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Last night was an excellent night of owl banding. It was partly cloudy with temperatures in the 30’s and winds of 5 to 10 mph out of the south.
We captured a total of six Northern Saw-whet Owls, two of which were already banded. All were female and of various ages. We also banded our first Long-eared Owl of the season! The LEOW was an after second year female.
It was nice to hear some Sandhill Cranes calling as we closed up nets this morning, along with a bunch of singing Song Sparrows.
Rain is in the forecast tonight.
Wind, wind, and more wind. On Sunday night, the winds were out of the southwest and were pretty relentless the whole night. Down on the point, they stayed at a steady 8 mph with gusts as high as 16 mph. I could see the tops of the spruce trees swaying like crazy and I’m willing to bet the winds were stronger up on US-2. Even though the winds were strong, protocol states that as long as they aren’t exceeding 15 mph, the station must be opened and that it was. I kept my fingers and toes crossed from dusk to dawn, but never caught a single owl. At about 0400 hours, I heard one Northern Saw-whet Owl calling near the audio lure, but it never came in to visit. Sunday night, skunked.
Last night, the winds were calm out of the south/southwest and I was hopeful we’d catch a few. My goal this season is to reach 250 saw-whets and I guess I might be pushing it with so little time to reach that goal. Three saw-whets were captured and banded last night bringing our count to 245 (not including the three long-eareds and one barred owl).
Tonight, the final night of the banding season, the winds are predicted to be light out of the south/southeast. I think a few more birds will move through, but it will likely be another slow night. Stay tuned.
I did finally end up catching that noisy saw-whet from two nights ago. It was the last capture of the night making our total on Wednesday a whopping two birds. Still pretty exciting with that Long-eared Owl that came in.
Last night started off looking really promising with four saw-whets captured in the first few hours after setting nets. Unfortunately, the winds picked up and I had to shut the banding station down at 2330 hours. Rain followed at around 0200 hours. We’re seeing some pretty impressive winds here on the point today, but it looks like they’re starting to die down with a current west wind of 17 mph with gusts at about 28 mph. We’ll have to see how things look around dusk.
Five nights left of the season and our totals are:
It wasn’t too long after opening the nets that the fog lifted and the sky cleared. The east winds switched over to the southeast sometime around 0100 hours and died down quite a bit. One Northern Saw-whet Owl was captured at 2100 hours and the nets remained empty for the rest of the night. Perhaps I should have said in my last blog update that I would be happy with twenty?
Slow as it was, I’m glad we had the one come through, but I’d say the most exciting part of the evening was watching the northern lights. They were quite low in the horizon and the lights along US-2 drowned them out a bit, but they were still beautiful. The display showed some beautiful reds-my first time seeing that color in the auroras.
Tonight (4 November) started off just like last night. The fog was super dense and I, again, couldn’t see the bridge from our furthest net. I planned on keeping the nets open until around midnight or 0200 hours and shutting down if I hadn’t caught anything by then. Sure enough, at about 0030 hours, the fog lifted and exposed the bright, star-lit sky. A half hour later, our first owl of the night was captured in the Long-eared Owl audio lure net and it was a…..wait for it……a Long-eared Owl! Our third of the season and our first one in the LEOW audio lure location.
As of 0345 hours, there have been no other captures, though I just heard a saw-whet talking over by the NSWO nets. We’ll see what the next net check brings.
Four Northern Saw-whet Owls were captured and banded last night. The first owl came in at around 2100 hours and the last owl of the night was captured around 0300 hours just before the dense fog rolled in. One of the females from last night-a second year bird- weighed in at an astonishing 120 grams. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had one that heavy before. I actually had to weigh her twice because I couldn’t believe my eyes. Just a fun little tidbit for you.
By dawn, the fog had moved off of the point and settled over the Straits, which probably made things interesting for Ed during his waterbird count this morning. The freighters were busy blowing their fog horns all day, which will likely continue throughout the night as conditions haven’t improved. In fact, the point is socked in again and I can’t even see the bridge from the passive net. Having said that, I’m not expecting much action from the owls tonight. Plus, we currently have a lovely 12 mph east wind, which should switch to the southeast at some point. I’ll consider it a good night if I can just get one by dawn.
Well, I wasn’t bombarded with owls last night. I know it’s getting a little late in the migration, but I figured with as hot and cold as the migration has been this fall we’d see a couple more good pushes of birds. Last night was not one of them and I couldn’t help but wonder why. Ed thinks that the lack of wind kept the birds from moving much and I tend to agree with him. Of course, this is all just speculation, but perhaps the owls prefer to move when there is a bit of a wind for them to take advantage of. That way they conserve a bit of energy on their journey south versus flapping the entire time. Last night was dead calm for the most part and the big lake was like glass.
Eight new Northern Saw-whet Owls were captured and banded last night and all three net locations saw a little action from the birds. Most interesting, in my opinion, was a saw-whet captured in the Long-eared Owl audio lure location directly below the audio lure. This is the second saw-whet capture in this location, so perhaps the audio lure doesn’t deter saw-whets from moving through that area like we had wondered.
Tonight looks like a wash with the rain/drizzle predicted. It looks like it could clear up after midnight, so, if that happens, the nets will be dropped and we’ll give it a try. Winds are predicted to be light SSE.
The night started off clear with light winds from the east. Between 2000 hours and 0030 hours, eight new saw-whets were captured and banded. I was pleased to see a small movement of birds before the winds picked up. By midnight, the winds had increased to 12 mph, which pretty much shut the movement down. No other owls were captured between 0030 hours and dawn, which made for long stretch. Still, not a bad night considering the east winds, eh?
Total NSWO count: 181 and counting.
I’m hoping for a few birds tonight with the predicted northwest winds ahead of us. It’s supposed to be rather windy (15-20) with gusts as high as 30 mph, but, as usual, we’ll just have to see how it goes.
Winds were strong from the southwest all night and not much was moving. The first of two saw-whets came through at 0330 hours and the second was captured at 0630 hours just before the winds hit 15 mph (although they were gusting higher than that all night).
We just had a little drizzle move through the point and the winds are exceeding 18 mph from the west. We’ll see how the night goes. For now, the nets will remain closed until these winds die down, which they’re predicted to do. Fingers crossed for a push of birds once this weather settles.
Well, the rain showers missed us last night, but the winds were strong out of the northwest for much of the night. I didn’t expect much to be moving with 12 mph winds and was, again, surprised with how the evening went. Twelve NSWO were captured; nine were new captures and three were repeats we had banded earlier in the month (two hatch year birds banded on the 7th and one after second year banded on the night of the 13th). The repeats will not be added again into our total count, but I find it interesting to note that these birds were still hanging out on the point. One of the saw-whets originally banded on the 7th had gained 3 grams and the other had lost 2 grams. Are they sticking around to fatten up before crossing the Straits? Who knows.
Total NSWO count: 157
As for tonight, things are extremely slow. With this clear night and north wind, I figured the owls would be moving, but alas.
I do know of at least one saw-whet hanging around though. In fact, while I type this the little guy or gal is screeching away from the cedars near the audio lure. Tease.
I was delighted to catch a few migrating Northern Saw-whet Owls last night. The winds were predicted to be southwest at 15+ mph, but the night actually started off with light west winds that never exceeded 10 mph even after they switched around from the southwest. Seven saw-whets were captured, banded and released, which makes our official count 117 NSWO with 30 days left of the season!
I’m still waiting for that long-eared to show up. Maybe if our readers keep their fingers and toes crossed?
West winds 10-15 mph are predicted for tonight with 80% chance of rain after 11 pm. I’m hoping for a good movement of birds before the rain moves in…