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We had a great night of banding last night with 27 saw-whets captured. We banded 26 new saw-whets and had one foreign retrap that was a hatch year bird with no info at this time (probably banded at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory this past summer).
That’s puts us at 102 Northern Saw-whet Owls so far.
It’s currently drizzling over the Straits, but is forecasted to clear any time. As soon as the weather improves, the nets will be opened and surveys will commence.
The night was off to a slow start due to the 10 mph SW winds. Shortly after 0130 hours, the winds were out of the west and the owls started to move. Eight NSWO were captured last night with the first capture being at 0230 hours. Of the eight captured, three were already wearing bands (two foreign retraps and one recapture); one was banded on 10-18-14 at Woodland Dunes Nature Center in Manitowoc, WI, there was no info at this time for the second retrap, and the third was a recapture I banded here on Pointe La Barbe last fall on 10-11-14. That makes two recaptures from last season so far this fall.
Total NSWO captures: 75
On a side note, I saw a beautiful display of the northern lights at around 0530 hours while walking back from checking the nets. Despite the slow start, it was a great night.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s update, rain is predicted for Thursday, so with that in mind-as well as the clear, calm night predicted for this evening-I think we’ll see some good numbers.
After the last few gusty nights in the Straits, a calm night was just what the doctor ordered.
We started off with one Northern Saw-whet Owl on our first net check of the night and remained fairly steady until dawn. Fifteen NSWO were captured; we banded fourteen of these birds and had one recapture from Babcock, Wisconsin that was banded on October 18, 2014 as a hatch year female. That makes 67 total NSWO captures so far this season with seven total recaptures.
A huge thank you to my dear friend, Diane Backlund, for being a rock star assistant last night!
Northwest winds at 5-10 mph are predicted for tonight along with clear skies. Rain is predicted for Thursday, so there could be a good movement of birds between tonight and tomorrow night. Stay tuned.
I just walked in out of the rain after wrapping up the nets, which means my night/morning of banding is complete.
It was a calm and cloudy evening across the Straits and a few saw-whets stopped by on their journey south. The first capture came in at 2200 hours followed by a second at 2300 hours and one about every hour after that. Not a very busy night, but a total of six new saw-whets were caught and banded before the rain came in from out of nowhere. The official count is 52 NSWO.
Saturday night (10-3-15) was a long night with the stiff east wind not letting up until about 0500 hours. We saw no evidence of owls moving across the Straits, i. e. no saw-whets were captured, with the gusting east winds and storm moving up from the south.
If the weather forecast remains the same for the next couple of days, we should have some good nights.
The night started off looking good, but before too long the winds kicked up and forced me to close the nets at midnight. In fact, the winds were worse last night than they were the night before, which left the nets full of leaves and tangled in nearby conifers.
I did, however, start off with three NSWO at 2100 hours; two males and one female (all after second year birds). At the time of said captures, the wind was around 8mph and rapidly began to build leaving the nets void of owls for the following few hours. By midnight, the northeast (originally predicted to be east) wind had climbed to 18 mph-gusting to 23-requiring me to close the banding station.
NOAA is predicting winds to be east at 5-15 mph with gusts as high as 25 mph tonight. We’ll give it a go for a while and see what tonight brings.
Here are some lovely images from a week ago taken by Kathy Germain:
Newly banded Northern Saw-whet Owl. Image by Kathy Germain
Northern Saw-whet Owl at MSRW banding station on Pointe La Barbe. Image by Kathy Germain
NSWO wing under black light. The newly molted feathers show up pinkish in color, which assist in ageing the bird. Image by Kathy Germain
We had a good number of owls move through the point last night. A total of 20 NSWO were captured and five of them were already wearing bands. Of these banded birds, one was banded at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory (WPBO) on 8-9-14; one was banded at Steven’s Point, WI on 10-11-14, and one was a recapture we banded at Pointe La Barbe last fall on 10-19-14! There was no information available at this time for the other two birds, but they were both hatch year birds likely banded at WPBO this past summer.
Northeast winds are predicted for tonight as well as cooler temps (43 F). Hopeful for another busy night.
Four more NSWO were captured and banded on the point last night. The captures included 2 second year females, 1 hatch year female and 1 after second year female. So far, we’ve banded 13 NSWO since 20 September and only three of those have been hatch year birds. I know we can’t conclude anything regarding age class with so few numbers and with how early it is in the season–just an observation that has me intrigued. It’ll be really interesting to see what the coming weeks will show as far as age class goes; such data can give us an idea as to how successful this breeding season was for the species.
On a side note, I’m really looking forward to tonight’s Supermoon eclipse. I just read that it’s the first one since 1982 and that the next one won’t occur until 2033. Right now, it’s pretty overcast in St. Ignace, but fingers crossed things open up as the evening progresses! Here’s to hoping you have clear skies, too.
Winds are predicted to be southwest at 5-10 mph tonight, but with a chance of rain showers moving through tomorrow, there could be a push of birds tonight. As always, time will tell.
On two separate net checks last night, I discovered a lump of something at the far end of the LEOW audio lure net. It was enough to get me excited for a moment, but both times the mysterious lump turned out to be an Eastern Cottontail mowing the vegetation directly under the net. Luckily, I learned my lesson last fall about the dangers of having the nets open just above the ground when I caught a snowshoe hare. As some of you might remember, said hare did quite a number on the net, so I’ve since kept the net about a foot above the ground to avoid catching small mammals.
NCMC biology professor (and longtime friend), Kathy Germain, stopped out last night with two bio students. The first six net checks were empty and I was beginning to wonder of it would be another night of no-shows. However, we were all pretty excited to finally have one NSWO in the net at the 11:30 pm net check.
It’s always a delight to show someone their first-ever Northern Saw-whet Owl and I’m so happy I could be a part of the students’ experience–just one of many reasons why I love doing what I do.
The second year female NSWO was the only owl of the night.
The weather tonight is more of the same. Winds are predicted to be east until after midnight at which point they should switch over to south winds.
Last night Ed Pike set the nets for Owl Surveys from 9:30 pm till 2:30 am. During that time 4 N. Saw-whet Owls were captured, banded, and released back on their way. Friday night is predicted to have rain and snow showers so surveys will not be conducted.
We started our Owl Survey/Banding at Cheboygan State Park on Wed. March 18, 2015. Ed Pike and Dave Mayberry checked nets from 9:15pm till 4:30 am. We captured 8 N. Saw-whet Owls and placed bands on their legs and sent them on their way north. A good start to the season. Ed Pike