Palm Warbler Photo© Bruce Parker.
WEEKLY OBSERVATION REPORT
May 10th - May 16th
May 10th – 16th
This past week, major movements happened in the first two days, followed by a sharp drop in temperatures and strong West wind that neatly stopped migration in its tracks for at least 3 days. Only in the last 2 days that migration resumed in earnest, with clear, calm nights inducing heavy flights. Only 6 new species were detected for the spring this week, a reflection of where we stand in time now: there are still new birds to show up but the bulk of arrival has now happened. The first RED-EYED VIREO was in our nets on the 11th. The first SWAINSON’S THRUSH was detected on the 10th. Four new species of WARBLERS complete the new weekly arrivals : BLACK-THROATED BLUE and BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS on the 11th, WILSON’S and CANADA WARBLERS on the 16th. On the 10th, there was an amazing, diverse movement of birds, with many ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS (including 16 banded), BALTIMORE ORIOLES, and SCARLET TANAGERS. The following day, heavy movements continue, with, notably, MYRTLE (YELLOW-RUMPED) WARBLERS. On the best day so far of the spring in terms of banding, 134 birds of this species were banded! 18 species of WARBLERS were detected on that day, including the two “WINGED” species (BLUE-WINGED and GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS), NORTHERN PARULA, and BAY-BREASTED WARBLER. On that fantastic day, we banded an AMERICAN WOODCOCK, a treat enjoyed by the many Saturday visitors. The following few days brought a sharp drop in temperatures. But we were the lucky ones, since it didn’t snow here! With a strong West wind, there was very little activity around the point. Of note, there were 2 male ORCHARD ORIOLES in the maple tree next to the station on the 14th. Finally, the weather turned and migration resumed during the last 2 days. In the morning of the 16th, the woods were filled with the rainbow colours of spring birds, from AMERICAN REDSTARTS and INDIGO BUNTINGS to BALTIMORE ORIOLES and SCARLET TANAGERS. The bird of the day was definitively MAGNOLIA WARBLERS: 22 were banded and many, many more were observed.
May 3rd - 9th
A major wave of migration happened this week, with many new arrivals, including 13 species of warblers, during an above-average warm weather. We had a few days of over 200 banded birds earlier during this week, with a notable slow down in the last few days.
The first RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD was seen at our feeder on May the 7th. One or two RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS have been seen regularly and, finally, one was banded on the 9th. LEAST FLYCATCHERS arrived at the beginning of the week and were noted almost every day afterwards. The first GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER was seen on the 9th. Migration of RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS is seriously winding down, with only a handful seen or banded towards the end of the period. The first VEERY appeared in our nets on the 3rd. Between May 3rd and 5th, about 13 new species of WARBLERS were detected. Most notably, BLUE-WINGED and GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS were observed and/or banded, with one individual of each species banded at the same time on the 4th! The first TENNESSEE WARBLER was easily detected while singing its little heart out on the 5th. The first NORTHERN PARULA was seen and heard on the 3rd, with observations throughout the rest of the week. A single MAGNOLIA WARBLER was captured on the 5th, the only one individual detected so far. CAPE MAY WARBLERS were seen on the 8th and 9th, high in the canopy, as usual. YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were at their peak migration time this week, with high numbers observed and banded. The biggest surprise of the week was a WORM-EATING WARBLER captured on the 6th and recaptured on the 7th, the first ever for PEPtBO. Like yellow-rumps, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS were hitting the peak of their migration, with hundreds present at the point and many banded over the week. The first ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS arrived on the 4th. The first INDIGO BUNTING was seen around the feeders on the 6th, and subsequently, captured and duly banded. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was observed on the 6th and captured and banded as well. ORCHARD ORIOLES (both males and females) were reported throughout the week, with the first one on the 6th. Surprisingly, a few PINE SISKINS were still present at the point during the week and one female EVENING GROSBEAK was heard, then seen, on the 8th.
