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.

Point Blue Conservation Science: Monthly Banding Summary, August 2017

10.18.17
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This summary was compiled by Point Blue’s Palomarin banding interns Meredith Heather, Elise Zarri, and Brittany Panos with help from Renée Cormier, Banding Supervisor.

About Point Blue: Our mission is to conserve birds, other wildlife, and ecosystems through science, partnerships, and outreach.

Our Vision: Because of the collaborative climate-smart conservation work we do today, healthy ecosystems will continue to sustain thriving wildlife and human communities well into the future. Visit Point Blue’s website to learn more.

Exciting Captures and Observations:

August is a transition month with the spring/summer season coming to end. The interns began trickling out, making way for the new fall interns. The gridders (aka nest searchers) said goodbye to their plots, leaving a few nestlings that still needed to grow a little bit before being color-banded by the remaining supervisor. The outgoing interns were treasuring every capture of their favorite Wilson’s Warblers and Swainson’s Thrushes, since it could be their last. Everyone was on edge waiting for the arrival of fall migrants and vagrants. Summer bander Ian was on the hunt to sight a Yellow Warbler before leaving and got lucky enough to be able to band one on his last day here. The nest box monitoring around Palo was wrapped up with the banding of three Barn Swallow nestlings.

FIrst year Yellow Warbler captured at the Palomarin Field Station, August 2017. Photo by Meredith Heather.

First-year Yellow Warbler captured at the Palomarin Field Station, August 2017. Photo by Meredith Heather.

Banding Barn Swallow nestlings at the Palomarin Field Station - this was our last nest of the 2017 breeding season. Photo by Meredith Heather.

Banding Barn Swallow nestlings at the Palomarin Field Station – this was our last nest of the 2017 breeding season. Photo by Meredith Heather.

Some of the interns spent a beautiful evening at Slide Ranch for their “Friends of Slide Ranch” day and enjoyed playing ranch games, making brick-oven pizza, and taste testing warm goat milk straight from the udders – always great to get to know our fellow local non-profits! Excitement was rising with the upcoming solar eclipse and their viewing glasses came just in the nick of time…for the cloudy day. Despite driving hours inland (to Napa!), there was no break in the clouds and no viewing of the eclipse. Until next time! To their delight, some of the Palomarin staff had luck – for just a couple minutes – catching views of the eclipse through tiny breaks in the cloud cover from Mt. Tamalpais.

Hopeful Palomarin interns in search of clear skies for eclipse viewing. From left to right: Meredith, Elise, Brittany, and Ian. Photo by Meredith Heather.

Hopeful Palomarin interns in search of clear skies for eclipse viewing. From left to right: Meredith, Elise, Brittany, and Ian. Photo by Meredith Heather.

Besides the eventful capture of a bat in the library one evening, some highlight captures in the Palomarin nets included a Western Wood-Pewee on August 10th, a hatch-year male Sharp-shinned Hawk on August 17th, and a hatch-year Lazuli Bunting on August 26th!

First-year Western Wood-Pewee captured at the Palomarin Field Station in August 2017. Photo by Meredith Heather.

First-year Western Wood-Pewee captured at the Palomarin Field Station in August 2017. Photo by Meredith Heather.

We had additional highlights at our “offsite” locations (other banding stations around West Marin County where we have mist netting stations). Our first Yellow Warbler was caught at Uppers, our offsite that is up the hill from Palomarin, also in Point Reyes National Seashore. The highlight capture for our Redwood Creek site in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area was a Western Screech-Owl. It was caught on August 5th as the net was being opened for that morning. There are only 5 others on record for Palomarin and none since 1982! Highlight captures at Pine Gulch in the Bolinas Lagoon Open Space Preserve include a House Finch on August 23rd and a Black Phoebe on August 30th – while these two species are commonly seen, they aren’t regular captures for us.

A Western Screech-Owl captured at our banding station along Redwood Creek - this was our first capture of this species at any of our banding stations since 1982! Photo by Elise Zarri.

A Western Screech-Owl captured at our banding station along Redwood Creek – this was our first capture of this species at any of our banding stations since 1982! Photo by Elise Zarri.

Let’s Do the Numbers:

In 27 days (3052.34 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in August, we captured 150 new birds and recaptured 77 previously banded birds. A total of 227 birds of 29 species were caught. Approximately 8 birds were caught per banding day.

At our other West Marin banding sites, we captured 280 new birds and recaptured 95 previously banded birds. A total of 375 birds of 35 species were caught over 16 banding days in August (907.42 net hours), an average of approximately 23 birds per day.

The highest capture rates at Palomarin and our other West Marin banding sites were on August 3 at Palomarin with 21 birds and August 15 at Redwood Creek with 47 birds.

At Palomarin, the highest numbers were captured for the following species: Oregon Junco (43), Wilson’s Warbler (26), Wrentit (20), Swainson’s Thrush (18), and Pacific-slope Flycatcher (18).

Across all off-sites, the highest numbers of captures by species were: Song Sparrow (90), Wilson’s Warbler (89), Swainson’s Thrush (52), Wrentit (23), Pacific-slope Flycatcher (13), and Chestnut-backed Chickadee (13)

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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