Sunday, September 18, 2016

Ramping Up to Fall

Fall cannot get here quick enough. It was another warm and humid morning and the cicadas were loud early on and into the afternoon.

Topping our list today was the Carolina Wren. Oddly, all were recaptures dating from as early as last month to two years ago.

Carolina Wren

Veerys are still moving through the property and it shouldn't be long before we begin getting other species of Thrush.

Veery

Ovenbirds also continue to migrate in. Many of them stay here through the Winter.

Ovenbird

It was very evident that Common Yellowthroats are on the move South. We captured five this morning and managed to cover all three plumage variations from adult male,...

Common Yellowthroat

...juvenile and adult females...

Common Yellowthroat

...and immature male. Even though a few remain year round here, you can tell when the migrants are streaming through.

Common Yellowthroat

Red-eyed Vireos are flooding back into the property and we see them up and down the river. A few are captured but most stay high in the canopy.

Red-eyed Vireo

Chris also spotted a lingering Great-crested Flycatcher. We still hear a couple but they won't be around too much longer.

Great-crested Flycatcher

Another species on the move is the White-eyed Vireo. They were calling right after dawn and we captured three of them today.

White-eyed Vireo

We can share one more cute Ovenbird to finish our day.

Ovenbird

Capture rates are on the increase and should continue well into October. Hopefully, a little cooler weather will return, too.
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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, September 25th.
All nets will be opened by 6:45 A.M.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Quieter Than Hoped

Despite a busy set of radar images suggesting that birds are on their way, it was pretty quiet on the ground today. There were no animal sounds while setting nets. Not even frogs. However, Andrew captured our first bird while opening Net 16. A feisty (and stinky) red morph Eastern Screech Owl. Need to order new size 5 bands since we seem to be catching more of these little owls lately.

Eastern Screech Owl

Our last couple of Screech Owls captured were rather sluggish upon release. This bird was super alert, tuning into every sound in the woods and flew off after a gentle push into the air. It flew towards Net 2 but perched on some branches instead of being trapped again. Maria got a shot of it resting before heading off again.

Eastern Screech Owl

This is the 3rd week in a row that we have captured 5 Carolina Wrens. Most of them juveniles and some are the same birds we banded back in early August but there are adults being caught, too. This is one of the juveniles told by the buffer brown eye bow and missing spots on the wings.

Carolina Wren

All sorts discarded items appear after heavy rains. We found a cassette tape in the area we know a Porsche was chopped long ago since we have found a lot of the ancillary pieces left over. What were you listening to in 1985?

Cassette

It could be a migrant of a secretive resident. Either way, it is nice to have a female Common Yellowthroat at Net 21.

Common Yellowthroat

One of our adult Carolina Wrens was originally banded over 3 years ago as a juvenile. As Chris said, "Good data!".

Carolina Wren

Nets 16 & 17 saw most of the action today and the crew found a Veery in Net 16.

Veery

Veerys and other thrushes show tan edges on their coverts during their first year, making this a juvenile bird. The feather become a continuous brown once they get their adult molt the following year.

Veery

Banders become birders the moment it is slow. One of the best spots to search this time of year is the marsh at the edge of the lake.

Birders

During this search, the gang spied a Prothonotary Warbler in the distance. Wonder if it was one we have banded in the past?

Prothonotary Warbler

Foraging in the branches was another Carolina Wren sporting a band from an earlier encounter.

Carolina Wren

We did find a Prairie Warbler in the area today but Chris got a great shot of one on his trip out to Lake Apopka later in the morning.

Prairie Warbler

A couple of Cardinals and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher were also captured today. Unfortunately, the camera battery ran out of power before those close-ups could happen.

We are nearing migration peak in a couple weeks. Now it is all up to the weather.
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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, September 18th.
All nets will be opened by 6:40 A.M.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Migrants on the Uptick

Tropical Storm/Hurricane Hermine landed in the Big Bend this week and left us with a lot of extra rain this week but we were all cleared out for the weekend. Still left us with wet shoes all morning as we wait to Hopefully dry out in the next month. A promising start to the morning was Chris finding a small flock of Eastern Kingbirds along the river. A fairly rare sight here but they are migrating through.

Eastern Kingbird

Our first bird of the day was an Ovenbird. Nice to start with a migrant in the nets first thing.

Ovenbird

Then we began to get the locals. We caught 5 Carolina Wrens including this new bird just by the banding table.

Carolina Wren

Just behind the table, we caught our first thrush of the season. A Veery. These are the first thrushes to move through and the earliest we have have on site in many years.

Veery

Our next migrant was a Northern Waterthrush. They are showing up all over the area right now.

Northern Waterthrush

We had a couple of visitors today and Angela and her mom Rori got to see a few birds banded before they left and Angela got to release the morning birds.

Angela

Another Veery was brought in soon afterwards.

Veery

We were literally stepping over a number of baby American Alligators today. With the waters on the rise, the baby gators were hanging close to the edge of the net lanes in the duck weed and out by the river. At one point, Andrew stepped on one palette bridge only to find a tail sticking out before the gator backed out and scurried into the marsh. Fortunately, no adult gator were nearby.

