Yellow-bellied Invasion – PSU Fall Banding

Alex LamoreauxBanding, Bird Sightings, Migration, Science1 Comment

After a week’s worth of warm weather, the cold front moving through also brought an incredible push of migrants across the Northeast. I was very excited to get out this morning and try to catch some birds, hoping Big Hollow would be full of migrants. As I was walking to the banding site I could hear (and sometimes see) warblers zipping from one hedgerow to the next….two Magnolia Warblers, a Northern Waterthrush, and 5 or so warbler sp. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were scattered around the area, squeaking loudly to each other. Once I got up to the banding pavilion, a half-dead apple tree nearby was loaded with Gray Catbirds and Indigo Buntings. Throughout the morning various warblers were flitting around between them, highlighted by 2 Cape May Warblers and 1 Tennessee.

Nate Fronk and Margaret Brittingham were leading a morning bird walk through Big Hollow while we were bird banding, and they also ran in to quite a few migrants including a few other warblers species that I didn’t see as well as 1 Philadelphia Vireo. Of all the exciting birds around this morning, I think the species everyone was most happy to see was Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Now that most eBird lists have been entered for the morning, it seems that there were at least 6 individual Yellow-bellied Flycatchers seen in Big Hollow alone! Plus a few other reports from nearby birding hotspots makes for as much of an ‘invasion’ of Yellow-bellies as you can get around here! Needless to say, it wasn’t too surprising (but very much appreciated) that the first bird I took out of the mist nets was a juvenile Yellow-bellied Flycatcher…..later in the morning, another was captured.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - juvenile (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher – juvenile (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - juvenile (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher – juvenile (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - juvenile (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher – juvenile (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - juvenile (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher – juvenile (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Other birds banding this morning included 1 Red-eyed Vireo, 1 Blue Jay, 1 Swainson’s Thrush, 1 Wood Thrush, 1 Brown Thrasher, 2 Cedar Waxwings, 1 Hooded Warbler, 2 Magnolia Warblers, 1 Chestnut-sided Warbler, 1 Eastern Towhee, 1 House Finch, and 26 Gray Catbirds (my pants are covered in purple catbird poop). We also had a recapture Northern Cardinal from April 2013. Towards the end of banding this morning, Ian Gardner called me to say there was a hummingbird in one of the nets, so I ran over to get it out. We don’t have permits to band hummingbirds at our site, but I took it back to the pavilion to show some young kids that were there before releasing it.