Back from the YOW, Part 3

Aug. 12: By the end of today I will be the only YOW left at Old Cut. This morning we opened the nets at 5:45 and they stayed open until noon. Today was the best day yet for migrants and larger birds. Canada Warblers, one Baltimore Oriole, one Brown Thrasher, one Northern Flicker, one Chestnut-sided Warbler, and one Blue-winged Warbler were some of the highlights of the banding this morning.

In the late afternoon after everyone had left, Ana and I went for a walk around Long Point Provincial Park. We walked along the beach where hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls were, then we went through the campsites where there was a Northern Mockingbird hopping on the ground. On our way back to Old Cut, we made a detour and walked through a wetland conservation area. While there, for about an hour, dozens of Common Grackles flew constantly over our heads, heading for their roost sites, and many Cedar Waxwing sat in trees gleaning insects.

Hatch-year male Canada Warbler,

Brown Thrasher,

You have to have a special license to band gnatcatchers because their legs are so small; in fact the smallest band LPBO has will fit right over a gnatcatcher leg. So if Blue-gray Gnatcatchers get caught in the LPBO nets, they are let go,

For banding all of the large birds and some of the migrants, we had our names drawn from a hat to see who would have the chance with the really neat birds. Unfortunately my name wasn’t chosen, so I didn’t get to band any of the really neat birds.

This Northern Flicker made quite a lot of noise while being handled,

This Chestnut-sided Warbler was molting its tail feathers so it didn’t have much of a tail,

Arguably the best catch of the day, a Blue-winged Warbler,

Aug. 13 (the last day): It was very different waking up in my bedroom without Katie and Saskia. Ana, Matt, and I opened the nets at 7 am and on the first net round we caught a bird that LPBO doesn’t catch much of in the fall — a male Hooded Warbler, and I got to band it! On our Big Day we saw a Hooded Warbler, but you get a whole new look at a bird in the hand.

Hooded Warbler,

Stu dropped me off at the airport in Hamilton at 5:15 pm and six hours later I was back in the Edmonton airport. My parents were waiting, and after a long drive we were home just after midnight.

I have never had so much fun at a camp or workshop before as I had at the YOW! It was very hard to leave Long Point, I made some great new friends, learned so much, and visited some beautiful places. I can’t wait to return to Long Point as an intern, volunteer, or just for a visit. I would especially like to be able to show my family Long Point.

I learned so much at the YOW from so many people — from censusing and banding birds, to making a study skin, to learning about molt patterns, aging, and sexing birds. At the beginning of the workshop, we each received a YOW participants reference guide, which is full of great reading material and wonderful information on banding.

I will never forget the great learning experiences, and the great fun I had at Long Point! Thank you to everyone at LPBO, Bird Studies Canada, and the Doug Tarry family!