Saturday, May 12, 2018

Session 9 is Officially Over

Scheduling and rain chances have me canceling banding for the end of Session 9. Many Life events are happening this month along with increased rain chances for Sunday morning. I thought long and hard for the past week and had to make a choice. If only I was retired and could do banding at my own pace...

When I can, I will try to recap the past Session here and then we will make plans to get ready for Session 10 starting in the first week of August. Thanks to all of our great volunteers and visitors over the past nine months. It was great to share memories with all of you as we banded through many enjoyable mornings. Hurricane Irma was not too nice to us, spoiling all of our Indigo Bunting weeks and still has part of Lake Lotus boardwalks out of service.

Now to do inventory, get ready for trail maintenance, and rest up for an exciting Session 10!

Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, August 5th.
All nets will be opened by 6:20 A.M.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

No Banding May 6th

Scheduling and rain chances have me canceling banding for the 6th. Next week it is!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, May 13th.
All nets will be opened by 6:05 A.M.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Earth Day is April 22nd

With a heavy heart, I have decided to NOT band at the Lake Lotus Earth Day event. Rains are forecast for the majority of the day accompanied by high winds. Chances of catching birds and telling others about it seem low. When folks see a rainy forecast for the day I would bet that most will not venture out to the park in the first place. Oh, well. We will try to be at our regular spot next week.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 29th.
All nets will be opened by 6:15 A.M.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Preparing for Earth Day

It was the weekend before our Earth Day demos and Andrew headed over to the park to scout the situation since Hurricane Irma damaged some areas usually used for net sites. It was fairly quiet until a noisy Prothonotary Warbler made an appearance behind the fishing pier.

Prothonotary Warbler

Mama American Alligator was in front of the pier soaking in the sunlight. Far across the lake, a male was bellowing in search of a mate.

American Alligator

Near the Window on the Lake, a male Anhinga in full breeding plumage takes some time to dry its feathers.


From that point on, the boardwalk is still closed off in a couple of places due to needed repair after Hurricane Irma.

Boardwalk Damage

Many large oaks came crashing down in several areas of the boardwalk. The rangers are steadily making progress on fixing the closed sections when they can.

Boardwalk Damage

Just before the playground, a nice large Tiger Swallowtail grabs a few rays of light.

Tiger Swallowtail

We opened the nets for our regular Sunday outing and soon had an Ovenbird in hand. All of the migrants we captured today revealed traces of fat stores, showing that they are bulking up before their trip North.


Gray Catbirds are certainly getting restless and we captured a couple during the morning. Most were staying closer to the river and grabbing Nightshade berries one after another.

Gray Catbird

Northern Cardinals are out and about, too. This recaptured male was first banded 2 1/2 years ago.

Northern Cardinal

Mock Bishop's Weed (Ptilimnium capillaceum) is spreading all around Net 18 and up the path to Net 10.

Mock Bishop's Weed

Another strikingly colored adult Ovenbird was banded as the winds continued to increase, lowering our chances of catching more birds.


Our final bird of the day was a female Northern Cardinal.

Northern Cardinal

Out in the marsh across from Net 23, baby American Alligators were enjoying their time in the warmth.

American Alligator

We only had Opossums, a ranger, and a few Raccoon trip the trail cam during the week. The only exception was this small-looking Bobcat passing by in the daytime.


We are looking forward to banding during Earth Day next weekend. However, there are some extended forecasts already calling for rain and more wind. Stay tuned...
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 22nd.
All nets will be opened by 7:30 A.M. but the park does not open until 8:30 to the general public.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

More Spring Migrants

There was a fair amount of rain on Saturday so the area was soaked by morning and overcast all day. Our first bird of the morning was an Ovenbird. It was just last week that we were wondering when they would turn North. This was a very bright adult.


Lynn, a new visitor, got to release several birds through out the day, including the Ovenbird.


Several Gray Catbirds were heard on the property but we only captured a new one for banding.

Gray Catbird

Down by the marsh, a Carolina Wren hatched and banded last May stopped by for a visit.

Carolina Wren

Baby Barred Owl was very vocal today. At one point Mama stopped by to feed it.

Barred Owl

It took us a bit of time to figure out what the meal was. Later on we found the remains of a frog beneath the limb.


We had hoped that the Barred Owls were done looking for food. Turns out they were still hungry and took advantage when a Brown Thrasher flew toward Net 12. Poor thing had no chance against such a skilled hunter. Time to post Owl Watch again...

Barred Owl

A strong song was rising out near the lake. It took a couple of minutes to locate the singing bird. It was even more difficult to get a photo of our first male American Redstart of Spring.

American Redstart

A little farther on we found a large blooming of this little yellow flower on some sort of ground cover. Anyone have an ID?

