The last full week of fall banding has come to a close. With just a few days left in the season we’ve banded 1,467 new birds, processed 901 recaptures, and 72 species have passed through the lab. With only 45 new birds banded this week, we are entering the end of fall migration. Our number of recaptures processed was 76. This includes the lingering Black-throated Blue Warbler that we’ve caught times 9 times over a period of 5 weeks since she was banded on the 9th of October.
New species for the week included European Starling and Field Sparrow. European Starlings are a bird of open country and seldom enter the forest where the net lanes are. The same goes for the Field Sparrow. However, on Thursday, a small flock of six Field Sparrows were caught in the nets around Cranberry Hill. With a small pink bill and pale striped face, this petite sparrow prefers the thickets and hedges of the Holmes Farm.
Warm rains on Tuesday brought amphibians out of their hiding places. Spring Peepers and Gray Tree frogs attached themselves to Manomet windows to feed on bugs attracted to the lights within. Swooping low along the net lanes, an adult Red-shouldered Hawk pounced on a snake Thursday afternoon and then devoured its meal on the ground. Windy weather on Friday caused an influx of oak leaves to spin down from the trees and land in the nets. Despite the wind and leaves, we banded our 101st White-throated Sparrow, 61st Brown Creeper, and our 2nd Bay-breasted Warbler.
The Holmes Farm has been playing host to a multitude of rare species for our area, highlighted by a Western Kingbird and Lark Sparrow. The Western Kingbird, first seen last Monday, continues to be seen gorging on Virginia creeper berries in the trees behind the barn. To this date, over 30 local birders have visited Manomet to enjoy seeing this vagrant from the west.