Saturday, April 17, 2021

No Banding April 18th

Out of abundance of caution, (yeah, getting to that stage at this age...) we will not be banding tomorrow. Rain chances start at over 40% at 5AM and the winds will be increasing thorough the morning. Hate that this is the trend this year.

Plus, who knows what effects I might have after my 2nd shot today.

Spring Migration is upon us, but it looks like most birds are heading up through Texas this year thanks to this stubborn front laying over us for the next few days. Fingers crossed for next week!

Enjoy the rain.

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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 25th.
All nets will be opened by 6:20 A.M.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

On the Positive Side...

...we need the rain, Forecast is not shifting away from rain and possible thunderstorms. Calling it in ahead of time. Sleep in. 2021 is not providing the best for banding so far. Sigh... We will try again next week. BUT...Andrew gets his second COVID shot Saturday. If there are any weird side effects, we may not band then, either. Stay tuned.

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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 18th.
All nets will be opened by 6:30 A.M.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

A Steady Easter and an Uncommon Visitor

Andrew arrived first, as usual, and began setting nets. When he got to Net 14, he was greeted by the symbol of the holiday: the Easter Bunny. Sure, it was just our local Swamp Rabbit but it was very unphased by his presence and was determined to continue where it was headed and hopped just inches from him as it made it way down the 'bunny trail'. An interesting start to the morning...

Gray Catbirds were the most numerous birds of the day and they were all new captures. They are getting restless and feeding before they head North soon.

Gray Catbird

Second most captures were Carolina Wrens. It is time for new broods, but none of our birds showed brood patches.

Carolina Wren

Strangely, we have been missing House Wrens for quite awhile. Today we got one recapture, first banded in November.

House Wren

Bird of the Day was an unexpected Swainson's Warbler down at Net 16. They are showing up as 'rare' across the state and we do band a few of them from time to time.

Swainson's Warbler

Our last bird of the day was our last Gray Catbird. It was the only Catbird with visible fat in preparation for migration.

Gray Catbird

Long range forecasts suggest rain for next weekend, but we know that can change at any time. Check back Saturday night to be sure if we are heading out.

Today's Totals

Birds Processed New Recaptured Total
Gray Catbird 5 0 5
Carolina Wren 2 1 3
House Wren 0 1 1
Swainson's Warbler 1 0 1
Totals 8 2 10

NOTE: To ensure the safety of our volunteers and the general public, new visitors are discouraged from attending banding at this time. The few of us who remain will update the blog as long as we can and hope to see new faces in the future. Thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented time.

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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 11th.
All nets will be opened by 6:35 A.M.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

A Little Windy with a Splash of New

Another good dawn chorus, but the winds were too good to pass up for many migrating birds. Not too many birds dropped down today. We waited for a while before we even had our first bird.

Some of us sat at the table and chatted while others walked the lanes. Eventually, Andrew got up to check Net 2 and found a recaptured juvenile Hermit Thrush there.

Hermit Thrush

Though quiet in the area, Gray Catbirds are getting ready to head North. We banded two new ones this morning.

Gray Catbird

As usual, when things get quiet, we begin to explore everything else around us. Out near the lake, Andrew found a Green Tree Frog in Net 21. It seemed particularly attracted to his neck gaiter and jumped on to it just after this blurry photo and was quickly tranfered to a nearby tree.

Green Treefrog

A bit closer to the lake there is now a forest of Golden Aster.

Golden Aster

The Willow trees are blooming like crazy and sending flax all over the property. Catbird and other migrants are feasting on bits of blossoms. Mnay more warblers should be arriving soon to clean up insects on the trees. A few American Goldfinches were spotted today.

Willow Flax

Connie found some interesting insects on her travels. First up was a female Rainbow Dung Beetle, (Phanaeus vindex).

Dung Beetle

Next up was a Leaf-footed Bug, (Acanthocephala terminalis). Haven't seen them in a while but now is the time they emerge.

Leaf-footed Bug

Our Bird-of-the-Day was a species often seen and heard down near the lake. However, it was the first we have captured in 3 years. A Swamp Sparrow! It will not be long before they head North.

