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Sommer Park Preserve, Hopewell, New Jersey
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Breeding Season 2005
Hannah Suthers

Paucity of rain and record heat impacted the breeding season. ATVs fractured the largest vernal puddle on Featherbed Lane so that it drained, and the other four also dried by mid June, stranding thousands of wood frog tadpoles and salamander larvae. The vernal pool under study had water throughout, and attracted birds and other wildlife. Insects requiring water in their life cycle were fewer in number. Ground cover was wilted by June, and the drought-resistant, invasive stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum) overgrew. Fledglings were few and late, but multi-brooded species still had subsequent broods. The ground-nesting Ovenbirds were hard hit, with only 8 young banded, compared to 14 last year and 27 in 2003. The feral cat persists and a fox has moved in. The ground-nesting Towhees were also hard hit. Breeding species totaled 63, of which 24 were Neotropical, 17 temporate migrants and 22 resident. Highlights of singing male census and banding are as follows:

Wild Turkeypoult found dead mid June
Cooper's HawkAug 14 flythrough
Red-tailed Hawk2 pairs throughout
Eastern Screech Owlpair heard throughout
Great-horned Owl2 pairs
Yellow-billed Cuckoo3 pairs heard throughout
Hairy Woodpeckerwith two fledglings June 20
Pileated Woodpecker1 pair, possibly 2, seen throughout
Ruby-throated Hummingbird2 pairs
Great-crested Flycatcher6 pairs
Eastern Wood Pewee6 pairs
Willow Flycatcher1 pair
Eastern Phoebe2, banded fledgling and breeding female July 24
Baltimore Oriole13 pairs
House Finchonly 3 pairs
Field Sparrow3 pairs, banded female July 10
Rose-breasted Grosbeak15 pairs, banded male June 5, fledgling June 12, female July 10, hatch-year July 24
Indigo Bunting2 pairs, banded female July 3
Scarlet Tanager7 pairs
Barn Swallow5 pairs had 20 fledglings
Tree Swallowseen on 24 July
Red-eyed Vireo11 pairs, banded family July 24
Yellow-throated Vireo5 pairs
Black-and-white Warbler2 pairs, banded hatch-year Aug 28
Blue-winged Warbler10 pairs, banded 3 males, 2 females, 2 fledglings
Yellow Warbleronly 2 pairs
Common Yellowthroat28 pairs, banded adults and young
American Redstart1 pair, banded hatch-year Aug 7
Hooded Warblerbanded breeding male July 3, hatch-year male July 24
Gray Catbird59 pairs, banded adults and young
Hybrid Chickadee1, banded breeding female July 3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher1 pair
Gray Catbird59 pairs, banded adults and young
Wood Thrush29 pairs, banded adults and young
Veery13 pairs, banded adults and young
American Robin39 pairs (increasing), banded adults and young
Eastern Bluebird1 pair, small flock 24 July
Worm-eating Warblerseen Aug 28
Early Migrants:
Yellow-bellied Flycatcherbanded Aug 28
Black-throated Blue Warblerbanded Aug 28
Black-throated Green Warblerseen Aug 28
Canada Warblerseen Aug 14, banded Aug 28
Magnolia Warblerbanded Aug 28

The first fall migrant, a Northern Waterthrush, was banded on 3 August. By 8 August adult birds were gone except for multibrooded Catbirds and Robins. Migrant Chestnut-sided Warbler and American Redstarts were banded. A Hooded Warbler was banded on 15 August and an accipiter sighted. On August 22, in addition to the above mentioned species, Alder Flycatcher, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, and Canada Warblers were banded. On August 29 the first Magnolia Warbler was banded.

Hannah Suthers and the Featherbed Lane Banding Station Crew  

Last revision: Friday, April 25, 2008