Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Oak Hammock Marsh Birding and Bird Banding

Birding has been pretty slow around here lately, with migration basically over and being busy with school. Two weeks ago we went to Oak Hammock Marsh for their bird banding they have every Friday. It was a really fantastic experience.

Warning: Lot's of pictures!!! I decided to make it all in one post.

First of all we walked around a bit, we didn't know where the bird banding station was. I saw two lifers right away, Black Tern and Lesser Scaup.
Black Tern

Black Tern
 There were a couple Blue-winged Teals swimming around. My brother got this picture.
Blue-winged Teal
 We figured out where the bird banding was, and stopped to take some pictures of the Purple Martins for a moment.

Here is a robin nest near one of the nets.
American Robin
 It was a very windy day and only two nets were up. When the wind blows the birds can see the nets, so they weren't expecting to catch anything that day. We were lucky though, we checked the nets and we found a bird! They took it to the banding shack and showed it for everyone to guess. I knew it was a flycatcher, I thought it was a Least Flycatcher. It ended up being a Traill's Flycatcher. For those who don't know, Traill's Flycatcher is either Alder Flycatcher or Willow Flycatcher. The two are physically impossible to tell them apart, so if you can't hear their call (you can tell them apart by their calls and songs) they group them into Traill's Flycatcher.
Triall's Flycatcher
Applying band

Triall's Flycatcher 

Weighing the bird
 We checked the nets every fifteen minutes or half and hour. The next time we checked the nets we got three birds, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Yellow Warbler, and guess who, the same Triall's Flycatcher again!
Yellow-headed Blackbird in net

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow Warbler in net.

The same Triall's Flycatcher
 There is a Barn Swallow nesting on the banding shack
Barn Swallow on nest
 The Yellow Warbler was a very bright coloured male.
Yellow Warbler
 A very handsome bird.
Yellow Warbler
 Here is the Yellow-headed Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird
 It had a very raggedy tail.
Yellow-headed Blackbird
 Close up!
Yellow-headed Blackbird
 The next round of checking the nets we caught a Brown-headed Cowbird.
Brown-headed Cowbird in bag

Brown-headed Cowbird
 Checking leg size
Brown-headed Cowbird
 Releasing it, almost the instant it was let out it was gone.
releasing Brown-headed Cowbird
 The banding ended at about ten, so we wandered the marsh awhile, looking for birds.
A pair of Lesser Scaups

Blue-winged Teal

Four Buffleheads and a Blue-winged Teal

Northern Shoveler


female Red-winged Blackbird
I was hoping to see some new shorebirds, and saw some we did!

Update: Thanks to Anonymous for correcting me, it is not a Marbled Godwit, but a Willet. Either way, it's a lifer!

Here's a Marbled Godwit Willet!, a lifer!
Marbled Godwit | Willet
 A couple pellies flew over.
American White Pelican

Marbled Godwit | Willet "Anyone home?"

Marbled Godwit | Willet
 We saw some coots along the reeds in the marsh also.
American Coots
 We saw a whole bunch of small shorebirds, we weren't sure what they were but I got some pictures and sent them to Christian Artuso afterwards. He responded and said they were a mix of Semipalmated Sandpipers and Baird's Sandpipers, and possibly one or two other! Both are lifers for me and I was pretty excited!
A flock of Baird's Sandpipers and Semipalmated Sandpipers.
 Up, up and away! It was really cool to see them fly, so many!

We saw a shorebird fly by, we weren't sure what it was but we thought it might be a Wilson's Snipe or something. Luckily I was able to snap a few pictures, we later identified it as a Wilson's Phalarope!! Also a lifer!!
Wilson's Phalarope
 There were many goslings following their mothers around, so cute!
"Follow the leader"
 We saw an immature Yellow-headed Blackbird before and after we banded it, though I don't think it is the same bird.
immature Yellow-headed Blackbird
 We got an Oak Hammock Marsh membership so we can go in the interpretive centre for free now! :D

On the roof of the interpretive centre I got some amazing pictures of a Barn Swallow

There is also a pair of geese nesting on the roof.

A Barn Swallow nesting on the side of the interpretive centre
Barn Swallow
 Time to go now... Awwww. But I had a great time! I got six new birds!!!! Lesser Scaup, Black Tern, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit and Wilson's Phalarope.

"Until next time! Happy birding!"


  1. Nice shots! It would be so cool to attend a banding.

    Btw, the marbled godwit is actually a Willet in breeding plumage. A godwit would thave a thinner, up-curved bill. Sorry. :( (unless Willet is also a lifer)

    1. I hope you can go banding sometime! It's really fun! :D

      Thanks so much! Yes, Willet is also a lifer! I also noticed that Marbled Godwit's bill is longer too. Thanks again!!

    2. Ok, if Willet is also a lifer then I don't feel bad. :-)