A skeleton VCE crew of 3 returned to the Mansfield ridgeline on Friday
evening for our final 2012 session of mist netting and banding. We
usually time our mid-September visit for the 10-15th, when Bicknell's
Thrushes undergo a resurgence of vocal activity. We hardly expected to
match last fall's 9/12-13 outing
when we captured 20 Bicknell's Thrushes, and we in fact wondered whether
any thrushes would still be present 10 calendar days later this fall.
We set up 16 nets on a clear, cool, breezy evening. The ridgeline was
eerily quiet, with just a few Yellow-rumped Warbler calling
intermittently and 1 or 2 White-throated Sparrows singing briefly.
However, at ~7 pm, we heard the first Bicknell's Thrush call, and over
the next 15 minutes several additional birds chimed in. By the time
darkness settled at 7:30, we had heard at least 9 thrushes call, and we
captured one bird, a female that we had banded in breeding condition on
June 14 and recaptured on 6/28 and 7/2 -- all in the exact same net site.
Yesterday morning featured chilly temps, clouds that had snaked upslope
from the valleys below (a rare phenomenon on Mansfield in our
experience), and a continued stiff breeze from the west. The dawn
Bicknell's Thrush chorus outshone the previous dusk's, and we heard at
least 14 birds calling, with a couple of songs thrown in. Before taking
our nets down at noon, we captured another 3 thrushes, all of them adult
males that we had banded in June or July. In contrast to last
September, we didn't capture any immature (young-of-the year) birds, nor
did we capture or observe any Swainson's Thrushes.
Avian activity was otherwise slow to warm up, but by 8:30-9 am migrants
(mostly Yellow-rumped Warblers) were moving conspicuously around the
ridgeline. There was no hint of a real fall-out, and we had few
observations of bona fide transient species (i.e., non local breeders),
but we ended up with 42 captures.
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 5
Bicknell's Thrush 4 (all recaptures)
Blackpoll Warbler 6 (1 recapture of an adult male banded on July 2)
Yellow-rumped Warbler 16
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
White-throated Sparrow 3
Dark-eyed Junco 7
Other birds of note were a singing Winter Wren, a single Blue Jay
(unusual on the ridgeline), and a single Pine Siskin. It was
interesting to confirm that so many of the resident breeding Bicknell's
Thrushes remain on site so long into September. They'll definitely be
on their way soon.
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
P.O. Box 420
Norwich, VT 05055
802-649-1431 ext. 1