Rushton Migration Update

on
Kentucky Warbler by Cory DeStein
Kentucky Warbler.  Photo by Cory DeStein
WAIT! If you’re a subscriber reading this in email format, before reading any further, please click on the title of the post right above in order to view the blog in the glory it was meant to have on the actual blog website.

______________________________________________________

Tonight while you lay in bed before falling into the arms of Morpheus, picture an unrelenting stream of thousands of tiny wings beating feverishly in the moonlight, flowing steadily northward with thousands of wild eyes and hearts set on the stars and mysterious Earth forces to which we could only dream of being attuned.  Migration is now on, full speed ahead, and our nets are finally averaging 40 birds a day as of this week, which is much more satisfying than the 10-bird days we were having previously this spring.  Better come see the rainbow before it disappears!

Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  Photo by Dustin Welch.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Photo by Dustin Welch.

Banding Schedule

Our last bird banding days for this spring are tomorrow May 16, Saturday May 18 and next Tuesday May 21.  Visit anytime between the hours of 6am and 11am.  Rushton Woods Preserve and Farm is located just across the street from 912 Delchester Road in Newtown Square, PA.

Before you come, check out this cool Birdcast website for the regional migration forecast.  It uses new computer models to determine real-time migration intensity in our area and where fallouts are possible on any given day during migration.

Common Yellowthroat before release.  Photo by Blake Goll.
Female Common Yellowthroat before release. Photo by Blake Goll.

Family Day Open House This Saturday May 18

This Saturday, May 18, is the annual Spring Songbird Migration- Banding Open House at Rushton.  Adults, kids and families welcome!  The bird banding station will be operating from 6am until 11am.  You are welcome to come and go as you please to observe banding within that time frame, but we usually catch the biggest variety and number of birds earlier in the morning, as this is the time when the birds are flitting around the hedgerows refueling from their previous night’s journey.
____________________________________________________________
From 9-11am, there will be several learning stations for PA Young Birders  (kids around the ages of 7-12 years):
  • Bird banding- Observe and learn about the premier scientific process for studying bird populations.
  • Insect Exploration- Catch and identify bugs with nets, bug boxes and field guides.
  • Bird Art – Draw birds with colored pencils and learn artistic techniques.
  • Birding- Bring your own binoculars if you have them, but some will be available to borrow.  Learn from experienced birders!
  • Beauty in the Brambles- Discover the importance of shrub habitat for baby birds, see our demonstration shrub habitat, and create shrub leaf prints to take home!
Wear sturdy hiking shoes or sneakers and layers as it may start out chilly.  Watch your email as this event will be cancelled in the event of rain.  Bring binoculars if you have them.  Invite your friends!
____________________________________________________________
If you plan to bring Young Birders from 9-11am  please email me, Blake Goll, at bhg@wctrust.org to let me know you’re coming. This event has been hugely popular in past years, but there is no limited capacity of attendees.
No need to RSVP if you’re stopping by before 9am.  Early bird special!
NOTE:  This event will be cancelled if it rains.
Black-and-white Warbler being released by a child.  Photo by Blake Goll

DSCN0376

Willistown Conservation Trust’s Youth Birding Program Honored By Delaware Valley Ornithological Club (DVOC)

Great news!  This spring, we were awarded the annual Conservation Fund by DVOC, one of the oldest and most prestigious birding clubs in the nation.  Most of these funds are raised as part of DVOC’s participation in NJ Audubon’s World Series of Birding, but other donations towards this award come from people like YOU who care about building the next generation of conservationists by getting youth outside learning about birds, science and nature.  Please consider contributing to the Trust’s life-changing youth educational programs by clicking here for DVOC’s  Conservation Fund donation form.  Every little bit helps us connect more kids to nature.

Win Schafer banding a Black-and-white Warbler for school group.
Win Schafer banding a Black-and-white Warbler for school group. Photo by Blake Goll

Rushton Spring Migration at a Glance

The number of birds we are banding is just now starting to catch up to the number of young students we have been serving this spring!  School groups who have come to learn about the science of bird banding, see our feathered beauties up close and understand the importance of land conservation have included: Agnes Irwin 2nd grade, Goshen Friends Elementary, Saint James School of Philadelphia, Westtown-Thornbury 2nd grade,  Westtown 1st grade, and Harriton High School.

