PIBO Migration Summary
April 4th – April 15th, 2012
PIBO staff and volunteers returned to the island on April 3rd and the observatory’s tenth year of migration coverage at Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve (Ontario Parks) got underway on the 4th. It was clear from the start that the warm weather in March had prompted a lot of songbirds to move through in advance of their regular schedule, and species like Winter Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Purple Finch, and Fox and Tree Sparrow, were not much in evidence in the first half of April 2012 compared to previous years. At the same time, no early arrivals were documented during the coverage period.
A variety of migrants were recorded almost daily during the first half of the month including a nice range of water birds, with Common Loons, Horned Grebes, twelve duck spp., and up to 30 coots noted throughout the summary period. Four gull species were observed including 190 Bonaparte’s on April 9th. Raptors were low-key, with moderate numbers of Turkey Vultures, a few red-tails, some kestrels, and the local eagles observed, and just two shorebird species were recorded – Killdeer and American Woodcock.
Songbirds and near-passerines including Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Purple Martin, Tree and Barn Swallow, Hermit Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and eight sparrow species, all made an appearance, although just one warbler spp. – Yellow-rumped – was observed up to the 15th. Rusty Blackbirds were tallied in good numbers along with lots of redwings and grackles, and robins and Northern Flickers were active as well. Other new arrivals from the 4th – 15th included a Merlin on April 13th and a Sora and House Wren on the 15th.
Although the banding operation officially gets underway on the 16th, visual observations in the netting area and a few hours of banding this week produced some Hermit Thrushes, phoebes, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a few others. In all, PIBO staff and volunteers recorded 74 species on the island from April 4th – 15th.
PIBO’s next migration summary will be posted on April 23rd.
Purple Martins: Sumiko Onishi