Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Hitchcock of warblers?

This past weekend was truly remarkable both for the numbers and variety of birds seen at the Nisswa townhouse and cabin. It is unfortunate that the birds’ poor fortune in finding food was our good fortune in viewing and banding, but being able to watch some species forage on the ground that are otherwise in treetops is a remarkable experience. It is also unfortunate that my photo skills aren't nearly as good as others I have presented in this blog. Hope you guys can come north sometime!

Blackburnian Warbler foraging in the cabin yard

As a steady rain saturated us Saturday, my mom (yes, it was Mother’s Day weekend, after all) and I watched between 1:30 PM and 2:30PM at least 10 to 20 birds per minute (no exaggeration, folks)pass along the West Twin Lake shoreline; mostly Yellow-rumped Warblers but also Palm Warblers and other species (poor light precluded an ID). Upon our return to the townhouse at 3PM we watched her backyard feeding area for four hours straight. Among the species seen in just one pine tree during that period:

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-winged Blackbird
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Chipping Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
Yellow-rumped Warbler
(Western) Palm Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Tennessee Warbler

At least for those birds the previous evening’s Cooper’s Hawk was not present.

Today being a colder but nicer day some banding was attempted at the cabin. For those who are struggling as I am with molt limits and the like for in-hand avian age determination, I present these other photos to see what you think (along with my own decisions):

Second-year Western Palm Warbler

Second-year male Yellow-rumped Warbler

After second-year Least Flycatcher

Note that this last could very well be second-year because of that odd covert towards the right in the photo.

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