The Spring 2019 Banding season has begun. After three days of hard work and problem-solving, the 50 nets have been raised and are ready to catch migrants. As of Friday the 19th, we’ve caught 20 species, several of which are year-round residents. We’ve banded 64 new birds and processed 108 recaptures. Wintering sparrows, such as the White-throated Sparrow and Slate-colored Junco, were among some of our first captures. Other early migrants like the Eastern Phoebe and Pine Warbler were caught as well.
Overall, our first week was slow for banding with strong winds upwards of 30 miles per hour whipping through the net lanes and no vegetation to buffer the breeze. A southeast wind Thursday brought cold ocean air along with sporadic rain showers. A small group of Long-tailed Ducks and Surf Scoters were seen expertly navigating the waves below the bluff.
The process of “green up” has begun along the net lanes, helped along by the rains and warm temperatures. Bird-in-a-Nest is blooming low to the ground behind the banding patio, with small, elongate purple flowers and a delicate spread leaf structure. In the garden, Grape Hyacinth has bloomed as well while other ephemeral spring flowers such as Wood Anemone, Starflower, and Trout Lily have just appeared on the wooded slopes. The coiled fiddleheads of Cinnamon Fern have begun to poke out of the wet boggy ground; they will soon tower as tall as 4 feet.