September 16th – September 25th
The last week had been very busy for “Myrtle” Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers and mixed flocks of Sparrows. The White-throated Sparrows continue to grow in numbers as do the White-crowned “Gambel’s” Sparrows, Lincoln’s and Slate-colored Juncos. We’ve caught the most Swamp Sparrows we have of any year and we banded our first Marsh Wren! The Sharp-shinned Hawks are migrating with the “Myrtles” and we continue to catch juvenile males in the nets. The weather is getting calmer with fewer windy days and the afternoons, as a general rule, are as busy as the mornings. The leaves on the Balsam Poplars have mostly fallen and the Trembling Aspen are turning yellow from the ground up. Soon there will be little cover at the station.
CHIP FMM: September 8th –September 15th
By the second week of September bird activity picked up; we had mixed Sparrow flocks moving through and large flocks of Yellow-rumped Warblers. The Sparrow groups mainly consisted of Lincoln’s Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows and the newly arrived White-throated Sparrows. Chipping sparrow and Clay-colored sparrow numbers seemed to increase and we saw large groups of Chippings in the Spruce trees on our census walks. Pine Siskins and White-winged crossbills returned to the station in large numbers but the Red crossbills seem to have moved on to another area. The leaves on the Balsam Poplars were beginning to turn and fall, the winds in the park continued to pick up and we had a few cold fronts move through bringing large groups of “Myrtle” Warblers to the station. We had mornings that we caught more than 50 birds before 10am. The “Myrtle” Warblers are very vocal and their numbers continued to grow throughout the week. We saw and banded quite a few Orange-crowned warblers and Wilson’s Warblers but rarely caught Yellow Warblers. The Common Yellowthroats remain at the station and seem to enjoy the marshy area in the yellowing Cat tails. We stopped seeing the high numbers of raptors but the Red-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees and Kinglet groups remain in the area. The Red-breasted Nuthatch numbers at the station seem very high; some days we saw more than 50 of the birds creeping all over the Spruce trees. We saw another movement of Ovenbirds at the station mid week but didn’t band any of the birds. In the afternoons we had a burst of hundreds of these small, black flies with long, narrow bodies and dainty wings. There were also large numbers of butterflies in the afternoon if the winds weren’t too high. The winds at the station this past week were both strong (over 30km per hours) and variable in their origin. To make matters worse, there were multiple fires in the park in both provinces. The haze from the fires could be seen through the town site most of the evening. The large flock of White-winged Scoters that we had on the lake for a few weeks dwindled but was slowly replaced with a flock of Buffleheads. There are still resident Red-necked Grebes on the water with their streaky faced juveniles and we saw a few Pied-billed Grebes around as well.
CHIP FMM: September 1st – 7th
The weather started changing drastically in the beginning of September. Cypress Hills rarely got days over 25 degrees and the winds began to pick up. In the first week of September bird activity was at its lowest of the summer. We had multiple days of less than ten birds banded. We had a couple of highlights; we caught an AHY American Redstart male, a beautiful bird that we hadn’t seen many of since August; we caught a small male Sharp-shinned hawk; a Canada Warbler, a rare bird for this area; and we began to catch an increasing number of Wilson’s Warblers. We stopped seeing Yellow Warblers and have only caught a few since the beginning of the month. The number of Raptors seen in the park in the first week of September was pretty amazing. We saw Merlins, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, Cooper’s Hawks and Osprey on a regular basis. We also saw many Robins, Gray Catbirds, White-crowned Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches. We began to catch a few Yellow-rumped Warblers, the Cedar Waxwings are decreasing in numbers and we no longer saw Eastern Kingbirds. Migration is at the beginning of the end.