After a week of steady but not insane owl banding no one was really expecting the rush we had two nights ago at the ridge. The night started off slow, with only a few Saw-whets per net run, but by 10pm the numbers were increasing dramatically and I had to call in some extra help! Thankfully Annemarie, Steve, Madi and Danny were all ready and willing and we endured the night very well, ending with 181 owls, including three Long-eared Owls! I believe one net run produced about 50 owls!
Last night was a bit slower, but anything would be comparatively I suppose, ending with 68 owls.
I went over to the Hartley Nature Center yesterday for a run, but then ended up birding around a bit beforehand. I mostly saw a lot of sparrows, including Song, Lincoln's, Swamp, White-throated, White-crowned, and my first Fox of the year.
Red Fox Sparrow, strikingly different from the Sooty, seen here.
Lincoln's were probably second to White-throated in number.
There were also a few thrush kicking around with the Catbirds, eating berries, including this Swainson's Thrush.
Since last night was so slow and was cut short because of weather, here are a few pictures from earlier in the week.
Though a lot of the Saw-whets that we catch during the fall at Hawk Ridge may be first (hatch) year birds, very few of them still show juvenile plumage by the time we capture them, which is why find this guy in the net was especially exciting for me.
Compare with the breast and head pattern of these or any others that we've caught
Here's the Woodcock I found in the net a few days ago as sunlight was just starting to show itself. Such an odd looking bird with its eyes set farther toward the back of its head than the front.