[Tweeters] Road Trip with birds, including a few lifers

jbroadus at seanet.com jbroadus at seanet.com
Fri Sep 20 14:19:32 PDT 2013

Clarice and I just returned from a road trip in our camper van, 3950 miles from Puyallup through Pendleton
to Salt Lake (Bear River Refuge and Antelope Island); then south to Bryce Canyon (met an old friend from
Philly there) and Kodachrome Basin; then south to Ramsey Canyon at Sierra Vista, where we spent 4 days.
Attended the Western Bird Banders conference and thrilled to clouds of hummingbirds tanking up before
heading out. Then west to King's Canyon, then north home.

Hummers: Violet Crowned, Magnificent, Blue Throated, Rufous/Allens (I don't pretend to be able to tell the
difference on the wing, but in the the hand can get a pretty good idea from the rectrices), Anna's, Black
Chinned, Broad Billed, Broad Tailed, Lucifer, and my one "lifer" hummer for the southwest, a female Plain
Capped Starthroat.

Conference was a kick. One day learning from a passerine banding operation using nets on pulleys that
could be raised to 30 feet. Also a very informative session on hummingbird banding. Hummingbird sized
leg gage? Need a super precise laser cutter to make one, as the difference in diameter between adjacent
sized bands is about the same as a human hair. Was well lectured about the importance of precision in
measuring for these bands, as there have been a few instances where a loose fitting band has slipped up to
the muscled part of the leg. Heads Up to all you hummer banders: evidence is now showing that Rufous,
during their long migration, (apparently especially the females) experience a significant swelling of the
diameter of their legs at the tarsi as they move north. Would like to know if the same happens to other long
fliers like Ruby Throated.

Paper sessions included ageing by eye color, statistics on censusing via MAPS protocol vs. transect survey
techniques, and a look at European banding operations using giant funnels to catch the birds as they fly
over ridge lines. There the baggers separate out the birds by species and each bander only works on one
species, and is expected to age, sex, measure, band and release each bird in 8 seconds.

Other lifers: two pretty common ones that we just had never seen, Arizona Woodpecker (also had never
seen it as Strickland's) and Mexican Jay. But best was the Sinaloa Wren at Fort Huachuca; gave us long
and close views.

Otherwise, thousands (easily) of Wilson's Phalaropes on Great Salt Lake, hundreds of Snowy Egrets at
Bear River, and a Nuttall's Woodpecker in California (used Bird's Eye App to find this one, as it was at a city
park where we stopped for lunch and a birding walk). A bull bison on Antelope Island scratching his chin on
a picnic table, then the same for his but on the Sani-Can (glad I wasn't in there at the time).Jerry Broadus
PLS 17660

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