Yellow Flower

Speaking of yellow, a Prairie Warbler was feeding in the willows but would not stay still for a focused portrait.

Prairie Warbler

Nearby, a female Black and White Warbler was more cooperative.

Black and White Warbler

Meanwhile, Mama Barred Owl was looking sleepy after her 2nd breakfast of the morning.

Barred Owl

We captured 2 Northern Cardinals today. One was a new bird and the other was banded a couple of years ago. Males were chasing one another all around the table sites.

Northern Cardinal

As most of the crew was roaming the net lanes, Bob, Lynn, and Richard processed another Ovenbird.


Our final bird of the day was the first Northern Waterthrush of the season. A Louisiana Waterthrush was also seen close to the lake.

Northern Waterthrush

As for the trail cam, last week was nearly all Raccoons. This week it was strictly Opossum.


More cool air and rain coming. Wonder what will show up next Sunday.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 15th.
All nets will be opened by 6:30 A.M.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Migrants Beginning To Move

Happy April! This is the time the migrants start getting restless and start feeding and gradually start on their way North. Even though we had to deal with some wind, again, it was an interesting mix of birds today, all of them migrants

The first bird of the day was a recaptured Hermit Thrush.

Hermit Thrush

Eric and Hannah were our new visitors today and they both got to release a bird or two.

Hermit Thrush

We should be catching northbound Gray Catbirds for the rest of the month.

Gray Catbird

Last week we wondered where the Ovenbirds were and this week we got one.


Our bird of the day was a Swainson's Warbler. Several were banded during our stint at Wekiwa Springs but this is the first we have banded here at Lake Lotus.

Swainson's Warbler

Out where Net 21 used to be, Golden Aster is now moving in to reclaim some of the area after Hurricane Irma scoured everything out last Fall.

Golden Aster

Checking on the trail cam shows that last week was a busy time for the Raccoons. They were the dominate capture whether at night...


...or during the day.


Opossums were also wandering back and forth.


This area also sees and large gathering of Squirrels from Net 10 down toward the lake.


Our final bird of the morning was a Louisiana Waterthrush. With Net 21 out of play it was feared that we would miss them in the Spring but they are traveling up and down the river this year.

Louisiana Waterthrush

Numbers typically ramp up from here into early May. Only a couple weeks from Earth Day!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 8th.
All nets will be opened by 6:35 A.M.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Nice Variety Before the Wind

A good chance that anything could happen today so we set out as usual to get what we could before the wind kicked up as the day broke. Our first bird of the day was an Eastern Screech Owl. It was a recaptured bird that we first banded nearly a year ago. They always look so sleepy when in the hand but it quickly flew off after the data was collected.

Eastern Screech Owl

As we were discussing how the House Wrens were occasionally being heard but not caught, we did manage to get one.

House Wren

We did get two Northern Cardinals today. One male was a recaptured (photo not worth the while) and a female that was showing a brood patch.

Northern Cardinal

We are getting near the end of Thrush captures so it was nice to had a Hermit Thrush today.

Hermit Thrush

Despite knowing that it is the start of gator breeding season, Andrew took one more trip out toward the lake since it was a bit cool. The most interesting find was that a flock of Cedar Waxwings were out in the willows picking at all sorts of items.

Cedar Waxwing

It was difficult to get some good shots as the wind was picking up but we were lucky to catch a flight shot showing the wax tips on the tail feathers.

Cedar Waxwing

Seeing some scat on the make-shift walkway where the lane floods made us wonder as to the animal that left a present. Time to check the trail cam. We know Andrew as he sets nets before dawn...

Trail Cam

...but who is this dude showing up the day before walking the trail on a closed property on a Saturday?

Trail Cam

An earlier night found the raccoon family parading toward the lake.

Trail Cam

Possums was beginning to increase their activity in the middle of the night.

Trail Cam

The thought that the scat animal was a Bobcat was later confirmed. Many shots in the daylight and night showed our cat strolling through the area in the next 2 days.

Trail Cam

What this is...we are not sure. Shot seems to not be a possum. Too bulky. Thoughts?

Trail Cam

We did get a couple more birds before the winds shut us down. Always nice to get a Ruby-crowned Kinglet recapture. We might be getting more as we head toward Spring migration.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Connie had a bird at Net 20. She thought it was possibly a Thrush species. Well, she was close. At least by name. She had returned with a Louisiana Waterthrush (actually a warbler) that make a rare appearance in early August and moving back through in the Spring. A nice end to the day!

Louisiana Waterthrush

Weather forecasts are all over the place. Next Sunday is Easter and April Fools Day. Interesting...
Next (planned) Banding Day: Easter Sunday, April 1st. No foolin'...
All nets will be opened by 6:45 A.M.