This was our rescheduled day from the Sunday washout and conditions were beautiful. There was a big full moon setting on the horizon as nets were being opened, and a light frost shimmered in the rising sun as we opened the last net.
Bird activity seems to be shifting to earlier in the morning, with more birds caught on the first and second round, compared with the third and fourth round earlier in the winter. As mentioned in a previous post it could have been the colder weather earlier in the winter that had been causing a delay in bird activity. Now that temperatures are a bit warmer, bird activity has shifted back to around sunrise.
A Golden-crowned Sparrow and two Varied Thrushes (both recaptures) were our highlights from banding. About 20 Golden-crowned Sparrows have been present at Iona all winter, however, their activity has been concentrated along the fence between the woodlot and the sewage lagoons. They have now shifted their activity to other areas around the woodlot, including the open area in the centre. This shift resulted in one being caught and colour-banded. With their habit of foraging along the paths around the woodlot, this bird might be one of the easier ones to resight while birding.
Winter residents frequently show site fidelity their original wintering areas. In the late fall a Fox Sparrow originally banded in April, had returned to winter here. I have recently looked over the recapture history for our Song Sparrows to see if any might be returning winter residents, and it appears that five have returned. It will be interesting now to see if their departure dates are similar to last year, and how it will overlap with the arrival of spring migrants.
Two Yellow-rumped Warblers and the adult N. Shrike were still present on the 19th and when out on January 21st a Western Gull (new for the station) and Western Meadowlarks were found along the beach near the washrooms.