09 and 10 September 2017
As usual, we met dark and early to open the nets and get ready for a productive day of banding. Wood warblers are moving through on their way to Central and South America and we were able to establish the presence in migration of species not previously banded this fall, and in the case of Bay-breasted Warbler (Setophaga castanea), ever.
Everyone who has a North American field guide will be familiar with birds described as "confusing fall warblers." When birds have moulted their familiar breeding plumage they can appear quite different and for novice and experienced birder alike can present identification challenges.
Two species that can be quite easily confused in fall plumage are the above-mentioned Bay-breasted Warbler and Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata), both quite distinct from each other in breeding plumage.
Here are the factors that determine the identity of each one.
Feet are the same colour as the legs
No streaks on the flanks
Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia) is a species that does not have quite the marked differences in non-breeding plumage that other warblers have.
The always ebullient Francine Gilbert came out this morning (bringing coffee and muffins for everyone I might add) and delighted in seeing the birds and learning a little more about them.
A bird placed in her hand brings inexpressible joy to Francine. It is contagious to be around her and experience her constant wonderment, enthusiasm and fundamental pleasure in encounters with nature. I have watched Francine's knowledge grow exponentially and she has gone from sheer novice to proficient naturalist in record time.
Everyone should have a Francine in their lives!
All species banded 09 September: Red-eyed Vireo (2), House Wren (1), Swainson's Thrush (1), American Robin (1), Common Yellowthroat (1), American Redstart (1), Bay-breasted Warbler (2), Blackpoll Warbler (2), American Goldfinch (1). Total: 12
All species banded 10 Sepember: Traill's Flycatcher (1), Red-eyed Vireo (2), Tennessee Warbler (1), Common Yellowthroat (2), Magnolia Warbler (1), Wilson's Warbler (1), Song Sparrow (2), American Goldfinch (1). Total: 11