Migration Report II--2015

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John Barrow
Posts: 953
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 4:12 pm
Location: Corpus Christi / Sandia , Texas

A lot of birds are migrating into S. Texas right now. For several weeks we have watched kettles of hawks and kites flying overhead. Those raptors do not cross the Gulf, but rely on heat thermals to carry them from S. America places farther North, utilizing as little wing movement as possible.

Late yesterday afternoon I did a nest check on my martin systems. Looking overhead I saw several large kettles of MS Kites migrating northward-several hundred for sure in 3-4 kettles.

Later, as darkness approached, I saw some of my older birds leave the housing and fly up to intercept groups of incoming migrant purple martins. Most likely the newcomers are SY birds. From my small slice of earth along the Texas coast, I estimate that the number of SY arrivals was between 150-200. They literally filled my view of thee sky, and returning ASY birds were typically followed to our systems by 10-12 new arrivals.

Tonight with the arrival of strong north winds, the late evening show repeated itself. Several hundred new arrivals filled the sky--most targeting our systems as a stopping point. With nesting in progress local birds will try to lead most of these arrivals to a nearby tree to roost or a vacant housing system t settle down near (looks like about 20 chose the oak tree adjoining my property).

I mentor at least a dozen landlords in this area--all are capable of attracting to their sites what I have witnessed tonight. The same is true for contacts I know up the Texas coast and in to LA. What I have observed signifies a large General Arrival, with a high percentage of the SY population entering the USA in advance of, and with the occurrence of the passing frontal system.
This is the heaviest arrival of SY birds I have witnessed to date, indicating that general migration is still running about two weeks behind, and with the opportunity to extend huge arrivals into USA for the next two weeks, before migration begins to taper off.

Still lots of time left for those seeking martins. I would say when these birds arrive mid continent in 3-5 days, *Halftime* will have been reached in Missouri.
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~~TEAMED WITH A MARTIN GODDESS~~

Member/Mentor-PMCA. I do regular nestchecks and participate in PROJECT MARTINWATCH!! Coordinated 3 geolocator studies-2009, 2010 & 2013. State and Fed licensed bander (retired Jan., 2020)
M.Stephens
Posts: 1130
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:14 pm
Location: Texas/Texarkana

John,
Thanks for the update on the SY migration. I've witnessed myself several chimney swifts one evening last week migrating through. Tonight I had two large flocks of barn swallows migrating north. I have seen several flocks of SY's migrating through all of this month of April. Several of them stay several of them move on. I think those seeking still have time to get martins too.
Malcolm
2015 (110 nesting pair)
2014 (92 nesting pair)
2013 (75 nesting pair)
2012 (35 nesting pair)
2011 (20 pair)
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PMCA Member
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

so interesting John, thankyou for posting this. Our adult Martins should be moving through your area about now, it ussualy takes them about 7 to 10 days to arrive in Alberta are you seeing them?
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
ToyinPA
Posts: 2153
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

Thanks for the update. I'd be jawstruct & have major neck pain if I lived in the major migration path, lol.

Here in central PA I have gotten ASY's males into 2nd week of May. ASY Females end of May & SY's end of June, so there's plenty of time for us up north.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

This is good news for all! Thanks for the update! Keeps everyone to still have faith! :grin:
Sharon from southern Illinois
patw
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:40 am
Location: NJ/Farmingdale

Thanks for the update, maybe I'll calm down now and stop staring at the gourd racks.



pat
2013 1 pair 4 fledged
2014 4 pair 17 fledged
2015 10 pair 44 fledged
2016 22 pair 95 eggs-most fledged
Chuck4
Posts: 861
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 10:05 am
Location: North MS
Martin Colony History: I started trying to attract Purple Martins in 2011. I got my first breeding pair in 2013.

2013-1 pair, 2014-4 pair, 2015-8 pair, 2016-12 pair 60 babies :-).

Hi John,

Thanks for the update! I really enjoy reading your reports. Swallow and swift numbers (based on my aerial observations) seem to be getting very close to normal now in my area. I look forward to the arrival of the MS kites too. I have not yet seen any night hawks flying around.
PMCA Member
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John Barrow
Posts: 953
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 4:12 pm
Location: Corpus Christi / Sandia , Texas

Bob Buskas,
It is the time for Alberta birds to be arriving and heading north. We have had pretty consistent arrivals of ASY birds during the last month, and I expect that trend to continue for older birds heading to the far North regions. But those arrivals will be overshadowed by arrivals of the much larger SY class. The best news is that weather has stabilized this week. During the past two months I have had close to 20 inches of rain at my Sandia site west of town. These storms have been heavy and turbulent and challenging for migrants. Despite the strong frontal system that brought strong north winds yesterday, we are seeing clear skies with winds diminishing rapidly. Birds should be moving out steadily and quickly this afternoon and tomorrow morning.