Swamp Sparrow

Our last cold front will be moving through this week and, hopefully, the Spring Migration will bring us more birds for the next few weeks. Fingers crossed.

Today's Totals

Birds Processed New Recaptured Total
Gray Catbird 2 0 2
Hermit Thrush 0 1 1
Swamp Sparrow 1 0 1
Totals 3 1 4

NOTE: To ensure the safety of our volunteers and the general public, new visitors are discouraged from attending banding at this time. The few of us who remain will update the blog as long as we can and hope to see new faces in the future. Thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented time.

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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 4th.
All nets will be opened by 6:40 A.M.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

No Banding March 21st

Sorry for the inconvenience. Once I got out in the air I noticed it was not what I was expecting. Morning rain and increasing winds say 'back to bed'!. Sleep in and we will try again next week.

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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 28th.
All nets will be opened by 6:50 A.M.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Slow March Return

Well, the dawn chorus was amazing. However, the hovering high pressure seemed to keepall of the mirgating bird high overhead on thier way back to their nesting territories.

We started the day with a recapture and a new Gray Catbird before the day grew pretty quiet.

Gray Catbird

Our last bird of the day was an adult recaptured Brown Thrasher first banded a year and a half ago. We always use some colors to ID birds and Thrashers are noticable for having certain eye colors. We often compare adult Thrasher eye color to our tackle box. Unfortunately, we keep getting juveniles with milky eye shades.

Today, the adult confirmed that an adult eye matches the bright yellow neaby.

Brown Thrasher

The day wound down without any other captures so we hope for a better day for next week. Unless the forecasted rain keeps us home. Stay tuned.

Today's Totals

Birds Processed New Recaptured Total
Gray Catbird 1 1 2
Brown Thrasher 0 1 1
Totals 1 2 3

NOTE: To ensure the safety of our volunteers and the general public, new visitors are discouraged from attending banding at this time. The few of us who remain will update the blog as long as we can and hope to see new faces in the future. Thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented time.

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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 21st.
All nets will be opened by 7:00 A.M.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

No Banding March 7th

Morning rain and increasing winds say 'back to bed'!. Sleep in and we will try again next week.

Spring forward. Change your clocks.

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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 14th.
All nets will be opened by 7:05 A.M.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

A Nice Wrap to February

We lost the first two weeks of February to rain, but we made up for things the remaining 2 weeks to give us hopes for the returning Spring Migration.

Gray Catbirds were quieter than last week, but they started the day off at dawn.

Gray Catbird

Next up, a male Northern Cardinal.

Northern Cardinal

The next Gray Catbird showed up shortly afterward.

Gray Catbird

We began to capture Yellow-rumped Warblers in thier expected areas closer to the lake today. Most of them were juveniles.

Myrtle Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Down at Connie's garden, she found a Cloudless Sulfur Caterpillar on her Cassia plant. As she calls it: Bird food.

Cloudless Sulfur Caterpillar

An almost unexpected Hermit Thrush was captured in Net 3. Surpisingly, it was juvenile that was unbanded.

Hermit Thrush

We had two new Gray Catbirds and two recaptures. The recaps were Wintering birds banded not too long ago and are staying over until Spring.

Gray Catbird

Yellow-rumped Warblers gain white spots on their tail feathers as they age. This bird is showing it was hatched last year and molting into an true adult stage with 2 1/2 spots. By the time they are full adults, they will have 5 full spots across the tail.

Myrtle Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Saúl brought in a new bird for him as the winds picked up. It was a juvenile Brown Thrasher in Net 15 which is where our locals seem to prefer for raising new broods every year.

Brown Thrasher

Our last Northern Cardinal of the morning.

Northern Cardinal

Our final bird of the day was a very fiesty Eastern Phoebe. Hard to catch, especially with the increasing winds.

Eastern Phoebe

We ended the day picking out dozens and dozens of 'leaf birds' as we closed up to end the morning.

We were sad to miss the first weeks of the month but glad to have had a strong last two weeks to end the month. Typically, we have about 4 birds a week in February. 16 and 13 made up for the off days. Now we head toward the Spring migration.

