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, August 2013

This summary was compiled by Palomarin banding interns Elena Daggett and Jerry Cole, with assistance from Palomarin Banding Supervisor Renée Cormier, and Conservation Educator Lishka Arata.

Exciting Captures and Observations:

Photo by Elena Daggett
Photo by Elena Daggett

One exciting capture for the month of August was a Townsend’s Warbler captured on the 8th. This was the earliest ever capture date for this species at the Palomarin Field Station, beating the 1983 record by 2 days. A portion of the Townsend’s Warbler population typically winter in California, and they are a commonly caught species at the Palomarin Field Station throughout the fall and winter months.

Other exciting captures were two Belted Kingfishers caught at one of our off-sites, Lagunitas Creek (on GGNRA land). This species is an uncommon capture, with the last Belted Kingfisher caught in 2009. There are only 20 recorded captures of Belted Kingfishers in the last 42 years of our banding history.

We also caught three Black-headed Grosbeaks at three different locations: the Palomarin Field Station, and two off-site locations: Lagunitas Creek, and Pine Gulch Creek in Marin County Open Space District’s Bolinas Lagoon Preserve. This is always an exciting capture since this bird has a powerful bill and knows how to use it! The common name Grosbeak actually comes from the French gros bec meaning thick-billed, which is evident in the photo.

Photo by Renée Cormier
Photo by Renée Cormier

Finally, we caught one Cassin’s Vireo at the Palomarin Field Station this month. While this species is not uncommon in this area, it is unusual for us to capture Cassin’s Vireos, with only five total captures in our records since the late 1998. Until the late 1990s, the Cassin’s Vireo was known as the Solitary Vireo, which was split into three species: Cassin’s, Plumbeous, and Blue-headed.

Let’s Do the Numbers:

In 31 days (3,460 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in August, we captured 131 new birds and recaptured 86 previously banded birds. A total of 217 birds of 29 species were caught this month. Approximately 7 birds were caught per banding day.

At our other 5 West Marin banding sites, we captured 283 new birds and recaptured 92 previously banded birds. A total of 375 birds of 37 species were caught over 20 banding days this month (1,124 net hours), an average of 19 birds per day.

Photo by Elena Daggett
Photo by Elena Daggett

The highest capture rates at all sites were on August 22nd at Redwood Creek and August 23rd at Muddy Hollow, with 33 and 38 birds captured, respectively. Redwood Creek is a banding site located near Muir Beach in Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) and Muddy Hollow is a site located near Limantour Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

At Palomar our highest capture rates were for the following species: Wrentit (29), Pacific-slope Flycatcher (29), Swainson’s Thrush (20), Pacific Wren (17), and Brown Creeper (16).

Across all off-sites, we captured the highest numbers of the following species: Song Sparrow (76), Swainson’s Thrush (65), Wrentit (47), Wilson’s Warbler (45).

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.