Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 7 - Fall Migration Monitoring

An average day with a not so average bird...
Today was standard with regards to the bird life found in the banding area. The Pied-billed Grebes, American Coots, dabbling ducks, and Hooded Mergansers were all in the wetland ponds. The Red-necked Phalarope first found a few days ago is still present.

Barn Swallow numbers have increased again, with a few Cliff, Violet-green, and Northern Rough-winged Swallows mixed in. Surprising was the three Purple Martins seen flying over the banding lab. Now these were surprising because the martins that nested at Iona had all left the area about a week ago, and so these are migrants and getting on the late side for martins as well.

Mid-season warblers and sparrows continue to increase in numbers, with a couple dozen Yellow-rumped Warblers flitting about the front of the woodlot above the banding lab (apparently the best place to watch them here), increasing numbers of Savannah, Fox, White-crowned (of the Puget Sound variety), and Golden-crowned Sparrows, plus one Oregon Junco. Pacific Wrens are also increasing with four found in the nets or around the woodlot today. Now some of you may be asking what the heck a Pacific Wren is, as they are not illustrated in any of the field guides (as such). This past summer the American Ornithologists' Union, which is the body whom most birders and banders follow for keeping track of bird species, split the Winter Wren into three species. The Pacific Wren, found in western North America, the Winter Wren in eastern North America, and the Eurasian Wren, which we don't have to worry about as its over in Europe and Asia. Now the differences between the Pacific and Winter Wrens are subtle, but noticeable if you pay attention. I've attached both photos below and see if you can tell which is which.

Now the star of the day was a Dusky Flycatcher is rare, but annual in the Vancouver area, and is seen more frequently in the spring than the fall. This is the third record for the park, both others are from the spring.

Migration is coming at us now, so who knows what might be found next.

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