The Manomet Banders

Photos by Megan Gray.

Our week was filled with spring-like temperatures, sun, and light winds. Many of the trees on the property are fully leafed out, creating sun-dappled and shady net lanes. We ended our fifth week of the spring season with 497 new birds banded, 121 recaptures processed, and 7 new species. This brings our totals up to 1472 new birds banded, 864 recaptures processed, and 64 total species.

We had a great start to the week, clear and calm conditions were perfect for banding Monday and we banded 198 new birds. We had a low number of recaptures showing that there was a major movement of birds between Friday of last week and Monday. This high turnover shows that the majority of the birds we banded last week have left to continue their migration north. Early in the morning, we heard a Wood Thrush singing around the woods near the “Big Bog”, perhaps the same one that we had banded on Friday. New species that we banded Monday included Swainson’s Thrush and Lincoln’s Sparrow.

Tuesday was a little breezy but it was warm with temperatures reaching almost 80 at Manomet. We caught fewer Black-and-white Warblers than we had the previous week but caught more Magnolia Warblers and American Redstarts. The true highlight of Tuesday was catching two birds of a species we haven’t caught since 2008, Eastern Kingbirds! We don’t catch these birds often because they tend to stick high in the treetops, fly catching. We were all shocked when Tahira returned from a net run with two kingbirds that she had pulled out of a net along the bluff. We admired their plumage, a deep bluish-black, and their bright orange crest, which is almost always concealed. Close examination of their primaries revealed that we had a male and a female bird, it was likely they had chased each other into the net! Upon release, they flew in different directions but the male perched in the cedar and called loudly immediately.