Banding JAN 14: "Incredibly slow day" despite large flocks
Amber West writes (JAN 14):
Today was an incredibly slow day. We even stayed 30 minutes late to try to catch more birds since the flock had stayed in the area, with no luck.
We only caught two Rosy-finches today, 2 new Interior Gray-crowned. At least two flocks came in today. One flock of about 100 birds circled overhead while we were setting up, followed by a lull for over 2 and a half hours. Another flock of about 60 birds came in later, and there was another possible third flock of about 20 birds (this may have just been a smaller subgroup of the 60 bird flock). There was at least one Hepburn's.
The day was incredibly warm, starting at around 40 degrees. It was very clear as well, so with the big western windows it was very warm inside. Midweek we had rain in ABQ and snow in the Sandias, and evidence of that is still present. Areas of the road continue to have ice in shady areas near the top of the mountain. The parking lot itself is covered in ice, as is the way up to the Crest House, but about midday it is warm enough to be turning to slush. (I expect it will refreeze overnight.)
We had two groups up to see the banding - one was the group from University of Oklahoma that was out yesterday at RGNC (12 students and faculty), and a large group (~15-20) from Massachusetts Audubon. As well, we had several other birders. Given this large group of birders from primarily out of state and the complete lack of Rosy-finches for over 2 and a half hours, I eventually ended up catching some of the other montane species so that they could at least see some in hand - 1 ASY male Red-breasted Nuthatch, 1 ASY male White-breasted Nuthatch, and 1 SY Mountain Chickadee. The student group definitely appreciated seeing them.
A Cassin's Finch was also seen in the trees near the feeders, but did not go in the traps.