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September 2013


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Chris Rimmer <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 22:59:15 -0400
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VCE's final overnight foray to the Mansfield ridgeline yesterday was a 
near wash-out.  Four of us arrived to hypothermic conditions that 
precluded any possibility of mist-netting - temps in the low 40sF, 
strong winds, and soaking clouds.  We struggled with numb fingers to set 
up 10 nets, hoping (with low confidence) that weather might improve by 
daybreak.  It didn't, and temperatures had in fact dropped to the high 
30s.  After our second cup of coffee in the ski patrol hut, we decided 
to venture up to the ridgeline, arriving ~7:30 am.  Winds were a bit 
lower than last night, and several Bicknell's Thrushes (BITH) were 
calling, a few even breaking into song.

Knowing this represented our last chance for field work in 2013, we 
decided to open nets, check them constantly, and try a few playbacks.  
Surprisingly, we caught a BITH right off the bat, then another, then a 
Golden-crowned Kinglet, then another BITH, then...the wind dropped 
slightly and the temp soared to 39.  We managed to keep our 10 nets open 
until noon, banding inside my cramped but relatively warm Prius.  When 
all was said and done, we had netted 5 BITH - 3 adults (including one 
male we banded back in June) and 2 immatures.  We also banded 2 
kinglets, 1 adult Blackpoll and 1 immature Yellow-rumped warbler.  
Hardly a major haul, but far better than we had expected when peering 
out the ski patrol hut windows at dawn.

BITH were far and away the most conspicuous birds on the ridgeline, with 
at least 8 heard.  As usual, they proved themselves far more hardy than 
us humans.  Their annual mid-September resurgence of activity is 
puzzling, but probably related to the fact that many of them will be 
right back on the ridgeline about 7 months from now. Most will depart 
for their Greater Antillean wintering grounds during the next two 
weeks.  It won't surprise me if some push off with tonight's clearing 
cold front.

A handful each of Yellow-rumped Warblers and Golden-crowned Kinglets 
completed our avian encounters outside of netting, although a distant 
raven croaked once or twice.  Not a single junco or White-throat was 
seen or heard.


Chris Rimmer
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
P.O. Box 420
Norwich, VT 05055
802-649-8281 ext. 1