We did it!
At 0200 hours on the last night of owl surveys, the 250th Northern Saw-whet Owl of the season was captured and banded and it also happened to be the very last bird of the season, too. What a great way to end the 8-week season.
I want to thank MSRW for the opportunity to run the banding station again this fall. I am beyond grateful to had been a part of another successful season on Pointe La Barbe. Of course, this position would not have been possible without the generosity from our donors, which is definitely worth mentioning. Thank you so much for your support!
Lastly, thank you to the many visitors who helped make this a memorable season. Perhaps, I’ll see you all again in the future or run into you on the trail somewhere. Cheers.
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.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s update, the winds were due to die down around midnight. They slowed down enough by 2230 hours that I was able to open them up, but by midnight they were blowing at around 15 mph out of the west. That was enough to keep the birds from flying, I guess, and the nets remained empty until I closed the station at 0630 hours.
I’m still hoping to reach 250 by the time we wrap the season up in a couple of days. Tonight doesn’t look promising with the predicted 10-15mph SW winds, but I’ll give it try. Monday and Tuesday, the winds are predicted to be light from the south, which looks a little better. Fingers crossed for a few more birds.
Photo by Emily Grasch. Selena and Ed with the 2100 hour captures. Take note of the slight color differences in each owls’ head and face.
The saw-whets are still on the move and we saw a nice push during the first few hours of the night. Between 2000 hours and 2330 hours, seven saw-whets were captured and banded. The winds really picked up around 2130 hours, which slowed the movement down quite a bit. The last two birds came in at 0330 hours and 0530 hours. I really tried to reach double digits last night, but nine is a great number!
The winds are still pretty strong out of the west at the moment, so I have yet to open the nets. They’re due to die down sometime around midnight, so we’ll give it a shot then.
NSWO: 242 LEOW: 3 BDOW: 1
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.
Last night’s west winds brought a few birds to the point. A few saw-whets were captured between dusk and 2100 hours and our first Barred Owl of the season came in at 2200 hours. I wasn’t able to capture an image of the bird, but I do have several bite marks on my hands for proof. It was a feisty one-and smelly, too. After banding and releasing the barred, I checked the far locations and found a Long-eared Owl in the passive net. That makes our second long-eared for the season with hopefully more to come in the next nine nights left on the point.
We still haven’t captured any long-eareds in the LEOW audio lure location, which has us wondering if we need to change things up next season. There has been a recent increase in banding stations using a LEOW audio lure to bring in long-eareds and some banders are reporting having success. We’ll see how the rest of the season goes and make changes where we think are necessary.
After 0100 hours, the winds switched to the southwest, which slowed the movement to a screeching halt. In total, six Northern Saw-whets were captured last night along with the barred and long-eared owls. Season totals at this time are listed below.
Northern Saw-whet Owl: 232
Barred Owl: 1
Long-eared Owl: 2
Tonight’s wind is predicted to be out of the west at 5 mph, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a few more birds move thru. As always, stay tuned.
On 30 October, Ed Pike filled in for Selena Creed and ran the banding station until 0100 hours. Winds started out at 8-12 mph from the southwest and eventually began blowing from the south. The movement was rather slow, but two Northern Saw-whet Owls were captured-a real treat for our patient visitors. One of the birds was a new capture for us and the second bird was a foreign retrap originally banded at Yellowwood State Forest, Indiana in November of 2012. They banded this bird as a second year female, which makes her at least 5 years old.
Last night, the wind and rain kept the banding station closed. Tonight, however, looks like a good night despite the gusting west winds. They’re predicted to die down as the night progresses and will, hopefully, bring a few birds with them.
After having the last three nights off due to inclement weather, I was really looking forward to opening the nets last night. The winds were out of the NW at around 14 mph to start out and I was hopeful for a push of birds. Six hefty females were captured between 2000 hours and 0100 hours. At around 0100 hours, the temperature dropped to below freezing and frost collected on the mist nets, which scintillated in the moonlight. If I could see it without my headlamp on, the owls could, too. From 0100 hours to 0600 hours, the nets remained empty.
We’re at 215 Northern Saw-whet Owls and one Long-eared Owl with 12 nights left of banding. Still time for a busy night or two.