Date: 5/31/18 7:26 pm
From: Chris Rimmer <crimmer...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] Mansfield season underway
Last evening and this morning marked the beginning of VCE's 27th
consecutive field season studying the Mansfield ridgeline's breeding bird
population. I ventured up solo, arriving at 5:30 pm, to conditions that
were about as benign as they could possibly be up there: 68 degrees F, calm
and clear, with virtually no black flies. I set 8 mist nets and banded
until dark, hearing the first Bicknell's Thrush (BITH) call at 5:58. Vocal
activity was solid, with good numbers of the usual suspects, and 3 singing
Purple Finches, an unusually high number. The dusk chorus itself was
unimpressive, but a few BITH continued singing until 9:30, well after dark,
and I may have heard a flight song or two. Seven birds found their way into
the nets: 2 Swainson's Thrushes, 1 Am. Robin, 1 Yellow-rumped (Myrtle)
Warbler, 2 White-throated Sparrows, and a female Purple Finch with a
fully-developed incubation patch.

The wind came up overnight and was still brisk from the SW when I returned
at 4:15 am to open nets (adding one for a total of 9). Activity started
slowly, but picked up nicely and was steady until I closed nets at 10:00,
at which point wind had mostly dropped and the sun was hot. The undisputed
banding highlight was a pair of White-winged Crossbills in a net together
-- I had not seen or heard any to that point, so it was quite a surprise to
come upon them. I later heard a single bird calling, but they certainly are
not all over the ridgeline by any means.

The morning's banding totals:

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 1
Red-eyed Vireo 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1 (there were 2 males singing all morning around
the upper parking lot)
Bicknell's Thrush 4 2 newly-banded birds, 2 return females from
previous years (one banded in 2014, one in 2016)
American Robin 1 female with full incubation patch
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 5
Purple Finch 1
White-winged Crossbill 2 female with regressing brood patch; may not
have nested locally

View this checklist online at

I was struck by the complete absence of Winter Wrens (I didn't hear a
single bird sing, which is just about unprecedented), and near absence of
juncos (I finally heard one male sing). VCE will start our full operation
next week, with weekly overnight visits through July.

As always, it was rejuvenating to be back up there!



Chris Rimmer
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
PO Box 420 | Norwich, Vermont 05055
802.649.1431 x202

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