Palomarin Blog

Taking the Long View: An inside look at the goings-on at the longest running avian ecology field station west of the Mississippi.

Monthly Banding Summary, November 2013

12.17.13
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This summary was compiled by Palomarin banding interns Lindsay Wagner and Max “Hummingbird” Baber with help from Mark Dettling, Banding Supervisor.

New Winter Interns:

Winter Banding Interns left to right: Max Hummingbird Baber, Hodali Almonté, Lindsay Wagner, Danielle Aubé. Photo by Mark Dettling

Winter Banding Interns left to right: Max Hummingbird Baber, Hodali Almonté, Lindsay Wagner, Danielle Aubé. Photo by Mark Dettling

With the fall season on its way out, the new winter banding interns were on their way in this November. Coming from far and wide, they arrived ready to learn all they can about birds!  Max “Hummingbird” Baber hitchhiked down the coast from Washington, Lindsay Wagner road tripped from Florida, sightseeing along the way, Danielle Aubé rushed from a banding job in Massachusetts, encountering tornadoes and the flu along her path, and Hodali Almonté flew in all the way from the Dominican Republic.

Exciting Captures and Observations:

Pine Gulch Creek (Marin County Open Space District Land), 1 of our 3 winter off-sites, is located on the shore of Bolinas Lagoon.  The nets are located in riparian habitat adjacent to tidal marsh habitat, differing from the coastal scrub and forest of our Palomarin field station, and thus capture many species not found at the station.  This month we banded two exciting marsh species there; a Swamp Sparrow and a Marsh Wren.  While these two species are somewhat common at this site, they are not frequently captured due to our nets being in the more sheltered tree line of Red Alder and Arroyo Willow.

Marsh Wren. Photo by Navit Reid

Marsh Wren. Photo by Navit Reid

A surprising capture this month was a beautiful Wilson’s Warbler, banded at Pine Gulch on the 23rd; almost a full 2 months since our last capture of this species. The Wilson’s Warbler is a small bird that weighs roughly 7 grams.  Although small, this bird migrates hundreds of miles to points South between Southern coastal California and Central America for the winter.  For being so late in the season, this little bird should be long gone by now!

Another exciting capture was of a male Yellow-shafted Flicker! This species, the Northern Flicker, is divided into two races, the Red-shafted of the West and the Yellow-shafted of the East. The Yellow-shafted is uncommon West of the Rocky Mountains, this individual being only the 4th banded at Palomarin since 1971!

Typically large birds are not captured by our mistnets, which are designed to catch small and medium-sized birds such as warblers and thrushes. Large birds usually fly into the net and bounce out due to their wing strength and overall size, so you can imagine our delight when a Red-shouldered Hawk was captured at the Palomarin field station this month!

Let’s Do the Numbers:

Wilson’s Warbler. Photo by Mark Dettling

Wilson’s Warbler. Photo by Mark Dettling

In 25 days (2863.2 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in November, we captured 369 new birds and recaptured 120 previously banded birds. A total of 489 birds of 25 species were caught this month. Approximately 20 birds were caught per banding day.

At our other West Marin banding sites, we captured 198 new birds and recaptured 103 previously banded birds. A total of 301 birds of 31 species were caught over 10 banding days this month (580.26 net hours), an average of approximately 30 birds per day.

The highest capture rates at all sites were on November 4th at Palomarin Grids Uppers with 45 birds and November 12th and 26th at Palomarin, with 40 birds each.

At Palomarin the highest numbers were captured for the following species: Fox Sparrow (145), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (111), Oregon Junco (74), Golden-crowned Sparrow (45), and Townsend’s Warbler (20). Across all off-sites, the highest numbers of captures by species were: Fox Sparrow (75), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (74), Hermit Thrush (27), Song Sparrow (24), and Pacific Wren (18).

Red-shouldered Hawk. Photo by Navit Reid

Red-shouldered Hawk. Photo by Navit Reid

Yellow-shafted Flicker. Photo by Navit Reid

Yellow-shafted Flicker. Photo by Navit Reid

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