Thursday, October 30, 2008

Does Morticia speak French?

Despite very good conditions - cold, moonless and calm most of the night - we had another very slow evening at the banding stations. King's Gap and Small Valley each got one local recap, while Hidden Valley had a single new bird. That one, at least, broke 100 for the season.

Aura Stauffer bestowed a radio on the King's Gap recap, an SY-F now named "Morticia," in keeping with the Halloween theme. (Whether she drives her mate crazy when she speaks French, I can't say.)

Yesterday, research tech Anna Fasoli was out checking on our other three beeping birds. She found Quasi in exactly the same pitch pine as the day before, though higher in the tree and apparently sitting in a nest-like cluster of branches...another example of a NSWO using an old nest or nest-like structure, something we're documenting for the first time with our telemetry work. Fairfield was about four-tenths of a mile north of her previous location, with lots of pellets on the ground to show she's used this tree before.

Autumn moved more than two miles to the ESE, somewhere between Hammond's Rocks and Mountain Creek Road -- Anna didn't have time to hike all the way in, but biangulated her location. Aura's heading out today to check all for owls, and will start with Autumn.

We found out that an foreign owl I caught at Hidden Valley on Oct. 19 was banded Jan. 16, 2008 in Charles City County near Richmond, VA, by one of Bob Reilly's crew. And we also got word that one of the two foreign birds we caught at Hidden Valley on Sunday night was banded Oct. 13, 2007 at Drumlin Farm Bird Sanctuary, a Massachusetts Audubon facility 15 miles west of Boston near Lincoln, MA. This is the second owl we've traded with Drumlin Farm this fall; they caught one of our fall '07 Small Valley birds last Thursday.

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