Rushton Still Riddled with Warblers and Open for Birdness Monday!

Left to right (Nashville, Tennessee, and Magnolia warblers).  Photo by Ed Goll.
Left to right (Nashville, Tennessee, and Magnolia warblers). Photo by Ed Goll.

This week we waited out a string of rainy mornings, finally opened nets on Thursday, got rained out after two hours, but made up for everything today; this was a private banding day reserved for my class that I designed and am teaching for  Widener’s  Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.  Ten avid students over 50 years old, who have attended four in-class sessions (at the Exton campus) about  birds, bird banding, bird song/ID and bird conservation, attended today’s banding session and were thrilled with what they saw and learned.

Widener OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) class visiting banding station.
Widener OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) class visiting Rushton banding station.  Here the students photograph a White-throated sparrow before release under Doris McGovern’s guidance.

Below is Doris McGovern’s (our federally licensed master bander) synopsis of the past two banding days:

“77 birds this week of 18 species.  Fewer Gray Catbirds came through.  It’s a new group of fatter, older catbirds replacing the young birds in heavy molt we have been banding for weeks.  White-throated Sparrows have joined catbirds as our “bread and butter” catch.  The balance will shift from catbird to sparrow until catbirds disappear around 10/20 and sparrows take over until their numbers dwindle in November (when only the over-wintering population is remaining).

Our warblers:  2 Nashville, 2nd Tennessee, 7 Magnolia, 10 Black-throated Blue, 1 Myrtle.  (Nashville and Tennessee warblers must associate with each other during migration because we caught them together in the same net, like last week’s scenario).

Female Nashville warbler.  Photo by Blake Goll.
Female Nashville warbler. Photo by Blake Goll.

Other birds:  1st Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the season, 2 White-eyed Vireo, Indigo Bunting, Swainson’s and Gray-cheeked Thrush.

Female Ruby-crowned kinglet.  Photo by Blake Goll.
Female Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Photo by Blake Goll.

Thrush call notes in the pre-dawn sky were plentiful, but they didn’t stop at Rushton in any number, aside from robins.  Great-horned Owls are horny, calling even in daylight as they establish pair-bonds.  A Sharpie (Sharp-shinned Hawk) hunts our hedgerows.  No woodcock this week.

On a sad note, today we laid to rest our Weigh Cup, 2007-2012, in a shallow grave in the shadow of the banding station near the House Wren nest boxes.  In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to http://www.wctrust.org/?page_id=1016

Grave marker for our “Weigh Cup” ( a plastic blue cup that was taped to our scale for weighing birds). The new higher-end plastic “Weigh Cup” is clear and more stable but will never take the place of the dilapidated, beloved blue one. (Keep in mind all bird banders are a little off-center).

Rushton’s banding team did a super job this week.  Blake’s Widener Birding class was awed by the beauty of our birds.   It wasn’t a typical week, but it was a good one.  Lisa, our other principal bander, returns tomorrow and next week looks great on the Weather Channel.  Stay tuned.”

Widener student holding banded American robin.  We called her the bird-whisperer because every bird she went to release amazingly just sat unrestrained in her hand for a few minutes!  Photo by Blake Goll.
Widener student holding banded American Robin. We called her the bird-whisperer because every bird she went to release amazingly just sat ,unrestrained, in her hand for a few minutes! Photo by Blake Goll.
Widener student/ bird whisperer with Gray-cheeked thrush.  Photo by Blake Goll.
Widener student/ bird whisperer with Gray-cheeked Thrush. Photo by Blake Goll.
Widener student/ bird whisperer with Magnolia warbler.  Photo by Blake Goll.
Widener student/ bird whisperer with Magnolia warbler. What is her secret?? Photo by Blake Goll.
Widener student with Tufted titmouse.  Perhaps another bird whisperer?  Photo by Blake Goll.
Widener student with Tufted Titmouse. Perhaps another bird whisperer? Photo by Blake Goll.

Blogster Blake here again.  Next week does indeed look spectacular for birds.  A cold front moves in this weekend hopefully bringing a last wave of migrants with it, so Monday will be great banding.

Male Nashville warbler.  Photo by Blake Goll.
Male Nashville warbler. Photo by Blake Goll.

We are open to the public on Monday, Columbus Day, (6:15am-11am) so please come on out and enjoy the day off  in nature with your family, friends and kids to witness fall’s fantastic display of southbound feathers!

Also, DO NOT MISS THE PREMIERE OF “WINGED PLANET” this Saturday October 6 on the discovery channel at 8pm.  Watch this preview to get an idea of the breath-taking bird’s eye-view footage of the marvelous interconnectedness of all the creatures in this amazing planet.  I can’t wait!

There’s a lot going on out there in nature,

~Blake

Tufted titmouse.  Photo by Blake Goll.
Tufted titmouse. Photo by Blake Goll.

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