A Soggy Weekend for SFO

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Cornell’s Spring Field Ornithology class visited BBBO on May 6-7.  As the weekend drew near, the forecast was looking grim with upwards of 80% chance of rain, high winds, and even possible snow.  While we weren’t able to be fully open during our normal 6-hour operating protocol, there were enough breaks in the weather that all the Cornell students got to see some fantastic birds in hand.  We were challenged as much by the soggy paths (some of which were ankle deep in water) as by the weather, but the class had been warned and came well prepared with muck boots in tow.

Saturday May 6:  26 new birds of 8 species, 11 recaps.  New species:  Ovenbird.  Bird of the day was Ruby-crowned Kinglet with 16 new bands.  The weather was certainly dreary, and we waited a half hour to open in the morning.  We were able to stay open for 4 hours until increasing humidity forced us to close as the mist was beading up on the nets.  Three groups of students came through the station, and each group was treated to something special . . . the first Ovenbird of the season, a Black-throated Blue Warbler, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler were highlights.

Sunday May 7:  25 new birds of 9 species; 21 recaps.  Bird of the day was Ruby-crowned Kinglet with 12 new bands.  Morning rain kept us closed for two hours, but we were texting the SFO trip leaders who decided to dawdle on the way up from Ithaca . . . a good choice as it turned out, as they had productive stops along the lakeshore before arriving at our station.  While they were here, the students saw Black-throated Blue, Western Palm, and Yellow-rumped Warblers as well as a couple of chatty Blue Jays.  We were excited to see Lisa Podulka (who was back from her first year of college) and her family leading one of the groups.  It’s great to catch up with our banding friends, but nothing makes us feel older than seeing our young banders turn into adults before our eyes!

May 8, 2017 First Rose-breasted Grosbeak of the Spring! Seventy-one New Birds and 43 Recaptures.

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There was a big hurray cheer when the sun showed up for the first 
time in many dark, wet days at the station.  You could just feel the 
trails drying up for a couple to hours.  The Marsh Marigolds love this 
weather.  Note (Fig. 1) how they skipped over the trail to take hold in 
new places.   

The majority of the new birds were Ruby-crowned Kinglets (25), Blue jays (12) and 
and Myrtle Warblers (11).  A new species for the season made its appearance, 
a Rose-breasted Grosbeak female.  An unusual capture of a Ruby-crowned 
Kinglet was made that had a yellow crown.  

The weather is slowly improving so if the winds blow out of the south, look
out, here they come.
Marian Klik - Bander-in-charge.



Monday May 1, 2017  The trails are all water soaked and mud caked. For those of us 
wearing hiking boots, the mud and water made it over the top of our boot to 
soak our feet. There literally was a small creek of running water 
between nets 1 and 2.  The parking lot was a small swimming pool.   

The winds were out of the south at 6 am so all the nets got put up and hopes 
were high.  We were not disappointed.   One net held as many as 30 birds of 
various species.    By 9 am, it was pouring rain, so all the nets came 
down.  BUT, we ended up with  125 new birds of which Ruby-crowned Kinglets 
(44) and Myrtle warblers (36) made up the majority.  Six new species for 
the season showed up: Wood Thrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Common Yellow- 
throat, Yellow Warbler, Magnolia Warbler and Black-throated Green 
Warbler.  Not bad for the nets being open only three hours.  With winds 
predicted out of the south and southwest tomorrow, it may be another 
good day.

Marian Klik, BIC


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