After a productive summer of research and a brief break in July, PIBO staff and volunteers launched the autumn migration coverage season on August 1st. The first ten days of the month were hot and dry, with dawn temperatures reaching 27° C, and with little rain save for some brief thundershowers on the 3rd. In keeping with the time of year, migration activity was generally light and most of the birds recorded were local breeders and young of the year.
Never-the-less, a small variety of new arrivals were noted throughout the summary period and sixty-eight species were documented in PIBO's official ‘count' area from August 1st - 10th. Swallows were actively heading south on August 8th, with 150 birds observed leaving from the tip of Fish Point for Middle, Kelley's, and the Bass Islands, along with smaller numbers of Cedar Waxwings, orioles, and goldfinches. Barn Swallows were dominant followed by Bank, Northern Rough-wings, and a few Purple Martins.
Shorebirds were not much in evidence, with only a few Sanderlings and a Black-bellied Plover tallied over ten days, but there were lots of gulls and terns at the tip most mornings, including 1200 gulls (mostly ring-billed and herring) and 220 Common Terns on August 6th.
While there were some additional species observed on the morning census, most of the songbird activity was in the netting area, with small numbers of the following migrants documented throughout the summary period: Least and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Swainson's Thrush, American Redstart, Blackburnian, Black-and-white, and Canada Warbler.
In addition to the above, an Eastern Red Bat was captured in the nets on August 6th, which is just the second PIBO record for this migratory species. In all, just three bats have been netted during eight years and almost 30,000 net hours of operation on Pelee Island - 2 Eastern Red and one Silver-haired Bat.
PIBO's next summary will be posted on August 22nd.
Photo: Sumiko Onishi