When I woke up this morning, it was 36 degrees in State College. I knew Big Hollow (where our banding station is) would be very cold and that it would be a while before the sun could get down into the hollow and warm things up a bit. We started off the first few net checks with catbirds, towhees, and a Wood Thrush but as the morning went on, we began catching more exciting species. The first was an adult male Magnolia Warbler. In the photos below look for the black specks over the green on its upper back and the large, white patches in its tail as clues for telling this is an adult male.
The same net check produced this adult female American Redstart as well, giving a nice comparison of the two warbler species with a black-tipped tail. This was the first redstart we have captured this fall.
The most exciting catch this morning was our first Blackpoll Warbler of the season, a juvenile that we caught on the last net check before taking the mist nets down for the day. Check out the very long wings on this species, perfectly adapted for their long-distance migration – farther than any other warbler species.
In addition to the birds mentioned above, we also captured 1 Downy Woodpecker, 1 Wood Thrush, 20 Gray Catbirds (3 of them were recaps and also we have now captured 102 catbirds this fall), 5 Eastern Towhees (2 of them recaps), and our first White-throated Sparrow of the fall (and actually the first I had even seen so far this fall).