Monthly Archives: November 2015


There appears to be rain going but more coming and rain to the north of us.  I don’t think that I will be at the banding station tonight … or probably until possibly Wednesday.   Check back at that time.

Clair Mellinger

Two more owls under a full moon

We banded two more Northern Saw-whet Owls (this is their full God-given name) last evening.  There was a beautiful full moon but the owls seemed pretty normal although one of them did bite me.  Some banders claim that you won’t catch many owls under a full moon and we didn’t.  However we haven’t caught many owls under more “perfect” banding conditions this year either.  So I suppose we didn’t score any points for either side of that argument last night.

My apologies for the lack and poor quality of the photos from last night.  On the way out to Highland, Zig stopped to let me take a shot of the moon rising over the mountains.  Those didn’t work out very well … even though I tried to experiment with several settings on my camera.  To make things worse, I then forgot to return the camera to its normal  settings and messed up all the other pix that I took last evening.  I think we can actually blame all of that on the effect of the full moon. Sigh.

Our banding season is nearing the end.  Neither of us will be at the banding station again until Sunday night.  But at this point it appears that

rain, or the threat of rain, may prevent us from opening again until next  Wednesday ???!  By that time we may forgotten how to get to Highland!  Old age is a wonderful thing … but it has its drawbacks.

At this point I don’t know when we will open again.  At least not before Sunday night, November 29.  Check here on Sunday for more definite information.

Clair Mellinger

Three saw-whets and another Barred Owl

We were only open 2.5 hours last night but in that time we caught four owls and banded one!   The first saw-whet we caught was banded last year near Sperryville VA.  The second was an owl that we had banded last week.  The third saw-whet had no bands at all so we gave it a nice silver one.  The fourth owl that we caught got away before I could get to it to remove it from the net.  That owl was a Barred Owl.  It had obviously taken a pass at the saw-whet that was in the net but fortunately failed in its attempt.  However, before I could get to it, s/he managed to slip out of the net and get away.  It may have been the same owl that we banded earlier this year.  To avoid danger to the saw-whets, we closed the nets and came home.

The station will not be open tonight, Tuesday, 24 November, in the hope that it will encourage the Barred Owl to go somewhere else for supper.

More wind; no owls

Zig and I went to Highland Retreat on Sunday night but the wind (which the weather forecast said would die down at dusk) was still too strong on the ridge to allow me to open the top nets.  We opened the lower nets for a couple of hours but did not catch anything.

We are planning to go up on Monday night, but it looks like it may be windy again.  We will give it a shot.  It looks like  we may  only be up on Monday-Wednesday and then again on Sunday night this week.  Always check here for last minute changes … but neither of us are planning to be at the banding station Thursday through Saturday nights.

Number 42 arrives

Only one more saw-whet was banded last night, although conditions again appeared very good for migration.  However, whatever wind there was (perhaps more above treetop and ridge lines) was from the south.  The moon was bright (70% visible) so that may also have had some effect.  At any rate this may be the lowest catch we have ever had … at least with this number of hours.

Condition appear favorable for banding again tonight, Sunday, November 22, 2015.

Clair Mellinger


Good night on Friday; better for Saturday?

We added five saw-whets to the world of banded birds on Friday night.  We also caught two banded owls.  One was a Eastern Screech-owl that we banded last Nove

mber.  We have now re-trapped both of the screech owls that we banded last year.  We also caught a banded saw-whet that I have not tracked down yet.

Tonight looks like another cold night with some pretty bright moonlight and perhaps some wind.  If you are planning to visit our site, check here again before you leave.  If the winds pick up, I may need to cancel.  If there is nothing new posted here, I will be banding tonight.

Clair Mellinger

No new owls on Tuesday night but one timely recapture

On Tuesday night it was too windy on the top of the ridge to open the main nets so we only opened the lower nets.  Fortunately for the group of RBC members, led by our hard-working president Debbie Harrison, we were able to recapture a saw-whet that we had banded on the 14th.  We closed the nets a little earlier than usual and headed home to wait for the cold front to pass through.

We will not open the  station on Wednesday night, November 18, because of the predicted rain and wind.  Thursday night remains questionable.

More later,

Clair MellingerP1030869P1030874P1030876