Photos by Megan Gray.
Our first full week of the Spring 2021 banding season is complete! All 50 nets have been set up and we’ve caught 109 new birds and processed 126 recaptures. We started the season with 25 species; a combination of wintering species, residents that breed on the property, and a few early migrants. After a few warm days at Manomet, some definitive signs of spring have appeared. Tree Swallows over the bogs have been flying low in search of insects and nest boxes and a pair of Mallards have been seen flying between the different bogs on the property and Scoke’s Pond (We’re hoping that they’ll nest nearby and that we’ll see ducklings at some point this spring!).
We finished setting up nets on Monday and caught several ‘firsts-of-season’ (FOS: our first capture of any species that season) including a Red-winged Blackbird and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. The delicate gnatcatcher had been calling along the bluff just a few hours before, but they usually stay high in the canopy so we don’t catch them often. The Belted Kingfishers have returned to Manomet and seem to be in the process of constructing a new nesting burrow in the side of the bluff. While closing, Megan and Amy surprised one of the kingfishers and it dropped a rock it had been carrying, possibly from its burrow excavation.
On Tuesday, we opened all 50 nets for the first time. It was calm and we had light southwest winds overnight, bringing a few new birds to the nets. On our first net run, we caught two Ruby-crowned Kinglets and three Palm Warblers along the bluff. During the afternoon, as we closed, Sarah found an American Toad nestled in the leaves near the bogs. Almost every day when it was warm enough this week, we heard the melodic trill of toads calling from the ‘Big Bog.’ During warm evenings on the Holmes Farm, the Spring Peepers and Gray Tree Frogs take over and trill in an almost deafening chorus as they try to entice females to mate with them.