Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Mt. Mansfield Round 4
VCE's 4th field visit to our long-term Mt. Mansfield ridgeline study site on Monday night and Tuesday morning featured weather that couldn't have been more perfect - clear, calm, and cool. A far cry from our first trip there 3 weeks ago, when we were hampered by howling winds, swirling clouds and temperatures in the mid-30s F. Avian activity was surprisingly slow and quiet, probably because most species are in the midst of incubation, so vocalizing and general movements are lower. We ran 28 mist nets and captured only 20 individuals of our 5 target species, including 6 Bicknell's Thrushes, one of which relinquished the solar geolocator we had attached last June. There are lots of yearling birds on the mountain, a result of last year's productive breeding season thanks to low red squirrel numbers, which is again the case this summer. We have yet to observe a squirrel on Mansfield in 2011.
Notable encounters were a Peregrine Falcon over the ridgeline, a female Yellow-belled Sapsucker in our nets, 2 singing Ruby-crowned Kinglets and a mist-netted female with a full incubation patch, and a singing Black-throated Green Warbler.
We expect activity to pick up again over the next 2 weeks, as young hatch, parents move more widely to forage for them, and males reinvigorate their singing. We're still hopeful of recovering more of the 18 geolocators that we attached to Bicknell's Thrushes a year ago, although we're pleased to have at least 2 back!