American Alligator.JPG

Just on time, Common Yellowthroats are beginning to move through and Christine got a beautiful adult male in Net 16.

Common Yellowthroat

A new capture from the nets. A Cicada was extracted and brought back to the table. We were not sure if this bug was truly dead or just beginning to molt but we placed it back into the woods letting it continue on in any case. With this high humidity, Cicadas are calling most of the morning.

Cicada

We tried to lure in a Yellow Warbler down at Net 21. It was foraging in the willows but it would not get close enough for capture. Except for a nice photo.

Yellow Warbler

Despite not getting that yellow bird we were greeted with another. A Prothonotary Warbler was waiting in Net 18.

Prothonotary Warbler

Large flocks of Tufted Titmice were up and down the lanes today. Eventually, we captured a single bird behind the banding table.

Tufted Titmouse

As we began plans to close up for the morning, Chris returned to the table walking with a purpose to report a Carolina Wren in Net 16. We retrieved the recaptured juvenile and rolled up nets for the day.

Carolina Wren

Capture rates are on the upswing and we hope for bigger numbers in the coming weeks. If we can keep the tropics off of our backs.
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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, September 11th.
All nets will be opened by 6:25 A.M.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Babies are Out Exploring

We usually get most of our young Carolina Wrens earlier in the year but they stayed hidden. Until now. We caught 5 today! Feeling their independence, it appears.

Carolina Wren

Next up was another local bird. A recaptured male Northern Cardinal.

Northern Cardinal

Our first migrant was the fluffiest Ovenbird we can recall banding.

Ovenbird

Our in the woods, Yellow-throated Vireos were foraging and calling.

Yellow-throated Vireo

A flycatcher suddenly appeared next to the river. We could only get distant shots but finally decided that it was an Eastern Wood Pewee. We don't see them too often but this is the time of year for them to move through.

Eastern Wood Pewee

One more juvenile Carolina Wren came out of hiding as we observed the Pewee. However, it just looked at the net and did not fly in.

Carolina Wren

Our other migrants were a couple of Northern Waterthrushes.

Northern Waterthrush

Moving into September and we should start getting even more migrating birds. If the busy Tropics don't flush us out.
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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, September 4th.
All nets will be opened by 6:35 A.M.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

More Migrants Arriving

We had another soggy start to the day from previous rains. Yet another bridge has been claimed by the river. It was also oddly quiet for the longest time. There was no real dawn's chorus and there were not many birds flying or calling.

Just when we were preparing ourselves for a zero catch day, Maria got a male Hooded Warbler as we neared 9 AM. A nice migrant for us. It seems that Hooded Warblers mainly stick to the coast during Fall migration.

Hooded Warbler

Our guest for the day, Lorri, got to release our little black & yellow beauty.

Hooded Warbler

That was not the only black & yellow creature of the day. A large Argiope is still setting up its web in one of the Air Potato patches by the river.

Argiope

Becki found a Red-spotted purple, (Limenitis arthemis), along the net lanes. A new butterfly for our checklist.

Red-spotted purple

She also spotted one of the loud Red-shouldered Hawks that were hunting this morning.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Meanwhile, Maria was documenting the mating Air Potato Beetles.

Air Potato Beetle

The rains have been mostly on this side of town during the week. We almost decided against setting up Net 21 since the water was so high but we set it anyway. As previously mentioned, we lost one of the bridge palettes but the set nearest the net were still hanging on.

Palettes

Apple Snail eggs are also hanging on all along the river. These are invasive snails but Limpkins love them.

Apple Snail

This Anhinga spent all morning watching us and unlike most other Anhinga it just sat there playing peek-a-boo.

Anhinga

The second half of the morning was a lot more active. The next bird brought to the table was another Louisiana Waterthrush for the season.

Louisiana Waterthrush

It has been a while since we captured a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher but we will take any we can get.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Proving that it was a good thing to open Net 21, Maria came back from checking it all excited. She got our first ever Pileated Woodpecker at Lake Lotus. This is a juvenile male most likely born here on the property.

Pileated Woodpecker

By the way, banding a Pileated Woodpecker is a two person job.

Pileated Woodpecker

Maria insisted that she get a photo with catch after we banded him. He returned the favor by flicking a wing tip in her eye as he flew back into the woods.

Pileated Woodpecker

We finished the end of the day with a few birds as we closed nets. First up was a juvenile Northern Parula. Yet another new addition born in the park.

Northern Parula

A great addition to the day was Christine getting a juvenile male American Redstart in Net 14. The best clues for a juvenile male is the pronounced orange armpit patches and this bird had the added clue of some black feathers beginning to come in on the head.

American Redstart

The final bird of the morning was another Northern Parula. This one was an adult male. Males are told by the rusty band across their chest.

Northern Parula

When you are finding Northern Parula, you don't often see the patterns on their backs. In the hand you can see all of those cool colors on their heads and back.

Northern Parula

Overall, a pretty good day. Slow start but a strong ending. Bird numbers increase through the next month and we can't wait until next Sunday. Especially since we are also starting to watch increasing activity in the Atlantic. Might we be hit by a tropical storm by then? Stay tuned...
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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, August 28th.
All nets will be opened by 6:30 A.M.