Sunday, February 11, 2018

Know What Bird Banders Hate?

Wind. The breezes were gusting earlier than forecast and only got stronger as the day progressed ahead of a deepening cold front. Sigh.

The first hour was uneventful but then we caught most of our bird in one 15 minute stretch. First up was a feisty juvenile Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

Next up was the first White-eyed Vireos we have captured in a while. Odd thing was that this typical mid- to upper-level forager was in the bottom panel of Net 8.

White-eyed Vireo

So, too, was this Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle subspecies) down in Net 23.

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Myrtle Warbler

Christine soon brought in a recaptured female Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Maybe one of the other reason the birds were scarce was due to the familiar shape of a Barred Owl was lurking in the woods?

Barred Owl

It seems we always have our coldest weather snap in February but it now looks like the cold is gone until next Winter. All of the Cherry Laurels and other trees are bursting with blooms.

Cherry Laurel

The winds kept rising so we called it a day. As we were closing nets a Tufted Titmouse managed to fly into a half-closed Net 8.

Tufted Titmouse

It is time for the Orlando Wetlands Festival where we will be doing mist netting demonstrations. We set up by the Education building just inside the Wetlands entrance. More information is located here: City of Orlando: Orlando Wetlands Festival
Next (planned) Banding Day: Saturday, February 17th. There will be no banding Sunday of this coming weekend.
All nets will be opened after dawn. Festival starts at 9 A.M.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Here Comes the Wind. Again.

With a storm front on the way we headed out into the dark to set nets and hope for some birds before the winds derailed us. Our first bird of the morning was a recaptured Carolina Wren.

Carolina Wren

Next up was a House Wren in Net 23 by the marsh. They are not usually captured in that habitat. It was also a recapture from a couple of months ago.

House Wren

Then, a Hermit Thrush was brought in. They have been rather scarce this year for whatever reason. This bird was first banded just over 2 years ago.

Hermit Thrush

Things were a little quiet before we were hit with a wave of Ruby-crowned Kinglets. We captured 4 in different nets in less than 20 minutes. Must have found feeding time! All were females.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

As the winds began to gust around 20 mph we caught our last bird of the morning which was a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle sub-species).

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Myrtle Warbler

It was a rather interesting bird, though. We can't recall seeing all of the rufus colored feathers on a Yellow-rump. Hmmm...

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Myrtle Warbler

Here is hoping the winds stay away next week. This is about the time that we see an increase in captures as we edge toward Spring.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, February 11th.
All nets will be opened by 6:35 A.M.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Typical End to January

Business as usual at the banding site for this time of the year. Not a whole lot of warblers around and where did all the Hermit Thrushes go to? We usually get at least one every week but none this year. So we began the day with a local: a female Northern Cardinal. We always offer them a twig so they have something to focus on other than our tender fingers.

Northern Cardinal

Several Ruby-crowned Kinglets were banded. All were females which has been the trend for a while.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Western Palm Warbler seem to really like the Bottle brush trees just beyond the property line but we do capture one every now and then.

Western Palm Warbler

One of our newest volunteers, Angelo, got to release the now banded Western Palm Warbler.

Western Palm Warbler

The Little Wekiva River seemed to look a bit different today. Hurricane Irma really did a number on the landscape.


Earthsmoke, (Fumaria officinalis), always begins to bloom this time of the year and starts its displays by Net 22.


Also nestled around the Earthsmoke is a nice contrasting flowering display of Wild Mustard.


We added a recaptured male Northern Cardinal a little later in the morning.

Northern Cardinal

Up in the woods, Andrew discovered a pile of white feathers of an as yet unidentified snack.


A nice close-up of our final Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the day.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Things wrapped up with our only Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle sub-species) today. There are usually many more around the area but they are keeping to the marsh for the time being. Hoping they will decide to head back to the nets as things begin to warm up.

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Myrtle Warbler

A steady day but we could use more captures. Perhaps next week. There is, yet again, another front forecast to move in and keep us watching the skies.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, February 4th.
All nets will be opened by 6:40 A.M.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Back to Business

Chilly but not too chilly. Winds would be increasing later but we were out to catch what we could.

Our first bird was a new female Northern Cardinal. Our usual camera went on the fritz so we had to rely on phone photos today.

Northern Cardinal

It was nice to get a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets now that we didn't have to protect them from the colder temperatures. All females.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Out by the lake, Swamp Sparrows were popping up and calling. They don't seem to want to come up near the trail this season for whatever reason.

