Our first taste of fall arrived this week with cool mornings and temperatures in the lower 50s. We finished the week with 58 new birds banded and 51 recaptures processed, bringing our totals up to 455 new birds banded and 390 recaptures processed. We banded nine new species for the week including Connecticut Warbler, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and Eastern Wood-Pewee bringing our species total up to 48 for the fall.
On Monday, while we didn’t have the number of birds we were expecting, we did have some exciting captures. We had ideal northwest winds overnight bringing us four new species for the week: Northern Parula; Chestnut-sided Warbler; Connecticut Warbler; and Black-throated Green Warbler. We banded our 8th Yellow-breasted Chat of the season on Tuesday. This species continues to confuse biologists, with its position in the family tree of birds being hotly contested; it’s been moved out of the Wood Warbler family, Parulidae, to its own family, Icteriidae. Crazily enough, a recent photo has surfaced in the birding community showing what appears to be a chat/oriole hybrid! Wherever you think this bird belongs, the Yellow-breasted Chat exhibits an interesting life history trait; although it breeds to our south, we catch around 10 of this species every fall, but never in the spring. It seems that Yellow-breasted Chats are prone to wander north during the fall and will sometimes winter along coastal Massachusetts.