In 2013, we had severe storms in April and May that stalled migration at the Coast. The disruption caused by so many migrants hanging around during a peak incubation period of local birds resulted in a nearly 100 egg loss. Many ASYs renested and the season extended well into July that year.

One of the interesting side notes of that period was the stall out of an ASY martin that was outfitted with a geolocator at Ellis Bird Farm in Alberta. The bird, named Marco polo, was captured upon return to Ellis and its geolocator showed the bird's presence near Corpus Christi for a six day period. Seldom have we seen ASY birds carrying geolocators stop for an extended period during spring migration. Marco Polo traveled from S. America to Alberta in 23 days, despite the 6 day layover.

I was asked to compare my records of migratory shutdown due to weather events during that time frame, and I did have records of sighting a large group of migrants trying to fight strong north winds--with little success. it is very possible that Marco Polo was part of the group that I observed, or part of a group that was occupying our systems and/or landing on an adjacent school yard for lengthy daytime periods, seeking heat from the ground.

The Marco Polo layover near Corpus Christi was May 1-6, 2013, which is right about where we are now. Should be clear and fast sailing this week.

Link to Marco Polo story (maps are also available at website for Ellis Bird Farm:
http://www.ellisbirdfarm.ca/wp-content/ ... ry-PDF.pdf
~~TEAMED WITH A MARTIN GODDESS~~

Member/Mentor-PMCA. I do regular nestchecks and participate in PROJECT MARTINWATCH!! Coordinated 3 geolocator studies-2009, 2010 & 2013. State and Fed licensed bander (retired Jan., 2020)
phldave
Posts: 518
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Iowa/Pleasant Hill
Martin Colony History: Started trying in 2012 and still trying

Thank You John, I just wanted to make sure you were aware of how much we wannabe landlords appreciate these reports from you folks. Sounds like we need to be at a fevers pitch right now as far as practicing all the attraction methods. Decoys, dawnsong, smeared mud, attack the S&S with a vengence, green leaves, fake eggs in the nest, mirrors, did I leave anything out? Thanks again.

Dave
2012 late start
2013 nothing yet, lots a lookers
2014 Bust again
2015 Bust again
2016 Bust again
2017 Bust again
2018 April 14 a group joined me, but moved on after a week
2019 Had SY male seriously check me out but didn't stay
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

Wow Dave your doing all that? Good for your enthusiasm! Mine has dwindled to no decoys! And only playing dawn song from 4-6 in morning! I have prenest and smeared mudd! The best for us wannbe's should be coming! May 6th was my magic no. Last yr. I'm going to crawl in a hole until next spring if I fail this yr. maybe I will become friends with that dang groundhog! :lol:
Sharon from southern Illinois
avesrun
Posts: 1120
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:10 pm
Location: Iowa/West Des Moines
Martin Colony History: Home Site: 2017- 0
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
Satellite Site: 2017 (3rd season)
34 pair
Fledged- 102

Lol Sharon! Curious why you've shunned the decoys. I've actually wanted to take mine down to but can't say why! I think it's because I'm way sick and tired of looking at the houses and seeing nothing but their dry and stoic image. I've also had zero hawks key on them that I've witnessed. They're also taking up perch space and two cavities. Anyway keep the faith and I continue to rely on the power of prayer for all deserving wannabes.
TimG
PMCA Member
Home Site: 2012-15 visitors
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
2017-18 Zero
2019- 3 Successful Pr
2020- 21pr, fledged 76
Satellite Site: 2014 - visitors
2015 - 2 pair fledged 9
2016 - 13 pair fledged 44
2017 - 31 pair fledged 118
2018 - 44 pair 163 fledged
2019- 49 pr 219 fledged
2020- 47 pr 209 fledged
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6210
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Neat video taken today on the Texas coast - these birds were in the road due to cold temps which left the asphalt the warmest place to be. The martins look so huge next to the smaller Cliff or Cave Swallows! Hopefully any traffic took it slow. Here in Corpus Christi some of our martins were in the street this AM, overnight temp was in high 50s, and daytime temps got into 70s, providing some good feeding weather for our friends. It was doubtless cooler up the coast at location of video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJ1EGgZ ... ture=share
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

I know we are changing the subject for John's migration info. Maybe he won't mind a little wannabe session!
I feel they haven't accomplished a darn thing for me! So in the drawer they go! Same as the cd, ba humbug, done with that except for in morning! Tim I'm just letting go and letting GOD! It will happen when we least expect it! Good luck! Keep praying! :grin:
Sharon from southern Illinois
avesrun
Posts: 1120
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:10 pm
Location: Iowa/West Des Moines
Martin Colony History: Home Site: 2017- 0
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
Satellite Site: 2017 (3rd season)
34 pair
Fledged- 102

Love it ; thanks LC. So migrating Martins do "hang" somewhat with other swallow species? Do they make flights of any significant length together with other swallow species.

