maandag 31 oktober 2011

Powdermill, I'm going to miss you!

And there it was already.. my last day at Powdermill! These two months went by so fast, too fast..! I've enjoyed being here so much with all the kind people around me, but of course also all the wonderful North-American birds. I'm going to miss all of the Powdermill banding crew!
So today was my last banding day. Despite the frozen nets (again) we caught a lot of birds, about 165, of which 124 were new, spread over 17 species. I didn't get any new ones for me in the hand anymore, although we almost caught a group of 10 Bluebirds. But no, these birds were too smart for us and sat on the netpoles and lines! It was a goldfinch day with 66 Goldfinches banded.

Tufted Titmouse 1 -
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 -
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4 -
Yellow-rumped Warbler 7 -
Eastern Towhee 1 -
Chipping Sparrow 1 -
Field Sparrow 4 -
Fox Sparrow 1 -
Song Sparrow 5 -
Lincoln's Sparrow 1 -
Swamp Sparrow 2 -
White-throated Sparrow 8 -
Dark-eyed Junco 19 -
Northern Cardinal 1 -
House Finch 1 -
American Goldfinch 66 -
House Sparrow 1 -

Total 124 (165 incl recaps), 17 species.
Lincoln's Sparrow, hatching year; a late individual
This photo just to give you an indication on the biting skills of Northern Cardinals!

And as it is my last night here, we are trying for owls! The results so far:
Mad Screech Owl because he got recaptured!
Heather with the cooperative Screech perched on her arm
Saw-whets like getting scratched as you can see!
The Saw-whet was even willing to sit on the head of this Filipino guy/

zaterdag 29 oktober 2011

My first American snowballfight!

That's right. Last night it started snowing.. and it hasn't stopped since! We could open our nets this morning but for some reason the snow got stuck in all the nets and the nets were as droopy as they could get. We decided to close most of our nets and keep the 'feeder' nets open. So the rest of the morning we had about 7 nets open.
After we saw that the nets held on to the snow this badly, we closed most of them immediately.

Last night, while failing to catch any owls, we decided to order a Big Town Pizza again! They're so enormous!

With the 7 nets open we caught some birds. About 33 in total of which 22 were new. Spread over 7 species.
Sorry, but I can't resist to post another picture of these fabulous Fox Sparrows:
Fox Sparrow in the snow!
Brandon didn't bring gloves, so he used bird bags. Such a smart guy!

After the short banding session we had a real snowballfight!We had so much fun, as you can probably see in the photos below!

Thanks to Mary, for taking all these photos,
 After hitting Brandon 3 times in the face, he figured he would go after me..
 This was the second hit in the face!
He could barely walk.
 Yup, Brandon was about to go down.
 Here he is, K.O.
 Drew a.k.a the Baseballer trying to hit me.
 In action
 Heather watch out!!
 Drew poaching snowballs from Brandon's fortress.
 Heather vs. Faba
 Heather vs. Brandy
Heather vs. Drew vs. Brandon

The Waxiest Wings of All

We banded 59 of these cute Cedar Waxwings today. Most of them were caught at once, in the 11 nets. Brandon came across them and took a photo:
Waxwings, Waxwings and more Waxwings (by Brandon)
This morning we didn't think we would band 165 new birds today.. The nets were frozen until 10.30...! We were able to open three nets at the beginning, around 7.15 pm. The first new bird we banded this morning was a very unusual Sparrow!! Around 8.30 I pulled this very weird sparrow out of the 8c net. I knew it was a life bird for me, but I wasn't sure about the species. When I brought it in I showed it to Drew and Amy. They already knew what it was, but I  didn't. I had a quick look in the Sibley: Vesper Sparrow! A species that used to be captured quite regularly in the early years when the site looked much more like farmland. Nowadays, Vesper Sparrow can be considered as a rarity here at Powdermill!
 Bob holding the Vesper Sparrow
 Vesper Sparrow, after hatching year
The red shoulder patch is really distinctive for this species.
An adult female Dark-eyed Junco with white mascara!
 One of the four Fox Sparrows captured today. This one is an adult bird.
This adult Fox Sparrow had some white feathers spread over its body. Some on the rump, one white greater covert and some white on the back.

Totals for today:

Black-capped Chickadee 1 -
Tufted Titmouse 4 -
White-breasted Nuthatch 2 -
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 -
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 8 -
Hermit Thrush 1 -
Cedar Waxwing 59 -
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4 -
Chipping Sparrow 2 -
Field Sparrow 3 -
Vesper Sparrow 1 -
Fox Sparrow 4 -
Song Sparrow 8 -
Swamp Sparrow 7 -
White-throated Sparrow 14 -
Dark-eyed Junco 16 -
Indigo Bunting 1 -
House Finch 1 -
American Goldfinch 28 -

Total 165 (199 incl recaps), 19 species

vrijdag 28 oktober 2011

A short banding session in between the rainshowers

Rain again this morning.. We slept in a bit and it was not until 9.40 that we could open. The radar looked positive; not any showers coming. After we opened it became clear that the radar had lied! Rain was on its way again. We had the nets open for two hours orso but it already started raining earlier. In the dry period we trapped a good amount of birds: 84 birds. 65 new spread over 14 species. There were some good species among those such as Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Orange-crowned Warbler and a male Downy Woodpecker.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1 -
Black-capped Chickadee 1 -
Winter Wren 1 -
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 12 -
Hermit Thrush 1 -
Cedar Waxwing 11 -
Orange-crowned Warbler 1 -
Yellow-rumped Warbler 6 -
Field Sparrow 4 -
Song Sparrow 1 -
Swamp Sparrow 4 -
White-throated Sparrow 17 -
White-crowned Sparrow 1 -
American Goldfinch 4 -

Total 65, 14 species

Downy Woodpecker, hatching year male
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, hatching year male
Orange-crowned Warbler, prying its bill!

