Not even a month into calendar summer, mid-July is already bringing changes to the Mt. Mansfield ridgeline. The avian chorus is a shadow of its former self, independent fledglings are out and about, some adults are in early stages of flight feather molt, and non-local breeders are dispersing. VCE’s 14-15 July banding session featured all of these and resulted in a total of only 43 captures. Never lacking a surprise or two, this outing—our sixth of the 2020 field season—yielded two in particular: an adult female Least Flycatcher (one of very few we’ve ever banded on Mansfield in 29 years) and a return male Sharp-shinned Hawk (our third individual of the season, in itself a record) that we had first banded as an adult almost exactly 3 years earlier.
Our 2-day totals included:
Sharp-shinned Hawk — 1 male, a return capture from 7/6/17
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher — 1 female with full brood patch
Least Flycatcher — 1 female with refeathering brood patch
Ruby-crowned Kinglet — 1 adult female with regressing brood patch
Red-breasted Nuthatch — 2 hatching-year birds
Bicknell’s Thrush — 4 males (1 new, 1 return from 2016, 2 within-season recaptures)
Swainson’s Thrush — 1 new yearling male
American Robin — 2 new males
Purple Finch —1 within-season male recap from 9 June
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) — 5 (3 new, 2 within-season recaps; female with full incubation patch, possibly a second attempt)
White-throated Sparrow — 8 (4 free-flying juveniles, 2 new, 2 within-season recap adult males)
Blackpoll Warbler — 11 (7 new birds [5 yearling males all in early flight feather molt], 4 within-season recaps
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) — 5 (1 new, 3 return males from 2018 and 2019, 1 within-season recap)
With only 3 weeks to go before our summer field season wraps up, we expect a flurry of juveniles, more molting adults, and inevitable surprises in the form of non-local dispersers. We’ll relish the plaintive songs of White-throated Sparrows and nasal ‘beeer’ calls of Bicknell’s Thrushes while they last.
Thanks Chris. I love reading about what is happening up on the mountain. Wonderful photos. I wouldn’t want to mess with that Sharp-shinned Hawk– check out the look on his face–impressive!
Super update and photos. Much appreciated. These long-term studies are so essential.
Thanks for the update and the effort taken to include photos.
Love the sequential photo. Thanks for all the bird news from the top of Vermont!