Apr 26th – May 2nd
Relatively few new “arrivals” (new species) were noted during the first part of the week. Following the intense rain on Monday, 13 new species were detected during the next two days. A SANDHILL CRANE was heard and seen flying low over the juniper plain on the 28th. An immature GREATER BLACK-BACKED GULL was flying along the shoreline on the 29th, but the observation was too short to determine the exact age. The first 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS were seen in the afternoon of the 28th near the lighthouse. The first WARBLING VIREO was singing high up in a tree on May the 2nd. A great find, on May 2nd, was a FISH CROW seen and heard by several people around the harbour. Very few BROWN CREEPERS are still around, with only one detected for the whole week, on the 28th. Likewise, it is already the tail end of migration for the GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, with only a handful seen or captured, all of them females. On the other hand, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS are in the middle of their migration, with approximately equal numbers of males and females captured. The first WOOD THRUSH of the season was detected on May 2nd, as well as the first GRAY CATBIRDS (with 2 birds). A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was seen near Traverse Woods on April 28th and possibly the same bird sat in a tree behind the Observatory earlier in the morning. The first YELLOW WARBLER was heard on the 28th, with another one on the May 1st, and 3 on May 2nd. The first NASHVILLE WARBLERS were detected on May 2nd, as well as BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS. On May 1st and 2nd, the first OVENBIRDS finally arrived. WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and MYRTLE WARBLERS were entering their peak migration time, with the former being the most banded during this week. The first WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW was seen on May 1st. A SCARLET TANAGER was heard briefly, but not seen, on May 2nd, the first for the season. At the same time, a BALTIMORE ORIOLE was proudly showing off its bright orange and black. Two ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS (one male, one female) were seen at about the same time on May 1st, but not together.
Apr 19th – 25th
During the week, the weather was an interesting, mixed bag of everything. There were sun and blue sky, windstorm, rain and pouring rain, and even snow for a short while. In short, it was spring in Canada! An AMERICAN BITTERN was seen shortly on April the 24th in the wetland at the end of the harbour. A BLUE-WINGED TEAL was observed in the harbour on April the 20th. The first CASPIAN TERNS (2 birds) flew along the shore on April the 19th. Two individuals were also seen on the 22nd. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was around the station on the 24th. No big movements of NORTHERN FLICKERS were observed this week, but 3 FLICKERS INTERGRADE, that is, individuals with a mix of yellow and red feathers, were banded. The first BLUE-HEADED VIREO of the spring was detected on April the 21st and the second one on the 25th. Numbers of GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS were still low, while RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS were starting to pick up. All birds banded of the latter were male, except for one female on the 25th. A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was enjoying the midges' emergence on the 23rd. A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was seen briefly on the lawn in early morning of the 19th. BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS were surprisingly still around, with a flock of about 30 on the 22nd. The first CEDAR WAXWINGS were seen the next day, the 23rd, with only two individuals. Very few warblers were seen during the week, with some MYRTLE WARBLERS on the 19th, the 21st, and most notably on the 25th (with 6 banded), PINE WARBLER heard on the 21st, and a YELLOW PALM WARBLER seen on the 22nd. A quite late AMERICAN TREE SPARROW was detected on the 23rd. A FOX SPARROW was banded on the 19th. A good movement of SLATE-COLOURED JUNCO was evident on the 21st, following two days of stormy weather. Almost three-quarter of the 61 individuals banded that day were second-year females, a good indication that we’re seeing the tail end of their migration. A few PINE SISKINS were seen around the station, with two banded on the 25th.
April 12th – 18th
Migration monitoring started on April 15th, this year. All nets were up and running, as well as a couple of ground traps. As the new bander-in-charge, I was excited to be at the famous Prince Edward Point monitoring station and eager to see what the season will bring. Two beautiful males HARLEQUIN DUCKS were seen among big rafts of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, BUFFLEHEADS, and LONG-TAILED DUCKS. BONAPARTE’S GULLS were seen in good numbers too. Movements of YELLOW-SHAFTED FLICKERS picked up on the 16th with 150 individuals, as well as AMERICAN ROBINS, with 100 birds that day. A few HERMIT THRUSHES were detected as well. Numbers of GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS were quite low, with a third of birds captured begin females already. Some RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS are already moving through as well, with the ones captured being all males. 5 EASTERN PHOEBES were banded in a single day, on the 16th, which is as many as last spring in total. BROWN CREEPERS are moving through in earnest, as they are so far the most banded species, with 41 birds. Early migrants also include FOX SPARROW (one banded on the 15th) and most notably COMMON REDPOLLS, with 2 seen and one banded on the 16th. Previously banded in spring only in 2002 (2 birds) and 2008 (one bird), the latter is definitively the bird of the week, sharing the award with the VESPER SPARROW banded the same day (previously banded only once in spring, with one individual in 2009). Up to 8 NORTHERN CARDINALS have been seen around the station, with already 5 of them captured and duly banded. Despite the inclement weather which forced us to close nets early in 2 of the 4 days of banding, it has been a good start, with 218 birds banded of 23 species and a total of 71 species detected.
All photos other than identified © Bruce Parker