63: Oak Titmouse Western Scrubjay Northern Flicker Common Raven Bushtit Yellow-billed Magpie Ash-throated Flycatcher Yellow Warbler Olive-sided Flycatcher Mourning Dove Bewick's Wren Brewer's Blackbird Western Bluebird Turkey Vulture Wrentit Warbling Vireo Spotted Towhee Black-headed Grosbeak Acorn Woodpecker Red-shouldered Hawk Orange-crowned Warbler House Wren California Towhee Hutton's Vireo Red-tailed Hawk California Condor White-throated Swift Cooper's Hawk Tree Swallow Oregon Junco Steller's Jay House Finch California Quail California Thrasher Song Sparrow Anna's Hummingbird Western Wood-Peewee Violet-green Swallow Wilson's Warbler European Starling Western Kingbird Western Tanager Lesser Goldfinch American Kestrel Black Phoebe White-tailed Kite Prairie Falcon Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides Woodpecker Purple Finch American Robin American Crow Bullock's Oriole Sage Sparrow Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Western Screech Owl Rufous-crowned sparrow Lazuli Bunting Canyon Wren Rock Wren Pygmy Owl Pacific-slope Flycatcher Unidentified Pigeon
Species of Nests Found: Bullock's Oriole Black Phoebe Black-headed Grosbeak Western Scrubjay Nuttall's Woodpecker Brewer's Blackbird Ash-throated Flycatcher American Robin Rock Wren House Wren (x2) European Starling Acorn Woodpecker
Sunday and Monday the Palomarin field station was shut down, as all of the staff and interns headed to Pinnacles National Monument for a couple days of hiking and camping. I had a really great time. Pinnacles was beautiful, the change of habitat was great, which brought on many new birds to see, and it was nice to spend time outside of the field station with much of the staff, who we don't often get time to interact.
There was A LOT of this:
And this (checking out bugs and flowers):
Some lizard catching (some kind of whiptail):
It was not hot as we had hoped and kind of expected, so this reservoir at the end of of the hike was not the treat it could have been
In February 2010 ~33 geolocator tags were harnessed (with Kevlar string, making sort of a backpack) to wintering golden-crowned sparrows here at Palo and a near by location. In June 2010 35 tags were attached to breeding Swainson's thrush between three sites (Palo, Pine Gulch, and Muddy Hollow).
Here's a short description (from the seller) of what the tag's function:
"Our light level geolocator is an instrument used to record the flight paths of migrating animals; particularly birds. British Antarctic Survey (BAS) engineers originally developed the instrument for recording the behaviour of the Wandering Albatross. The device records the change in light levels at different latitudes and longitudes, enabling scientists to determine where the bird has been. Animal recapture is necessary to retrieve the device as it is an archival logger. Information is recovered by downloading the data from the logger for analysis. Using low power technology and data compression the device is able to record data for many years."
In the fall we retrapped ~11 sparrows that were fixed with tags, but only retrieved the low number four tags, as we ran into the problem of tags having been bitten off by the strong seed-crushing sparrow bills...sad, indeed.
Within the last three weeks we have seen the arrival of the Swainson's thrush and have since retrieved 5 tags! Three at Muddy Hollow (one today!), one at Palo today, and our first at Pine Gulch. It seems as though the tags have stayed on these birds much better, and it makes sense, as their bills are much better fitted for picking at insects and eating berries. It's pretty exciting to know that there are still 30 tags out there and we are seemingly likely to get many more.
After returning to the banding station with the bird in a bag, Amanda and I decided to play it safe by removing the tag from within the confines of my car (in case there was an accidental release)...
Swainson's thrush with one color band and one silver
Caught our third (?) western flycatcher today. With these guys there are a handful of measurements that must be taken, then put into a formula to determine what species it actually is. There are a variety of other features to look at in order to separate western's from other flycatchers, but figuring out if it's a pacific-slope or cordilleran flycatcher is a bit tougher.