For now, it's owl time!! or not... 0 owls tonight

woensdag 26 oktober 2011

Mud is Slippy.

My alarmclock went off at 6.15 this morning. I woke up but fell asleep immediatly again.. to wake up again at 7.10.. Brandon was also still asleep and we were late.. We were supposed to be at the banding station at 7.00 haha. When we arrived 5 min later at the banding station we saw that the nets were closed: it was going to rain. So in fact we could have stayed in bed a little bit longer! While we were waiting for the rain to pass by (Brandon went back to bed) I selected a few photos for on the Powdermill website. Around 9.00 most of the rain had passed by and we could open, yay! There were a lot of birds around so we were excited to get the nets open. I made a couple of shots of the sunrise a few minutes before it started to rain around 7.40:
A 2 minute interval between both pictures, resulting in different colours! 

During one of the netrounds I walked back along the Crisp Pond and slipped and made a faceplant in the mud.. must have been pretty amusing for Heather who was walking just behind my back haha. I was carrying some birds with me but of course birds are my number one priority so I held them in the air in front of me, resulting in a pretty bad faceplant for me haha but the birds were ok! It is currently extemely wet and muddy, it's crazy! 
The result..

Despite the fact that we opened late we had a really good day. Few recaptures, lots of new ones! The kinglets moved in with 55 Ruby-crowneds and 21 Golden-crowned Kinglets banded today. We had two late warbler species today: 2 Magnolia Warblers and 1 Chestnut-sided Warbler!! We hadn't banded a Chestnut-sided for at least a month so that was a good surprise. Furthermore we broke the Yellow-rumped record for October!! 

Eastern Phoebe 2 -
Blue-headed Vireo 1 -
Black-capped Chickadee 1 -
Tufted Titmouse 1 -
House Wren 1 -
Winter Wren 3 -
Hermit Thrush 8 -
Cedar Waxwing 3 -
Nashville Warbler 1 -
Magnolia Warbler 2 -
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1 -
Yellow-rumped Warbler 18 - 
Fox Sparrow 2 -
Song Sparrow 13 -
Swamp Sparrow 6 -
White-throated Sparrow 13 -
Dark-eyed Junco 2 -
Indigo Bunting 1 -
House Finch 1 -
American Goldfinch 20 -

Total 176 (209 incl recaps) , 22 species

This adult male Chestnut-sided Warbler will get the ''Best looking Chestnut-sided of the fall'' Award!

What a foxxy bird

We started off with a beautiful morning Clear skies resulting in a nice sunrise with patchy fog above the ponds. I saw a couple of woodcocks but none ended up in the nets. The first round was our best round with a lot of birds. Sparrows were the main species banded. We finally had our first Fox Sparrow. They are soo awesome! They're one of the biggest sparrows in N. America.

Aren't they fancy?
The one we band here are from the Eastern (Taiga) race, and these are definitively the coolest looking ones.

There were again quite a few Junco's around, we banded 14. In the afternoon there was a flock of 30 junco's foraging in the grass in front of our cabin. We passed the 100 new, which was good considering the sunny conditions. Among the kinglets we also had this crazy one:
It had an old wound on the back of its head resulting in a funky hairstyle..
Our tenth Northern Flicker of this fall. A hatching year female.

The totals:

Northern Flicker 1 -
Tufted Titmouse 1 -
Winter Wren 2 -
Golden-crowned Kinglet 4 -
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 12 -
Hermit Thrush 3 -
Cedar Waxwing 5 -
Yellow-rumped Warbler 19 - just 2 short of breaking the October record!
Eastern Towhee 2 -
Chipping Sparrow 1 -
Field Sparrow 1 -
Fox Sparrow 1 -
Song Sparrow 13 -
Swamp Sparrow 7 -
White-throated Sparrow 13 -
White-crowned Sparrow 1 -
Dark-eyed Junco 14 -
Northern Cardinal 1 -
American Goldfinch 6 -

Total 107, 19 species

A group of 20 Cedar Waxwings was eating crabapples next to the banding lab. They weren't shy and with the good light I was able to take some good photos.

This night we caught two owls of two different species!
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Eastern Screech Owl; so cool!!
Eastern Screech Owl
 Drew and Bob
 Brandon and Fabian
Mary and Heather

dinsdag 25 oktober 2011

The last week has commenced

In exactly one week time I will leave the beautiful state of Pennsylvania again. Lets see what the last week of October has to offer us!!

 After a good night of sleep I got out of bed around 9.15 and had some breakfast. I sat outside while I was having breakfast and immediatly flushed 6 Junco's foraging in front of the cabin. The Junco's clearly have arrived in bigger numbers. This was also confirmed when I did a walk later in the morning (in between some rain showers). The banding area held good numbers of junco's, reaching close to the 40's. Kinglets were also clearly around. In the banding area I also saw a couple of Purple Finches, with a nice adult male included. Hopefully we'll start to catch some good numbers of these this week! Furthermore I saw some other Sparrows such as Swamp, Song, Field, Chipping and White-throated. 3 Palm Warblers were foraging on and under the nets and a Brown Creeper climbed up a small tree. There were still 30+ Yellow-rumps around but it seems that their number has dropped. Decent numbers of Cedar Waxwing wer also around in the area, coming down for berries/cherries in the area. I picked up a late Osprey, migrating along the ridge and passing by overhead. Then it started to rain... I went back to the cabin and did a bit of relaxing. 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, foraging
Adult male Dark-eyed Junco, foraging on the road
Five junco's foraging near one of our nets
Cedar Waxwing, adult male

The late Osprey

Some pictures from last weekend:
Dad & Son
Oh sweet.. Thanks saw-whettie!!!!!!!