Swamp Sparrow

The sound of pecking had us quickly turning to find a busy Downy Woodpecker next to the marsh.

Downy Woodpecker

Then we finally began catching "butter-butts". First up were Palm Warblers.

Palm Warbler

Followed soon afterward by the Yellow-rumped Warblers, Myrtle sub-species.

Myrtle Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

That was it for the morning. We did install a new trail cam along the lanes so we will see if we have it in a good spot. As we were about to leave, Christine peered over the grass to the river and found one of our American Alligators resting on a log.

American Alligator

We haven't seen them up this far in months. Pretty sure the cold temperatures kept them in the lake the last few weeks.

American Alligator

A steady day but we could use more captures. Perhaps next week.

NOTE: Watching the weather for Sunday. Check back here by Saturday night or real early Sunday morning to see if we have to cancel the day.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, January 28th.
All nets will be opened by 6:45 A.M.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Chilly, Breezy New Year Start

It has been a long stretch of yucky weather since before the holidays. Despite the temperatures dipping into the high 30s this morning it was at least nice and clear. The wind did pick up as the morning wore on but wasn't too bad.


A strange fact about the cold is that we tend to catch more Ruby-crowned Kinglets as they flit around to find more food. Half the birds we captured today were that species.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

We don't often see Ospreys resting over the river as they prefer to be out in the open and next to the lake. This Osprey was preening and watching the rising Sun across from Net 14.


Below in the the river, one of our resident Limpkin was looking for breakfast.


Blue-gray Gnatcatchers teased us throughout the day by chasing insects all around the nets but deftly maneuvered out of range.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Just when it was noticed that we hadn't heard any Gray Catbirds yet, one was brought to the banding table.

Gray Catbird

As the wind was picking up we managed to capture a Western Palm Warbler.

Western Palm Warbler

Loud cries alerted us to anther Osprey up in the pines with a fish snack.


There is almost always a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker around during the Winter month but this one didn't show itself until the Titmouse family began to squawk along the riverside.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

The one species we really wanted to start catching today waited until the end of our stay. A Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle subspecies) got his band before we rolled up the nets.

Myrtle Warbler

It would have been nice to have a little more warmth but it wasn't too bad. However, another low is suppose to swing in next week and leave it chilly again next Sunday. Could be a repeat of today.
NOTE: We will not be banding January 14th. Forecast is for temperatures in the low 30s with higher winds making it more dangerous for birds if lingering in nets.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, January 21st.
All nets will be opened by 6:45 A.M.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Banding Over for 2017

With a heavy heart I have to call an end to the 2017 banding year. Circumstances have led me to take a break until January. Those who need to know the particulars (nothing dire) will be informed but we look forward to a brighter year after the holidays.

Thanks to all who contributed during a slow 2017. Irma didn't help. Sleep in and enjoy the festivities! Stay safe.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, January 7th.
All nets will be opened by 6:50 A.M.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Still Quiet

Still quiet in the area but at least we have the Supermoon to look at. It was nice and bright as it set this morning before dawn. This photo was taken about 12 hours later in downtown Orlando.


At least we could be happy with the results of yesterday's AAC Championship game as UCF defeated Memphis to become the only undefeated college football team in the country. Andrew decided to represent by swapping out hats today.


Our first bird of the morning was a recaptured House Wren. All birds captured today were recaptures. Birds were around from time to time but decided to feed high in the trees all morning.

House Wren

Aislin and Angelo joined us this morning and helped record info for the wren and the next bird, a Hermit Thrush.

Hermit Thrush

Out by the lake, several Swamp Sparrows chased one another along the shoreline.

Swamp Sparrow

The final bird of the day was an Ovenbird.


Just after we released the bird at the table, Connie spotted a Raccoon ambling in our direction. It finally noticed us and made a course correction toward Net 3. It then scurried up a tree as we approached for a close-up. A couple of minutes later it climbed down and headed up the lanes. We noticed several dug up turtle nests along the lanes. Little guy has been busy.


One bright spot after the disappointing capture rate was more and more returning Hooded Mergansers all over the region. We don't band them but they are fun to watch.

Hooded Merganser

More Yellow-rumps and Palm Warblers are around with more to come. Perhaps next Sunday will be a productive day. Suppose to be on the chilly side, though.

NOTE: We will not be banding December 10th due to weather. Forecast is for temperatures in the mid 30s with higher winds making it more dangerous for birds if lingering in nets.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, December 17th.
All nets will be opened by 6:35 A.M.