Our 19th year studying high elevation birds on Mt. Mansfield
VCE's first foray of the season to our long-term study site on the Mt.
Mansfield ridgeline was productive, if wet. We arrived Thursday evening
to set up mist nets and worked through midday on Friday. Overall,
numbers of most montane forest species seem to be 'normal', though we
didn't conduct our annual counts, which will take place over the next
two weeks. Banding totals of our five
Bicknell's Thrush -- 12 (9 males, 3 females). Eight males and 1 female
were birds we had banded in previous years. We caught one male on which
we had placed a solar geolocator last summer
and it was still carrying the miniature backpack, which we removed to
retrieve its data. We placed new geolocators on that and 8 other
birds. We hope to recover a number of other geolocators on subsequent
visits this month and next. The dusk chorus on Thursday was impressive,
with several flight songs heard.
Swainson's Thrush -- 4 (2 males, 2 probable females). Numbers of
singing males were definitely higher on the ridgeline than in past
years, continuing a recent trend.
Hermit Thrush -- 1 female. Not a
it, as we're interested in documenting whether this species may be
moving upslope over time, as it appears to be in the Catskills of NY.
Blackpoll Warbler -- 11 (6 males, 5 females)
Yellow-rumped Warbler -- 8 (7 males, 1 female)
White-throated Sparrow -- 7 (all males)
No real surprises, but Winter Wren numbers were higher than expected, as
that species seems in generally lower abundance elsewhere, perhaps
following the severe winter throughout its southeastern U.S. winter
range(?). We heard 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets singing. A few Purple
Finches were in evidence, but no siskins or crossbills. Not a single
red squirrel seen or heard.
Very few black flies either, thanks mainly to the cool, wet weather.
It's still early up there....
Photo courtesy of Jim Block