Dauphin Island-Update

I am not going to say much about the birds that I have been catching, or should I say the lack of birds. I am trying my best not to dwell on what a relative failure this season has been in terms of Swainson’s Thrushes. I will stay positive……maybe.

What I will say is this, where the heck are all the birds that were supposed to pile up on the coast after the front two days ago? Where!? Because they sure are not on Dauphin Island!

Phew, glad I got that off my chest.

On the plus side, I have been getting a lot of reading done during the day. I already made it through all the journal articles I printed out to read and now I am actually reading a book just because I want to. This is the first time I have just read a book for fun in, I don’t know, YEARS! So that is a positive result of this season….I suppose. But I will do my best to stay positive and NOT focus on what a waste of time this is turning out to be and I will NOT focus on all the work I could be doing instead of sitting in the woods all day, every day.

On another note, here is a funny anecdote from this morning: Mornings are generally the worst time of day for me here motivation-wise. I have to get up very early, carry a bunch of equipment out to the site, set up my banding table, poles, and finally the nets. This all starts in the pitch dark with the aid of a head lamp and ends about 30 minutes after sunrise. And given the lack of birds and lack of SWTHs, I am usually a little cranky.

So as gloomy as I was, I was surprised to see a bird in one of my nets on my first net check. As I got closer I saw a thrush-like bird, with an eye-ring. I continue to walk closer….oh my gosh….A SWAINSoo…ovenbird. Damn it! So I took it out, brought it to my banding table, tagged it, and let it on its way.

About 30 minutes later, while walking down a line of my nets, I saw the distinctive flash of the underwing of a Catharus (the genus Swainson’s Thrushes belong to). My logical conclusion was of course Swainson’s. I have only captured one other bird from that genus after all and Gray-checked Thrushes are considerably less common. I practically jogged up to the bird in the net I was so excited. But before I even got my hands on it I saw the distinctive reddish-brown back of a VEERY. Sigh.

Now don’t get me wrong Mr. OVEN and Mrs. VEER (I don’t actually know the sex of these two birds since they are sexually monochromatic but go with it) I love each of you in your own special and significant way. You are great birds! But for this year, this season, this dissertation, my love and my passion are for the Swainson’s Thrush. Unfortunately, he seems to be playing a little ‘hard-to-get’.

So I will continue on trying. I am posting this today not yet having closed my nets so I suppose there is even still a chance to catch a SWTH in the next hour or so.

The list (Oct 13-16):

Ruby-crowned Kinglet: 1B

Magnolia Warbler: 2B

Hooded Warbler: 1B

Common Yellowthroat: 4B

Red-eyed Vireo: 1B

Ovenbird: 1B

Veery: 1B

Wood Thrush: 1B

Gray Catbird: 2B

Brown Thrasher: 1C

Carolina Wren: 1R

Total: 14B, 1C, 1R

Running Season Total: 112B, 20C, 11R



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2 responses to “Dauphin Island-Update

  1. Weird!! My boss was just down in Honduras last week and the migrants has apparently just arrived, redstarts and the like, so they must have gone past you! Skipped the coast?

    • Yeah Cara. I don’t know. Still some Neotropical migrants around but the thrushes seems to have skipped the coast all together. I’m saddened.

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