A couple of fronts are headed this way and it looks like Saturday will be full of showers. Hopefully, they will not bleed into Sunday. Check back by late Saturday or very early Sunday to see if we have to take Sunday off. Spring is right around the corner and we are looking forward to a nice few months of migrants towards the start of our Summer break.

Today's Totals

Birds Processed New Recaptured Total
Gray Catbird 2 2 4
Northern Cardinal 1 1 2
Brown Thrasher 1 0 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4 0 4
Eastern Phoebe 1 0 1
Hermit Thrush 1 0 1
Totals 10 3 13

NOTE: To ensure the safety of our volunteers and the general public, new visitors are discouraged from attending banding at this time. The few of us who remain will update the blog as long as we can and hope to see new faces in the future. Thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented time.

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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 7th.
All nets will be opened by 6:15 A.M.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Migration Starting Early?

Weather kept us sleeping in for the last two weeks, but we were finally able to get back out for an interesting day on the property. Interesting, indeed.

The most interesting mystery of the morning began as Andrew was setting nets before dawn and he noticed that one of our Cedar trees planted by Richard years ago was...broken. Photos were taken later in the day once the light was available.

Cedar Tree

This nearly 20 foot tall tree was the only one of three that has had berries on it over the past couple of years and was now shattered down the trunk. But where was the top? Nearly 15 yards away near Net 9!

This shot is from the severed top looking back toward the tree. Susan wondered if a bear broke it off. That would be odd for a bear to then take the top all the way over there. Connie wondered if it was some straight line wind event. Andrew thinks it was a lightning strike from the storm that rolled through two days before since the trunk seems blown out to the ground. What say you?

Cedar Tree

We mentioned the last time out that the Catbirds were seeming to be restless. Today, it was even more evident. We captured 7 during the morning and saw a couple more escape the nets along the way..

Gray Catbird

Here, Jenny and Tom record the last few of the day.

Gray Catbird

Northern Cardinals are getting active, too, as they begin to prepare for mating. Two males were chasing one another and hit the same net. First up was a recapture.

Northern Cardinal

Next up was a new rival.

Northern Cardinal

We then recaptuered a Tufted Titmouse first banded 2 and a half years ago. Still healthy and angry as they always are.

Tufted Titmouse

As the winds picked up, we captured 4 Myrtle Warblers, a sub-species of the Yellow-rumped Warbler, in Net 2. Typically, we get these birds closer to lake where they feed around the willows. This was up near the pines. Odd. Soon afterwards, Andrew trekked through the woods and noticed many Yellow-rumps there. Perhaps the winds kept the insects localized and brought them into this area.

All four of these birds were juveniles, mostly females.

Myrtle Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Just before we closed up for the day, two more were captured, again in Net 2! This time, they were males. One was very 'bright' and changing into alternate plumage for the mating season.

Myrtle Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

The last processed bird was a juvenile male starting his first transition into maturity.

Myrtle Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

We have been missing banding Yellow-rumps for quite some time. Records show that they have been uncaptured for just under three years. We use to capture them regularly every year before that.

This is the busiest February day we have had for a long time and the NEXRAD radars are showing signs that migration is ramping up as birds begin to head North. Seems a bit early. Lets see what next Sunday brings...

Today's Totals

Birds Processed New Recaptured Total
Gray Catbird 4 3 7
Northern Cardinal 1 1 2
Tufted Titmouse 0 1 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 6 0 6
Totals 11 5 16

NOTE: To ensure the safety of our volunteers and the general public, new visitors are discouraged from attending banding at this time. The few of us who remain will update the blog as long as we can and hope to see new faces in the future. Thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented time.

______________________________________
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, February 28th.
All nets will be opened by 6:20 A.M.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Time for Love...Banding: Not so Much

Nature doesn't want to play nice. I have been monitoring several weather outlets and they all point to rain and thunder for tomorrow. Sleep in, hopefully with the one you love on Valentine's Day, and we will try again next week.

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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, February 21st.
All nets will be opened by 6:30 A.M.