The Manomet Banders
Dry leaves crinkle underfoot as cooler air has moved into the Northeast this week. Reptiles and amphibians are readying themselves for hibernation as these cooler temperatures take hold. Most of the goldenrods have gone by, leaving the asters as one of the remaining blooming flowers. The one surprise exception is famed “Old Gnarly” on the Holmes Farm, who revealed two apple blossoms this past week.
Week 9 ended with 177 new birds banded and 122 recaptures processed, bringing our totals up to 1081 new birds banded and 624 recaptures. Monday was a great start to the week with 110 birds, mostly Blackpoll Warblers, Tufted Titmice and White-throated Sparrows. Wednesday was a cool morning with temperatures in the 40s. A Black-and-white Warbler and Black-throated Blue Warbler that have been caught several times in the last few weeks continue to linger on the property and were most recently processed on Wednesday. A first of season male Red-bellied Woodpecker turned out to be our 1,000 new bird banded. Eight Swainson’s Thrushes and five Hermit Thrushes were also caught this week along with our second Gray-cheeked Thrush of the season.
On Thursday constant wind and strong gusts forced the banders to close the nets early, but not before the Bay Farm Montessori school children were shown a male and female Northern Cardinal. Braving the high winds and cold temperatures, the kindergartners were guided around the net lanes and told about the different habitats on the property. They were able to hear a Blue Jay and correctly identified a Black-capped Chickadee.
Secretive and hard to spot, Spotted Salamanders will spend their lives hidden under rocks, logs, in burrows of small mammals or under the cover boards on the Holmes Farm. With their large stature and wide snouts, Spotted Salamanders belong to the family Ambystomatidae or mole salamanders. This species of salamander breeds in vernal pools during the spring and will overwinter within 250 meters of their breeding pool. Feeding on spiders, worms, slugs and millipedes, the moist environment under our cover boards on the Holmes Farm make an attractive habitat for the Spotted Salamander in the fall.
Megan, Brittany, Jillian and Nick