Ageing a Common Yellowthroat by primary covert feathers.  Photo by Blake Goll.
Ageing a Common Yellowthroat by primary covert feathers. Photo by Blake Goll.
High School intern with Tufted Titmouse before release.  Photo by Blake Goll.
High School intern with Tufted Titmouse before release. Photo by Blake Goll.

As for birds, this week we were thrilled to have spectacular Magnolia Warblers, Canada Warblers, Black-and-white Warblers, a breeding Yellow Warbler, and Wood Thrush  join our bread and butter catch of Song Sparrow, Gray Catbirds, White-throated Sparrows, Veery,  Common Yellowthroats, Ovenbirds and House Wrens.

Other banding highlights so far these past few weeks have included a Prairie Warbler, a White-eyed Vireo, a couple of Hermit Thrush, generous servings of Field and Swamp Sparrows, Eastern Towhee and a few Yellow-rumped Warblers.

The here-to-stay Indigo Buntings’ bright emphatic songs and Orchard and Baltimore Orioles’ flamboyant whistles monopolize the air at Rushton now so that we must strain our ears to hear the songs of the other migrants including Northern Parula, Black-throated Green Warblers, Kentucky Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Blue-winged warblers, Red-eyed Vireos, Warbling Vireos, Swainson’s Thrush and even a Prothonotary Warbler deep in the riparian woodland.  However, all of these tricky songsters have evaded our nets so far this season.

Prothonotary Warbler.  Photo by Mike Rosengarten.
Prothonotary Warbler. Photo by Mike Rosengarten.

I’ll let these pictures do the rest of the talking so I can start thinking about heading to bed.  The 4:30am rise time comes awfully soon, even for us banders who live for the spellbinding migratory procession of moonlit wings and golden feathers…It’s the stuff of dreams.

Prairie Warbler preening.  Photo by Mike Rosengarten
Prairie Warbler preening. Photo by Mike Rosengarten
Female Black-throated Blue Warbler.  Photo by Mimi Davis.
Female Black-throated Blue Warbler. Photo by Mimi Davis.
Saint James student with White-eyed Vireo.  Photo by Nat Hamilton
Saint James student with White-eyed Vireo. Photo by Nat Hamilton
Saint James students observe Northern Cardinal.  Photo by Nat Hamilton
Saint James students observe Northern Cardinal. Photo by Nat Hamilton
Veery being released.  Photo by Nat Hamilton.
Veery being released. Photo by Nat Hamilton.
Field Sparrow.  Photo by Justin Thompson
Field Sparrow. Photo by Justin Thompson
Child overcoming her fears to touch a Veery.  Photo by Blake Goll.
Child overcoming her fears to touch a Veery. Photo by Blake Goll.
Child sold on birds and conservation!  Photo by Blake Goll.
Child sold on birds and conservation! Photo by Blake Goll.
Adult male Magnolia Warbler.  Photo by Blake Goll.
Adult male Magnolia Warbler. Photo by Blake Goll.
Female Yellow Warbler.  Photo by Blake Goll
Female Yellow Warbler. Photo by Blake Goll
Baltimore oriole.  Photo by Dustin Welch
Baltimore oriole. Photo by Dustin Welch
Spring beauty.  Photo by Mike Rosengarten
Spring beauty. Photo by Mike Rosengarten

There’s a lot going on in the woods,

Blake

Saint James students with Box Turtle shell in Rushton woods.  Photo by Kelsey Lingle.
Saint James students with Box Turtle shell in Rushton woods. Photo by Kelsey Lingle.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Joy says:

    Sounds like it’s getting more exciting over there. I saw what looked like a white swan in the tall grass at Kirkwood on Saturday morning and thought of you.

Please leave an appropriate comment, bird sighting, or discussion topic related to birds!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s