Date: 9/9/17 8:02 pm From: Bird Mom <pep4223...> Subject: Birds at the Monarch Alliance tagging event, Claymont historic mansion property - Jefferson County
Today, The Monarch Alliance, a program of the Potomac Valley Audubon Society, hosted a monarch butterfly tagging event for the public. The location was the wetland fields of the Claymont historic mansion a few miles south of Charles Town. The weather wasn't perfect for butterflies, but it was perfect for being outside enjoying nature. I have never seen the Claymont wetland look better than today. The fields were full of blooming New York Ironweed, Joe Pye Weed, Swamp and Common Milkweed, Jewel Weed and so much more. The 31 different bird species sightings were incidental, but we did pretty good with building a list without trying
Upon my arrival, Wood Ducks were swimming with Mallards in the wetland. A Green Heron flew by, vocalizing on the flight. Two Belted Kingfisher females rattled for at least one hour while we were working. One of the most impressive bird sightings was a large flock of about 250 Tree Swallows that lined up for us on the powerlines near the wetland. We would occasionally see them flying in a tight circle high above us feeding on insects. Then a moment later, they were gone. When they were high overhead, they looked to me like numerous Monarch butterflies dancing in the sky at the Mexico Monarch sanctuaries.
We saw 5 or 6 monarchs total, which doesn't sound like alot, but is a good indication that the population is not like it used to be, even in the best habitat. We had not mastered catching them in nets, so only tagged one. It was a great learning day, as we identified as many flowers, butterflies, birds and plants as we could. We found a number of monarch caterpillars in the last instar, so were hopeful that in a few weeks, more would be heading to Mexico.
Our bird list follows:
Wood Duck 7 Mallard (Northern) 7 Green Heron 1 Turkey Vulture (Northern) 10 Red-shouldered Hawk (lineatus Group) 1 Mourning Dove (Mainland) 2 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1 Belted Kingfisher 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 Downy Woodpecker (Eastern) 1 Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee 2 Eastern Phoebe 2 Warbling Vireo (Eastern) 1 Blue Jay 6 Fish Crow 1 Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Northern) 6 Tree Swallow 250 large flock feeding in wetland Carolina Chickadee 2 White-breasted Nuthatch (Eastern) 1 Carolina Wren (Northern) 3 Eastern Bluebird (Eastern) 1 American Robin (migratorius Group) 5 Gray Catbird 1 Northern Mockingbird 1 Cedar Waxwing 3 Chipping Sparrow 2 Eastern Towhee (Red-eyed) 1 Northern Cardinal (Common) 5 Common Grackle (Bronzed) 150 flyover flock American Goldfinch 5