08-25-14 Field Note

Block title

08-25-14 Field Note

August 25, 2014

Kate Stone's Bird Field Note details fall migration surveys, songbird banding, and Lewis's Woodpeckers.

PDF icon Download (3.94 MB)

Bird Field Note Lewis’s Woodpecker, Shrubby Draws, Songbird Banding Kate Stone 8/22/14

For the past month William and I walked two transects near Lewis’s Woodpecker territories to re-sight marked birds and look for evidence of migration (i.e., the presence of many unmarked birds). Until this week, we saw a high proportion of marked birds. Many continued to hang out at or near their nest trees. We saw relatively few juveniles.

On August 22, I encountered no marked birds. One group of eight Lewis’s Woodpeckers gathered in the snags near the Northern Center Pivot. It contained two juveniles. The group moved in a noisy flock from tree to tree, before it settled in some live pines farther south.

One juvenile woodpecker extracted seeds from a ponderosa pine cone. The woodpeckers also foraged on insects, berries, and other seeds.

A Black-headed Grosbeak joined Lewis’s Woodpeckers, Cedar Waxwings, and Gray Catbirds in gobbling hawthorn berries.

Cold, damp weather prompted Vaux’s Swift migration. As I walked along the bench above the river, I saw several hundred swifts foraging for insects.

We started fall shrubby-draw surveys on August 15th. As in years past, Vesper Sparrows topped our early-season migrants. Unusual sightings included a group of Yellow-headed Blackbirds, an Olive-sided Flycatcher, and a McCown’s Longspur.

Mourning Dove numbers have exploded in the past few years. Large numbers congregated on the sides of the draws and on man-made structures (top). I also saw a flock of Yellow-headed Blackbirds perched on a pile of irrigation pipe (bottom).

Two families of Rock Wrens and migrating Vesper Sparrows took shelter in these newly installed debris piles in Partridge Alley.

The Rock Wrens also made use of the piles of fencing, pallets, and exclosure material in the dump.

A lone yellow-bellied marmot sunbathed near the biggest debris pile.

American Kestrels gathered on perches in the draws to hunt grasshoppers.

The Avian Science Center began training for fall migration banding. They welcomed students from Ecology Project International to the floodplain banding station. Students learned about the banding process, passerine migration, and careers in wildlife biology.

Banders used a stick to occupy this female Black-headed Grosbeak’s bill. This prevents it from latching onto their fingers.

Previous Field Note

08-19-14 Bird Field Note