Too many flycatchers!

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Tuesday August 30, 2016.  26 new birds of 15 species, 13 recaps.  No new species.  Bird of the day was a 4-way tie between Least Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Gray Catbird, and Common Yellowthroat each with three new bands.

Oh flycatchers!  Why are they so confusing???  We captured both Yellow-bellied and Least Flycatchers today, and as a bonus we captured two Eastern Wood-pewee.  While the empidonax flycatchers can sometimes be confused for each other, in this case it was the pewee that were giving us trouble!  Eastern Wood-pewee are supposed to have yellow lower mandibles, but our two young ones had nearly all-black lower mandibles!  This isn’t unusual in young birds, but it always gives us pause.

We had a visitor from the MAPS station today.  The Common Yellowthroat pictured below was banded earlier this summer on the east side of Manitou Beach Road, but he’s made his way over to us.  His mask is extremely patchy – it would be neat to catch him next spring and catalog how it’s changed.


Second-year Male Common Yellowthroat

Yellow-bellied Flycatchers were SO close!

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Monday August 29, 2016.  49 new birds of 18 species, 13 recaps.  New species:  Philadelphia Vireo.  Bird of the Day was Baltimore Oriole with 10 new bands – all caught in the back aerials on the same net run.

The orioles invaded again today, giving us another look at the oddly colored plumage seen the other day.  One interesting observation – of the 23 orioles banded in the two flocks that hit the station today and Saturday, only 5 have been adults . . . and all 5 have been males.  Where are the adult females???  We don’t know!  Maybe they molt later than the males and are taking a little break from the men and kids while they finish changing clothes . . . maybe they aren’t as “flocky” in the fall . . . maybe it’s just coincidence!

For most of the morning we, thought that the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was destined to be the bird of the day.  They were ahead after every net check . . . until the flock of orioles came in and took over the lead in one fell swoop.  Still, the Yellow-bellies managed a respectable second place, tied with Magnolia Warbler.

We leave you with this shy-looking Philadelphia Vireo – the first one of the season.  It was the tiniest Vireo we had ever seen, and we were misled enough to wonder (for a moment, at least) what kind of warbler she was!


Hatch-year Philadelphia Vireo

Cape May at Braddock Bay

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Sunday August 28. 2016.  32 birds of 15 species, 15 recaps.  New species:  Cape May Warbler, Northern Parula, and Red-bellied Woodpecker.  Bird of the day was Magnolia Warbler with 8 new bands.

Ugh . . . it was warm and muggy from the very start today, and there seemed to be very little moving and almost nothing vocalizing.  Nevertheless, we had a respectable number of birds for the August doldrums and the species variety was great.  Not a single Baltimore Oriole today, but the young Red-bellied Woodpecker on the last run of the day in the very last net was a special (if loud) treat.

Cape May Warblers can sometimes fall into the “confusing fall warblers” category, but we were lucky that today’s young male had the very tell-tale yellow wash up behind the auricular, a slightly decurved bill, strong streaking on the breast, and a yellowish rump.


Hatch-year Male Cape May Warbler

Enough Orioles for a baseball team

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Saturday August 27, 2016.  60 new birds of 17 species, 11 recaps.  New species:  Mourning Warbler and Black-throated Blue Warbler.  Bird of the day was Baltimore Oriole with 13 new bands.

The radar promised some movement, and we were not disappointed.  Nine warbler species (including 5 Mourning Warblers) put in an appearance, and a lone Veery made it a “Veery good Mourning.”

The highlight of the day happened at hour 5.5, when a flock of a dozen Baltimore Orioles found their way into the 40-aerial nets.   Two were older males, the rest young (hatch year) birds.  Many looked as though they had been eating invasive honeysuckle, as their feathers were abnormally bright.  We manage to snap a quick photo of nine of them.  They are arranged here in order of wing length, which is supposed to be an aid to determining the sex of the younger birds.


HY-M (wing=94)


HY-M (wing=93)


HY-U (wing=91.5)


HY-U (wing=91)


HY-M (wing=91)


AHY-M (wing=91)


HY-F (wing=88.5)


HY-F (wing=88.5)


HY-F (wing=88)


Friday, August 26

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Friday August 26, 2016.  23 new birds of 11 species; 6 recaps.  New species:  Hooded Warbler.  Bird of the day was Song Sparrow with 5 new bands.


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Thursday August 25, 2016.  23 new birds of 11 species, 17 recaps.  New species:  Blackpoll Warbler.  Birds of the day were Warbling and Red-eyed Vireos, with five new bands each.

It was a fairly quiet morning, and the birds came in small pulses rather than consistently throughout the morning.  We had our first Blackpoll Warbler of the season, and she was the only new bird captured today that we can be certain was a migrant.  All of the other new birds belong to species which do or could breed in the area (although it’s likely that most of the individuals we captured didn’t in fact breed onsite).  Vireos made a strong appearance today – most were young birds on their first migratory journey.

Cute Hatch Year Catbird Makes the Day!

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Wednesday August 24, 2016.  12 new bands; 5 recaps.  The lack of bird activity and the day heating up had us closing at hour 4.5.


The cuteness award went to a very very young Gray Catbird!  Photo by Peggy Keller.

Peggy Keller, Bander-in-Charge