Sunday May 19, 2013:  250 new birds of 45 species, 19 recaps.  New species:  Traill’s Flycatcher, Grey-cheeked / Bicknell’s Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, Brewster’s Warbler, Cape May Warbler.  Birds of the day (by quantity) were Magnolia Warbler with 40 banded, and American Redstart with 39 banded.  Birds of the day (by quality) include the Golden-winged Warbler, Brewster’s Warbler, and Cape May Warbler.  Many of us thought today would be a relatively slow day (perhaps 80-100 birds), so we were pleasantly surprised when the birds kept coming at a steady pace all morning.  Four experienced banders stood at the table for nearly five hours without a break.  At that point, the numbers lightened and four students from the Bander Training Class (who had been net-picking all morning) stepped in.  The Podulka family from Ithaca were welcome members of the crew today, as were two of our teen banders.

It was about three hours after sunrise, and we had already banded and released a Blue-winged Warbler.  Suddenly, Leanna piped up that she thought she had a Brewster’s Warbler in her hand.  Coincidentally, Sandy Podulka had just returned from a net run and she piped up that she thought there was another hybrid in a bag.  She remembered the net number, and we took the bird out to compare.  Leanna’s bird was a classic Blue-winged Warbler except that it had bright yellow wing bars.  While we were hopeful that Sandy’s bird would be a Lawrence’s Warbler, we were just as pleased to see a Golden-winged Warbler.

The Cape May was absolutely stunning, and we were also fascinated by an oddly colored Northern Cardinal.  Although clearly a male with some red, the bird showed a lot of grey plumage.  There was really no brown at all, except for one retained secondary feather in each wing.

The first Cape May Warbler of the spring season.  Photo by Mike Ellis.

The first Cape May Warbler of the spring season. Photo by Mike Ellis.

We simply couldn’t take pictures of all the birds we wanted to this morning.  At one point, five Baltimore Orioles came in at the same time, and we had an “Oriole Clinic” as we compared them for sex and age.  Unfortunately, we were too busy to get a photo of all of them together.  I’ll add that these five Orioles were all in two nets, quite close together . . . along with an older male American Redstart.  It seemed like he wanted to hang with the big boys!  Two Great-crested Flycatchers caught side by side in one net gave us hope that a pair will be breeding at BBBO again this summer, but they didn’t get to pose for a photo this time around either.

In the evening, BBBO hosted its annual Open House for the Genesee Land Trust who generously permits us to band on their land.  Ten enthusiasts showed up for coffee, cookies and birds.  We opened a few nets and caught a fairly wide variety of species, delighting everyone.

As we were leaving the station around 8:45, multiple Whip-poor-wills were calling from the south end of the BBBO field.  A perfect ending to a great day!  Andrea Patterson