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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 
<http://vtecostudies.blogspot.com/2011/09/epic-visit-to-our-mt-mansfield-study.html>, 
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.

Banding totals:
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.

Chris

-- 
Chris Rimmer
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
P.O. Box 420
Norwich, VT 05055
802-649-1431 ext. 1
http://www.vtecostudies.org