial Garden Remembrance at which time a special bench will be dedicated to him by his friends and family.  The bench will be installed outside the banding release window where Dick often sat with his friends watching the birds as they were released.            Ryan Kayhart   

American Goldfinches Brighten Up the Day!

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Monday May 27, 2013  72 new bands of 21 species; 30 recaps.  Birds of the day were Gray Catbird with 11 banded and American Redstart with 10.  We had eight American Goldfinches which gave us an opportunity to look closely at carpal covert edging and compare age and sex.  There were six Ruby-throated Hummingbirds banded, so they are still moving through.

American Goldfinch.  Photo by Ryan Kayhart

American Goldfinch. Photo by Ryan Kayhart

Jason Mayberry from Buffalo brought his son Jackson who helped carry bird bags and make net runs between studying and photographing the birds.

We expected more visitors on this Memorial Day holiday but the five who joined us were all very interested in what we were doing.

After the station closed Norma and John Boettcher began installing the gutter that will allow us to collect water in a rain barrel so we don’t have to haul water from the house every day.

It was a pleasure to band on a comfortably warm, bright sunny day after the icy winds of the weekend!                    Betsy Brooks

Northwest Winds Make for a Slower Day

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Sunday, May 26, 2012.  47 new birds of 21 species; 46 recaps.  The day started off chilly but gradually warmed up as the sun came out in full force.  The number of birds coming in started off strong and slowed down dramatically by hour three.  Bird of the day was a tie between Wilson’s Warbler and Magnolia Warbler with 7 each.  American Goldfinch was close behind with 6.  Leanna Twohig

A Quintet of Black-throated Green Warblers and One Yellow-breasted Chat Make the Day

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Saturday May 25, 2013.  97 new birds of 29 species, 41 recaps.  New species:  Yellow-breasted Chat.  It felt more like April than May today, but since the sun was out and the wind was less stiff at the level of our nets, we were able to complete our full 6 hours this morning.  American Redstart and Wilson’s Warbler ruled the day by the numbers (with 18 and 13 new bands, respectively), but the real stars were the quintet of Black-throated Green Warblers caught at one time in two adjacent nets (one male and the rest female) and the female Yellow-breasted Chat.

Five Black-throated Green Warblers caught at one time in two nets.  Gorgeous!

Five Black-throated Green Warblers caught at one time in two nets. Gorgeous!

The Chat doesn’t appear every season at Braddock Bay, and until recently we suspected that Chats in our area simply overshot their destination.  However, since banding three at the end of last summer we are starting to reconsider . . . it is possible they are breeding in the area.  The New York State Breeding Bird Atlas (2000-2005) lists a possible nest somewhere in the BBBO/Owl Woods area.  E-bird has no records for the peninsula until 2010 . . . but then also has records for 2011 and 2012.  It would be great to confirm their breeding status in this part of Monroe County!

Female Yellow-breasted Chat.  Photo by Ryan Kayhart.

Female Yellow-breasted Chat. Photo by Ryan Kayhart.

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