Rain, Wind, Herps…and some Birds

By Dana Ripper

Brittney Woody bands her first passerine, a
Hermit Thrush. Congratulations, Ny. 

This last week has been eventful and interesting.  We’ve been rained or winded out of operating the Grand Pass banding station for a few days, but that hasn’t stopped the activity level around here.
A rather slow week capture-wise culminated in an influx of Hermit Thrushes that arrived on Thursday morning; we caught 5 before having to close nets due to wind, which was disappointing since the area seemed filled with Thrushes.

Ethan talks to students about avian acoustics, demonstrating
the use of the Autonomous Recording Unit that had been
deployed for marsh birds at Duck Creek CA. 

A long drive in the pouring rain on Friday afternoon took Ethan, Brittney, Steph, and me down to Duck Creek Conservation Area to attend the Midwest Conclave of The Wildlife Society.  This was an extremely fun event organized by the students of the University of Central Missouri (Warrensburg).  MRBO put on a banding demonstration and discussion of acoustics research for about 30 students.  Saturday morning started with a big run of White-throated Sparrows right at dawn, followed by a slower pace but higher diversity between 8 and 11 a.m.: Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Indigo Bunting, Common Yellowthroat, and Field and Swamp Sparrows.

Ny with a milk snake

The Wildlife Society students were delightful to talk with, and we were able to see some reptiles and amphibians courtesy of another workshop led by Duck Creek manager Matt Bowyer and biologist Keith Cordell.  We got to see mud turtles, sirens, and several species of frogs and snakes.  Heading home on Saturday afternoon, we were on turtle patrol – rescuing a large red-eared slider and a medium-sized snapping turtle from almost-certain death on the highways.

Steph and Ny rescue a snapping turtle about to
cross highway AC near Dutchtown, MO. 

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