I have no idea where the last two weeks went! We’ve completed visits 4 and 5 to all of our MAPS sites and not a word was posted here about it – until now. Our fourth round of visits were done during the heat wave when the ghastly humidity forced to shut down a bit early at Maplewood and Rock Ridge. Temperatures were more moderate during visit 5 but we ended up with even lower capture totals despite logging more net hours at both stations!
I’ll start this summary of round five with the Rock Ridge (RRID) station in Frontenac Provincial Park. The weather was perfect and post-breeding dispersal was evident for the first time in 2010. Our first Yellow-billed Cuckoo of the year was banded along with small numbers of the usual suspects.
The day started off well with lots of young birds moving along the ridge – primarily Eastern Towhees, Yellow Warblers and Pine Warblers. The first half of the morning was quite productive, which was followed by the latter half ending with five consecutive empty net rounds – a record for us! We finished the visit with 17 total captures – 3 less than visit 4 when the heat and humidity were extremely high. On the bright side, we’ve somehow eclipsed last year’s pace at Ridge Ridge in terms of total birds banded and recaptured.
This juvenile Pine Warbler is the first we’ve captured at any of our MAPS stations! Pine Warblers nest in the tall pines on either side of the ridge near the banding station but they never seem to come down low enough to be captured. It makes sense that our first would be a dispersing youngster, which are less tied to the canopy foraging.
Our fifth visit to the Blue Lakes (BLAK) station was somewhat shocking as it ended up being the slowest day we’ve had since we started MAPS in 2009! The Black-throated Blue Warblers that were abundant earlier in the summer had vanished and the morning had this eerily quiet feel to it. The Veery, like the Black-throated Blue Warbler, was a dominant species earlier in the season but were noticeably missing during visit 5. We did recapture one Veery during the morning, an adult male in the midst of basic moult.
Always nice to find Chestut-sided Warblers in the nets. This male was recaptured for the first time since it was banded in mid-June. Fortunately there are still a number of these holding territories on the shorelines of lakes and ponds in the area. We ended visit 5 with 8 birds captured in six hours of sampling – REALLY quiet. I’m looking forward to getting back there to see how the season unfolds.
We can always expect birds at Maplewood (MABO)! This is the most consistent station of the three in our MAPS network. At the end of the day we tallied up the results and noted that 22 birds were captured, which is a quiet day for MABO. We sampled the first real wave of young birds at the station in 2010, which included this juv Scarlet Tanager as well as American Redstart, Hairy Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
Other noteworthy records included our first captured Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the year and two more Scarlet Tanagers! Multiple Wood Thrushes are still singing at the site and at least one Wood Thrush youngster has been banded in 2010. The exodus of Veerys at Blue Lakes is being echoed at MABO where the species was not encountered at all during visit 5. The Veery is normally an abundant species at MABO but our results in 2009 and 2010 have suggested widespread breeding failure. The weather conditions in both years have been atypical and likely a factor impacting nest success for at least some species. It will be exciting to begin analysis of the data after a few more seasons, preferably with more ‘average’ conditions. I will be particularly interested in statistics on survivorship, productivity and recruitment for Veerys.