Photos by Megan Gray.
With our last two days of spring banding, we banded 12 new birds and processed 13 recaptures. One of our recaptures was the Eastern Screech Owl that we banded just a few weeks ago. Unsettled weather Tuesday morning caused a few showers. After we had to close for a passing downpour we looked off the bluff and saw an impressive fog bank had formed and was shrouding the rocks below the bluff. A Great Egret graced us with a flyby before disappearing into the thick fog that was blowing up over the bluff and into the Manomet Gardens.
Overall we’ve had an exceptionally successful spring banding season. By the numbers, our final totals are 1955 new birds banded, 1059 recaptures processed and 77 species captured. Combining our new birds banded number and the number of recaptures we processed, over 3000 birds passed through the banding lab safely and successfully this season! A major accomplishment by the banders and the extra help we had from Manomet staff in the banding lab. We captured 77 species, with 71 being the average in the spring over the last ten years.
Our success was in part due to the agreeable weather that we had this season. We had few days where we were closed for rain or wind, combined with the fact that we experienced “pushes” of the migration during the week, rather than missing them on the weekend when we don’t band. When we quantify our season by looking at our Birds Per Net hour, a metric we use to standardize the season, it shows that this season was above average. Our BPNH was 12.33, the highest since 1985 when it was 13.14. Whether or not this increase in the spring is a trend that will continue remains to be seen.
The majority of our captures were Gray Catbirds with 480, the most catbirds banded at Manomet since 1988 when 608 were banded. We banded 263 new White-throated Sparrows, the most since 2000 when 302 were banded. We also banded above-average numbers of Common Yellowthroat (146), American Redstart (131), Magnolia Warbler (108), and Black-and-white Warbler (101). Our four White-eyed Vireos were also above average, with at least one individual sticking around on the Holmes Farm singing. Two Eastern Kingbirds were great captures this spring, the first banded at Manomet since 2008. One of the banded kingbirds has been sticking around on the farm as well, flying from perch to perch flycatching. We also caught three Blackburnian Warblers, a species that we don’t catch often since they favor foraging at the tops of trees. Louisiana Waterthrush was an uncommon catch as well, with the last banded in 2004, and the one we banded was the 12th ever banded at Manomet.