Saturday August 12, 2017.  46 new birds of 12 species, 12 recaps.  New species:  Traill’s Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-capped Chickadee, House Wren, Gray Catbird, Northern Waterthrush, Blue-winged Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal.  Bird of the day was Gray Catbird, with 18 new bands.

We opened for our fall season on Saturday the 12th, despite an uncertain forecast and a staff of one.  But – the forecast turned, and we were able to keep the nets open for nearly the entire morning before a line of squalls moved through the area five hours after dawn.

It was an interesting morning – aside from the occasional scolding of House Wrens and Gray Catbirds, there was relatively little bird noise.  Nevertheless, we had plenty to keep us busy.  Many of the birds are molting now, and they likely spend their energy foraging and growing feathers rather than calling attention to themselves with ostentatious vocal displays.

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Here you can see a young cardinal starting its pre-formative (i.e. “first fall”) molt.  The lesser and median coverts have been replaced.  Two primary coverts are also new, and their corresponding primaries are the short feathers still growing in.  This youngster will likely replace all of its feathers, although its possible he will retain a few secondaries or possibly some primary coverts.

Birds aren’t the only fauna of note . . . while opening the nets this morning, we found a caterpillar perfectly mimicking a pine twig.  We’ll have to do some research to see if we can identify it!

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