The Manomet Banders

Photos by Megan Gray.

We had a busy week with an impressive push of migration late in the week and many new species! We banded 469 new birds, processed 146 recaptures, and caught 14 new species. Our totals now stand at 977 new birds banded, 743 recaptures processed, and 57 species total. Some of the new species that we caught included Blue-headed Vireo, American Redstart, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Wilson’s Warbler.

Heavy rain delayed our opening on Monday but once we opened we caught a Prairie Warbler, White-eyed Vireo, and most excitingly a Yellow-breasted Chat! We rarely catch chats in the spring but catch a few in the fall as they wander north. They breed to our south and in the spring we’ll catch them as “overshoots” when winds carry them farther north than they intend. We had a great experience aging this bird as a second-year (a bird that hatched last summer) and were able to call it a male by its extremely black bill and mouth.

The Trout Lilies are in full bloom down in “the Swale”, the delicate yellow flowers are all over the banks and contrast with the leaf litter that covers the ground. On our first net run Tuesday, we caught two Savannah Sparrows that were moving along the bluff. We had time to admire their pink bill and yellow lores (the ‘eyebrow’ area) before releasing them together. We watched them fly into a tree outside the banding lab before they flew away together. Another highlight of Tuesday was processing 5 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, this week we caught 11 total! Later we made a trip down to the beach at low tide, just as the mudflats were exposed. Megan noticed two shorebirds on the mudflats and realized they were Piping Plovers! While Piping Plovers breed within miles of Manomet, they’re seldom spotted on the property. Staff Biologist Alan Kneidel dug into the data available and found that our sighting was the first since August 11, 1951, the first Piping Plovers spotted at Manomet in 70 years!