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, September 2017

11.13.17
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This summary was compiled by Point Blue’s Palomarin banding intern Elise Zarri 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:

We were in the full swing of fall migration during September! The fall interns were getting comfortable banding birds and learning lots of new techniques to age and sex birds. The month started out with a record-breaking heat wave on the 1st and 2nd of September with temperatures reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) at the Palomarin Field Station. This is the highest temperature recorded since we began collecting daily high temperature data in 1968!

An adult male Townsend’s Warbler at Palomarin on September 17. Photo by Elise Zarri

An adult male Townsend’s Warbler at Palomarin on September 17. Photo by Elise Zarri

On September 18th, Renée Cormier and Steve Howell (Point Blue Research Associate and bird ID expert) took the interns birding all around Point Reyes National Seashore. We visited Drake’s Beach, the lighthouse, the Fish Docks, and Inverness, along with other places. We learned about bird identification techniques, bird calls, and tips for finding birds from Steve and Renée. Some highlights of the day were Blackburnian Warbler, Northern Parula, Sora, and Yellow-breasted Chat.

An adult female Black-throated Gray Warbler at Palomarin. Photo by Elise Zarri.

An adult female Black-throated Gray Warbler at Palomarin. Photo by Elise Zarri.

We had lots of groups come visit Palomarin and our “off-sites” (additional mist netting sites around West Marin County) this month! We had a group from NOAA’s Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary who got to see banding along Pine Gulch Creek in the Bolinas Lagoon Open Space Preserve, and came to Palo for a meeting afterwards. We also had a group from the Nature Journal Club who were learning how to draw birds, a group of 8th graders from Lawrence Jones Middle School, and a group of undergraduates from Sierra College. Everyone was excited to learn about birds and banding!

An adult Northern Waterthrush at Muddy Hollow. Photo by Elise Zarri.

A first-year Ovenbird at Redwood Creek in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Photo by Elise Zarri.

Some exciting captures at Palomarin were a Willow Flycatcher on Sept. 1st, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on Sept. 3rd, a Black-throated Gray Warbler on Sept. 8th, and a Cassin’s Vireo on Sept. 14th. Some first captures of the fall were Townsend’s Warbler on Sept. 3rd, our first of many Fox Sparrows on Sept. 14th, and the first Golden-crowned Sparrow on Sept. 24th! Our exciting captures at our offsite locations were a Northern Waterthrush at Muddy Hollow in Point Reyes National Seashore on Sept. 21st and an Ovenbird at Redwood Creek in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on Sept. 28th.

An adult Northern Waterthrush at Muddy Hollow in Point Reyes National Seashore. Photo by Elise Zarri.

An adult Northern Waterthrush at Muddy Hollow in Point Reyes National Seashore. Photo by Elise Zarri.

Let’s Do the Numbers:

In 28 days (2,907.91 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in September, we captured 171 new birds and recaptured 48 previously banded birds. A total of 219 birds of 32 species were caught. Approximately 8 birds were caught per banding day.

At our other West Marin banding sites, we captured 245 new birds and recaptured 85 previously banded birds. A total of 330 birds of 32 species were caught over 18 banding days in September (898.3 net hours), an average of approximately 18 birds per day.

The highest capture rates at Palomarin and our other West Marin banding sites were on September 22nd at Palomarin with 17 birds and September 22nd at Redwood Creek with 41 birds.

At Palomarin the highest numbers were captured for the following species: Pacific-slope Flycatcher (32), Fox Sparrow (22), Wrentit (20), and Song Sparrow (14).

Across all off-sites, the highest numbers of captures by species were: Song Sparrow (42), Fox Sparrow (36), Wilson’s Warbler (34), Pacific-slope Flycatcher (21), and Lincoln’s Sparrow (20).

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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