East CE block on 8/4/19. There were 14 blackbirds sitting in a tree next to the marsh. I thought they were all females or young red-wings but I didn't look very closely st those brown, streaky, poorly lit birds, tallying them as age and sex unknown. I thought it was odd that there were no males in the entire bunch. They were not vocalizing. I never thought of bobolinks in a marsh. I can't turn back the clock but I can learn for the next such siting. Would an unstreaked belly and unmarked back of the head be appropriate field marks for bobolinks? I wasn't close enough to see bill color. The silhouettes might show a shorter tail but I can't tell for certain from my field guides. I know they are smaller than a red-wing but the 2 species need to be near each other for that characteristic to be applied. Pam SkaarMadison
On Monday, August 26, 2019, 4:22:31 PM CDT, Thomas Erdman <ErdT4...> wrote:
Robert, I agree with your assessment on bobolinks. Back in late August, 1966 or 67, I was banding passerines on Pt. Sable on Green Bay. I use to get out there after dark on Friday nights and get my nets set up for dawn the next day. Well one Saturday morning at dawn, I was amazed to see thousands of Bobolinks sitting on the tops of every cattail in a large enclosed marsh. As you indicated it seemed like mostly all were females until I found a few molting males. This was and still is the most Bobolinks I've ever seen at one time.
On several occasions In late May 1976 while banding shorebirds at dawn in Atkinson Marsh at the lower end of Green Bay we witnessed large flocks of several hundred birds coming south off the bay to drop down into the surrounding marsh. This reverse migration, I assumed were birds that were caught over water as dawn approached and retreated to a large coastal marsh for the day.
Tom Erdman, Oconto, WI
-----Original Message----- From: <wisbirdn-bounce...> <wisbirdn-bounce...> On Behalf Of Daniel Edelstein Sent: Monday, August 26, 2019 10:15 AM To: <wisbirdn...> Subject: [wisb] Comment Regarding: Bobolink Dispersal & Migration
> > From: ROBERT SPAHN <rspahn...> > Subject: Bobolinks > Date: August 24, 2019 at 6:05:24 AM PDT > To: <danieledelstein...> > > Hi Daniel, > Interesting observations and questions. > I have lived for a considerable time (50 years+) in upstate NY, but > grew up in E. Iowa with a family cottage in N. Wisconsin and get back > there virtually every year. For the past 5 years I have made sure my visits coincided with the peak of "confirmation" season for the WI BBA II project = most of July. In NY, I have been writing local monthly summaries and writing or editing quarterly regional reports for our state birding journal, The Kingbird, for 40+ years. > > Bobolinks are interesting and much of their behavior matches what you > have observed and read. After breeding, the Bobolinks here in NY > (we're about the latitude of the lower middle of WI in the Rochester > area) move to the big fresh water marshes, like Montezuma NWR, the Iroquois NWR complex, and the ends of the Finger Lakes. This move can start by early July and the interquartile range (= 50% of the time over the years) of their departure date distribution is September 2-11, with the last seen earlier 25% of the time and later 25% of the time.
> It is not particularly unusual to have individuals still found in the > marshes as late as mid-October. We have had a fun, big-day, money > raising event in the Montezuma area for 23 years now on a Friday evening to Saturday evening in mid-September. We always have Bobolinks in the marshes then, often in substantial numbers.
> Looking to your comment about only seeing females, I'd say don't > be so sure. Since the males are into molting into a plumage that looks very like the females and the young of the year look like females, it really is not clear that you are not seeing a mix, certainly by well into August males may be hard to ID as such. > > Best regards, > Bob Spahn