The Manomet Banders

Swamp Sparrow

It was another short banding week for us. Yet another storm brought rain and gusty winds to Manomet on Thursday and Friday, so we banded only 30 new birds and processed an additional 21 recaptures this week. This brings our season totals up to 868 new birds banded and 670 recaptures processed.

Monday was dominated by clouds and wind and was one of our slower banding days, but we did catch a male Golden-crowned Kinglet. In the last few weeks, we’ve been seeing the caterpillars of Isabella Tiger moths frequently crossing the farm road, net lanes and sidewalks. Also called the “woolly bear,” these brown and black caterpillars will overwinter and freeze solid until the spring when they thaw. It’s thought that when their brown band is wider, the winter will be mild but if it’s narrow, the winter will be severe. But in reality, the bands vary considerably from caterpillars in the same clutch and will tend to widen as they molt.

Tuesday was calm but cloudy with only a few peeks of sun. Some activity at the edge of the “Big Bog” piqued our interest. Nick reported seeing something smaller than a chicken flying and Sarah and Evan heard a cryptic bird vocalize. With closer investigation, it was a small rail working the edge of the bog. It even made a short flight, revealing itself as a Virginia Rail!