Point Blue's 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.

Monthy Banding Summary, June and July 2016

09.15.16
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This summary was compiled by Palomarin banding interns Kayla Putty and Anna Kennedy with help from Mark Dettling, Banding Supervisor.

Exciting Captures and Observations:

During June and July banding we caught a high number of hatch year (birds hatched this calendar year) Song Sparrows at our sites in West Marin. We are also enjoying a fair amount of hatch year Brown Creepers caught in our nets at the Palomarin Field Station. At this time of year the young birds are becoming independent, feeding themselves and moving outside of the territory they were hatched in.

One exciting capture for June/July was a Red-breasted Nuthatch caught on June 2nd at Palomarin. We don’t frequently capture this species in our nets, but they can be heard up in the trees around the field station making their typical horn-like call.

We caught the first Sharp-shinned Hawk for the season in on July 2nd at our Lagunitas Creek banding site (within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area). The individual was a second year (meaning it hatched in the previous calendar year) male and was an unusual capture for this time of year as they usually start to migrate through the area in September and are more regularly caught in the fall/winter.

We also banded our first Blue-gray Gnatcatcher of the year on July 26th. This tiny bird is rarely caught at Palomarin. For the last five or so years, approximately one individual has been caught per year. They are rarely seen or heard at the field station much of year, except for August to early September when we expect to encounter a few in the area.

Hatch year Blue-gray Gnatcatcher caught at Palomarin on 07/26/2016. Photo by Kayla Putty.

Hatch year Blue-gray Gnatcatcher caught at Palomarin on 07/26/2016. Photo by Kayla Putty.

Another uncommon capture at Palomarin was a young MacGillivray’s Warbler on July 22nd, although they have also been caught in May at one of Point Blue’s other banding locations in Pescadero.  They breed in small numbers in Marin County, but not around the field station.

Hatch year MacGillivray’s Warbler caught in Pescadero on 07/28/2016. Photo by Kayla Putty.

Hatch year MacGillivray’s Warbler caught in Pescadero on 07/28/2016. Photo by Kayla Putty.

We caught a young male Rufous Hummingbird on July 29th. This is the first fall migrant of this species we have caught as they begin to move to their wintering grounds in Mexico. More individuals should start showing up during the next couple months.

The nest searching interns wrapped up their season at the end of July. After finding and monitoring nests of Palomarin’s study species and creating territory maps during the breeding season, they conducted vegetation surveys of nest sites and put in many days in the office to organize their data. The current banding interns have a few weeks to go, and are excited to see what species the start of fall migration has to bring!

Let’s Do the Numbers:

In 49 days (5,598.82 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in June and July, we captured 254 new birds and recaptured 176 previously banded birds. A total of 430 birds of 34 species were caught. Approximately 9 birds were caught per banding day.

At our other West Marin banding sites, we captured 659 new birds and recaptured 374 previously banded birds. A total of 1033 birds of 36 species were caught over 31 banding days in June and July (1,700.56 net hours), an average of approximately 32 birds per day.

The highest capture rates at Palomarin and our other West Marin banding sites were on July 14th at Palomarin with 19 birds and July 25th at Muddy Hollow (a site within Point Reyes National Seashore) with 64 birds.

At Palomarin the highest numbers were captured for the following species: Wrentit (60), Swainson’s Thrush (58), Wilson’s Warbler (44), Oregon Junco (30), and Allen’s Hummingbird (28).

Across all off-sites, the highest numbers of captures by species were: Swainson’s Thrush (245), Song Sparrow (225), Wilson’s Warbler (195), Wrentit (61), and Allen’s Hummingbird (42).

Hatch year Black Phoebe caught on 07/18/2016. Photo by Kayla Putty.

Hatch year Black Phoebe caught on 07/18/2016. Photo by Kayla Putty.

About these Summaries:

In an effort to share our science with the public, Point Blue interns and staff at our Palomarin Field Station (Palomarin or “Palo”) in Point Reyes National Seashore near Bolinas, CA produce these monthly bird-banding summaries. Our science interns create these summaries as part of their science outreach training.

Our Palomarin Field Station is open to the public.  Consider visiting us!  Learn how by visiting our mist-netting demonstrations web page.

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