Monday, 24 August 2015

Migrants at rare Charitable Research Reserve on 23 August 2015

     Every Sunday morning, spring and fall,  Miriam and I monitor a route at the rare Charitable Research Reserve in Cambridge, ON. The statistics garnered from our walk, when combined with those of other monitors in different parts of the reserve, provide a detailed summary of the species using rare for breeding, or passing through as migrants.
     An integral part of this data collection is provided by the teams of bird banders and we always check in with Kevin Grundy and Ross Dickson before and after our walk. Here are Kevin and Ross busy at their banding station.




     By the second half of August many warblers, flycatchers and thrushes are already migrating and several interesting species had just been retrieved from the nets when we arrived, including this Least Flycatcher Empidonx minimus.



     Canada Warbler Cardellina canadensis is a species whose numbers have plummeted in recent years so it was especially pleasing to see this one captured in the nets. Unfortunately, for some reason, most of my shots of this species were blurred and I cannot offer you a frontal view.





     The images below of a Northern Waterthrush Parkesia noveboracensis give a much better view of the bird.




     None of these birds had any noticeable level of fat deposition, so they will still spend a little more time here before they embark on the final stage of their migratory journey.
     For a while I was beginning to question the value of banding in an era when advances like satellite tracking of birds began to deliver such a wealth of information, often with more detail and precision than banding could ever do, and in real time. I mentioned this doubt to Phil Slade, a UK bander with whom I have regular internet contact, and he sent me this link to an article by Ian Newton, surely one of the finest ornithologists Britain has ever produced: http://britishbirds.co.uk/article/bird-ringing-still-necessary/  I think that it is convincing in its endorsement of the value of banding as an ongoing tool and it would make valuable reading for anyone interested in this practice.
     While on our walk we saw a couple of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks Pheucticus ludovicianus including this male moulting into its drab winter plumage.




     In addition to the birds we encountered this really impressive growth of bracket fungus, the largest I have ever seen. ( My good friend Janet Ozaruk advises that this fungus is Shelving Tooth Climacodon septentrionale. Thanks Janet!)
     

     On Thursdays I monitor another route at rare. I wonder what new species will be found then.

12 comments:

  1. Great birds! I didn't know that info about the Canada Warbler. It's a bit frightening. I wonder why their numbers are declining? Of course, there's a lot of that happening all over. Thanks for the report and thanks for keeping tabs on birds.

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  2. Here's the link David.
    http://britishbirds.co.uk/article/bird-ringing-still-necessary/

    Nice close-ups today. Boy I'd forgotten how small those waterthrush are. My favourite bruiser too the Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 8 ina single mist net as I remember and it's still hurting my fingers.

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  3. Nice series, David. The banding station looks very sober, no PC etc. Todays bird banders, do they also take photos or make color drawings for specifying a rare species? The beautiful bracket fungus is large indeed.
    Gr Jan W

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    1. Good morning Jan: It is a pretty low tech operation and other than the mist nets you can see pretty much everything in the pictures. The banders do not take pictures, nor do they make drawings. They record the age, sex, various measurements etc. but that's about it. Their hope, of course, is that the bird, or at least the band, might be discovered at some point to give information about the bird's migration. Thanks as always for your comment.

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  4. That fungi looks like some of the very tasty edible types you see in the shops here in Japan................

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    1. Probably not the same, however. This stuff is pretty hard.

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  5. Beautiful birds and the fungus on the tree, marvelous picture!

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  6. Lovely state of migrates you have found, precious.

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  7. Thank you for the link to the article making the case for ringing, David. As you know, I was a sceptic on this subject. Thanks to this article, I too now have a clearer understanding of the need to continue the process of ringing. I'm still slightly worried, however, about the 'trophy banding' element in the practice of this activity.

    Super photos! You had me checking out the Northern Waterthrush - a beautiful bird which I now realise is a warbler, rather than a true thrush.

    Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

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  8. Beautiful to see, nice to do well.
    Lovely series have you made of it.
    Greetings Tinie

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  9. Buena serie de pájaros, pero el que más me ha impresionado es el macho de Pheucticus ludovicianus, una verdadera preciosidad. Tuve un problema con los enlaces de mi blog y ya lo he solucionado, te vuelvo a tener enlazado. Un abrazo desde España.

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  10. Very nice that Miriam and you do it all years. You see quite a lot and you also learn a lot. Beautiful series of photos of the picnic and the birds :-)

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