The Manomet Banders

Week 8 at the banding lab started with a string of strangely humid days for October. The warmer temperatures and waning daylight resulted in an interesting phenomenon known as vernal recrudescence. This term refers to the period of time when temperatures and light levels are similar to that of the early spring, causing amphibians and birds to sing their territorial and mating calls. Tufted Titmice and Song Sparrows were singing their spring songs throughout the property, while Spring Peepers and Gray Treefrogs called vociferously.

We ended the week with 191 new birds banded and 119 recaptures processed, taking our season totals to 904 new birds banded and 502 recaptures. To date we’ve banded 235 Blackpoll Warblers, 59 of which were caught Tuesday when we processed 97 birds. Our first White-breasted Nuthatch, Myrtle Warbler and Black-throated Blue Warbler were banded this week along with a few other interesting captures.

Usually an early migrant, a hatch-year male Hooded Warbler was caught on Tuesday. The bird was molting some of his tail feathers, which perhaps delayed him from being able to migrate earlier. Also of particular excitement, we banded a hatch-year Indigo Bunting on Wednesday. An uncommon capture for the banding lab, the 10-year average is just 0.3 in the fall. Preferring fields and shrubby habitat, buntings don’t often enter the canopy of the forest where our nets are found. With its overall warm, brown tones, the bunting’s blue retrices and blue-tinged coverts add a flash of color to an overall drab bird. Our second Yellow-billed Cuckoo was banded on Thursday, with its long, white-tipped tail, large dark eye, and rusty wings. This secretive bird is a patient feeder, perching and waiting for prey to move.

Remnants of Hurricane Michael on Friday brought high winds and rain from Thursday night into Friday. The winds calmed in the afternoon and into the evening motivating the banders to set up Northern Saw-whet Owl playback around some of the nets. Amazingly, at 8:30 a delightful female saw-whet made its way into our Field nets. This capture more than made up for us not being able to band all day Friday.

Last but not least, an interesting arachnid was found crawling on the banding lab table this week. Moving quickly, Nick encouraged the spider to climb onto a piece of paper for closer examination. To the disbelief of all present, Nick identified the ant-like insect as an Ant-mimicking Jumping Spider. Looking closing we could see that it had four legs on one side but only three on the other and had at least 6 eyes. While being studied the spider was only too happy to jump and spin a web, something ants never do.


Megan, Brittany, Jillian and Nick