Anahuac NWR is a very special place; saw my life bird Yellow Rail there!
I'm thinking you're also quite familiar with High Island.
TimG
PMCA Member
Home Site: 2012-15 visitors
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
2017-18 Zero
2019- 3 Successful Pr
2020- 21pr, fledged 76
Satellite Site: 2014 - visitors
2015 - 2 pair fledged 9
2016 - 13 pair fledged 44
2017 - 31 pair fledged 118
2018 - 44 pair 163 fledged
2019- 49 pr 219 fledged
2020- 47 pr 209 fledged
avesrun
Posts: 1120
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:10 pm
Location: Iowa/West Des Moines
Martin Colony History: Home Site: 2017- 0
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
Satellite Site: 2017 (3rd season)
34 pair
Fledged- 102

What Sharon said; Yes Sorry John for somewhat of a thread hijack! Back to things concerning pm migration by all means!
PMCA Member
Home Site: 2012-15 visitors
2016 - 1st pair, fledged 5
2017-18 Zero
2019- 3 Successful Pr
2020- 21pr, fledged 76
Satellite Site: 2014 - visitors
2015 - 2 pair fledged 9
2016 - 13 pair fledged 44
2017 - 31 pair fledged 118
2018 - 44 pair 163 fledged
2019- 49 pr 219 fledged
2020- 47 pr 209 fledged
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

Thank You, John B. ! I was just about to make a post that, this Season has to be the one with the MOST SYs I've EVER HAD ! They're like Mosquitos ! :wink: Well, I wish! But REALLY ! I have more SYs this season than any other ! I Love it ! But part of me is STILL sadden that there have been so many ASYs lost to the cold weather. But, like one of my Favorite Lines from a movie (Jurassic Park), Jeff Goldblum's character says "Nature Finds A Way " Thanks again, John
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

That's what we like hearing about this migration Anthony! We need more SY's than ever! Maybe if we have several good years of hatching we can get these new colonies started! Thanks and good luck! :grin:
Sharon from southern Illinois
Bob Buskas
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 8:08 pm
Location: Wetaskiwin Alberta, Canada

Thanks John for your detailed report, yes it has been interesting following Marco Polo. From what I have heard from the Ellis Bird farm, Marco was refitted with a second Geo locator and to my knowledge it was recovered in 2014. Still waiting for Kevin to present us with that info this summer. Can't wait. For the record, I had my first ASY female show up at my colony today, so our season here is just beginning. She looked in good shape, and just came 3 days after a late spring snow dropped 2 feet of the white stuff here. Fortunately it quickly all melted and spring should finally be here. Our big peak arrival time here in western Canada is Mothers Day on May 10th. Nice to hear from our friends in Texas looking after our Martins along their long Migration.
Bob Buskas, Alberta, Canada (The Northern Sky's Colony) Supplimental feeding is the key during bad weather, but you must train them to feed ahead of time.
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

Thanks Sharon, I've been telling some bully youngsters to burn off that energy by flying up north to you guys ! :wink:
PMCA Member, 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals + Tunnels, & 2 S&K Bo 11"s WITH Troyer Porches ! 4 MPPs, For 2019 Season !! :grin: Started in 1992 from Older '50-'60s Colonies.
John Barrow
Posts: 953
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 4:12 pm
Location: Corpus Christi / Sandia , Texas

Bob,
Marco Polo did a second trip with a geolocator, and that map is on the Ellis Bird Farm site. In fact, a nest camera fed into Ellis Farm visitor center covered his nesting cycle during the season his first geolocator was removed (2013). The second geolocator was recovered in 2014.

Far a long time I have been aware of, and admired, the work you do to spread martin fever in Alberta. We have discussed before that some of those Alberta birds might pass through Corpus Christi, and are fed along the way.

It was a thrill for me to see Marco Polo's first map and know he was so close. I would have liked to have seen him along the way--perhaps I did--but identifying a passing geolocator bird would be harder than finding the needle in the haystack.

None the less, sharing information about migration stalls at that time in 2013, I could not help but think of you and to believe some of those birds were headed your way. Marco Polo confirmed our suspicions.

Wishing you a great summer in the land up yonder.

Friends in Texas

Marco Polo's second trip story and map:

http://www.ellisbirdfarm.ca/wp-content/ ... F-Yr-2.pdf

http://www.ellisbirdfarm.ca/wp-content/ ... o-Polo.pdf
~~TEAMED WITH A MARTIN GODDESS~~

Member/Mentor-PMCA. I do regular nestchecks and participate in PROJECT MARTINWATCH!! Coordinated 3 geolocator studies-2009, 2010 & 2013. State and Fed licensed bander (retired Jan., 2020)
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