Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 11 - Winter Songbird Monitoring

It is hard to be optimistic when the weather forecast predicts rain for every day of the next week. But luckily optimism prevailed and we managed to get in an entire morning of monitoring in (well almost, we did lose 15 min at the end). The amount of rain we have had showed, as the entire north end of the woodlot was under a foot or more of water and many puddles were present in the south end. So if you will be coming out in the future, rubber boots are a must!

The number of birds caught (32) was lower than previous visits, although plenty of birds were still seen in the area. Perhaps it was just a one day anomaly. One positive note from the catch totals, was that 65% were recaptures, increased from 40-45% in mid-November. This will provide us with a better sense of what birds and how many are present at Iona over the winter, in addition to providing data on survival rates.

One of the Northern Shrikes that has been hanging around Iona Island was captured, the first for the banding station! It was a very brown hatch-year bird that was promptly attacked by an adult shrike upon release. Other notable sightings included a Yellow-rumped Warbler hanging around the woodlot, a Rough-legged Hawk flew over, and a group of six River Otters were seen playing around in the north wetland for most of the morning. Otherwise our usual mix of Fox, Song Sparrows, Spotted Towhee, Black-capped Chickadee, Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets were captured.

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