zaterdag 1 oktober 2011

A rainy start to October, but with an unusual capture

The weather predictions for today were awful: 90% chance of rain, 5 degrees Celsius and a strong wind. This morning when we checked the radar it looked OK, no rain coming in at that moment. A bit later things changed and we saw that there was some rain coming from the east, which was weird because the wind was West the entire night.. There was no strong wind fortunately. It didn't start raining until 8.30, when it started drizzling. After the drizzle the rain became worse, and the radar didn't look promising, and at the moment of writing, 16.45, it is still raining.. The first two hours were really productive in which we banded almost all birds. We kept the nets open till 10.15 because the rain alternated between drizzle and a bit stronger rain. We did rounds every 15 minutes though, because of the rain. The first round brought us a very unusual bird for Powdermill: a Clay-colored Sparrow, only the 4th since 1961 (and only the 2nd fall record)! Brandon had extracted the bird and he said he had a weird sparrow. When I took the sparrow out of the bag it looked weird indeed, it definitively looked rare! We had a closer look at the bird and positively ID it as being a Clay-colored Sparrow, cool! It is a species from the Midwest, so not from the East. It was quite funny because just before the first round Brandon and I were talking about birds that were new for us showed on a bird calendar for the month October in the lab, and this included Clay-colored Sparrow..!  The bird was in juvenile plumage, so it doesn't look really that attractive compared to all the New World Warblers, nevertheless a nice species! The first two hours brought us good warblers as you can see in the totals below:

Eastern Phoebe 1 -
Philadelphia Vireo 1 -
Red-eyed Vireo 1 -
Winter Wren 1 -
Swainson's Thrush 5 -
Gray Catbird 8 -
Tennessee Warbler 2 -
Nashville Warbler 1 -
Magnolia Warbler 13 -
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1 -
Blackburnian Warbler 1 -
Palm Warbler (Western) 3 -
Bay-breasted Warbler 1-
Blackpoll Warbler 8 -
Black-and-White Warbler 1 -
Ovenbird 1 -
Common Yellowthroat 12 -
Wilson's Warbler 1 -
Scarlet Tanager 2 -
Eastern Towhee 2 -
Clay-colored Sparrow 1 -
Song Sparrow 1 -
Lincoln's Sparrow 1 -
Indigo Bunting 5 -

Total 74 (99 including recaps), 24 species

The Clay-colored Sparrow, hatching year
Bay-breasted Warbler, hatching year male

Today we again ( I know) missed two Solitary Sandpipers- that were able to just avoid the big mesh net -when will we catch one??

The weather forecast for tomorrow is negative as well: 90% chance of rain and even a chance of SNOW  showers tonight and tomorrow morning!!

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