Saturday, March 10, 2018

No Banding March 11th

Sorry. Andrew is sick. We will try again on the 18th.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 18th.
All nets will be opened by 7:00 A.M.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Another Day Blown Away

We woke to a very chilly morning that felt closer to 30 than 50. Later on the wind would again pour out of the North and grind activity to a halt. Last year at this time was the only time in our banding history at Lake Lotus that we didn't not capture a single bird. At least we broke that record this year.

Our first bird of the morning was a recaptured Carolina Wren.

Carolina Wren

Next up was a soon to be departing Gray Catbird.

Gray Catbird

We are all aware that Gray Catbirds have rufus undertail coverts (aren't we?) but we can't say we have seen rufus feather under the wing as shown on this bird.

Gray Catbird

A recaptured Brown Thrasher made for a squawking photo shoot before being processed and released.

Brown Thrasher

The adult Barred Owl seemed more content on preening this morning but as the sunlight illuminated the opposite side of the river we made a nice discovery of the newest resident of Lake Lotus.

Barred Owl

Our final bird of the day was a male Myrtle subspecies of the Yellow-rumped Warbler. He is quickly transitioning into his Spring finery.

Myrtle Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

This is a nice 'bright' specimen/ Love those crisp black and yellow feathers now showing up through the dull Winter wear.

Myrtle Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Many birders overlook the yellow crowns these warbler posses, especially here in the Winter. The females have them, too, just less pronounced.

Myrtle Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler

When you are catching more leaves than birds it is time to head home. At least as the day warmed it was rather nice to be out in the open air.


NOTE: Time to Spring Forward! Clocks move ahead one hour Sunday.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 11th.
All nets will be opened by 7:10 A.M.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Back to Basics

Seems like Winter is gone. Usually we have our coldest day in February but it appears that is not going to happen this year. Today's high is in the 80s. Brrrr.

Early birds of the morning were a couple of juvenile Hermit Thrushes. Both were banded last Fall.

Hermit Thrush

Northern Parulas returned just over a week ago and are singing up a storm. We captured one. This adult male was banded here last April and is back to raise the next brood..

Northern Parula

Gray Catbird are beginning to grow restless as the weather warms and we are starting to catch them again.

Gray Catbird

The Barred Owl pair met up early as Andrew and Jenny set nets before dawn. Once the Sun rose they began to survey the area, including our net lanes. Some of the volunteers posted up in the center of the lanes to keep an eye on them.

Barred Owl

Eventually, they settled into resting spots and took their naps.

Barred Owl

Sure signs of approaching Spring. Spider Worts are popping up in their main spots. Earth Smoke is spreading all along the river, too.

Spider Wort

Painted Leaf are also beginning to bloom.

Painted Leaf

Several of us notice a moth clinging on to Net 14. Christine IDs it as a Lettered Sphinx Moth.

Lettered Sphinx Moth

Later on we captured a new Hermit Thrush. This one was an adult.

Hermit Thrush

This Carolina Wren was hatched here last year and we banded it shortly thereafter. It is still here searching for breakfast.

Carolina Wren

Our final bird of the morning was another Gray Catbird. This photo is great for an identifying feature of Catbirds. When they are young the interior of their mouth is a whitish pink. This turns completely black once they have matured. Therefore, this is a young bird.

Gray Catbird

Looking forward to next Sunday. Should be a bit of a cool down as a front slips down Friday. Only problem is the increasing chance of a visit from our friend. Wind...
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, February 25th.
All nets will be opened by 6:15 A.M.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

2018 Orlando Wetlands Festival

The Orlando Wetlands Festival returned after taking 2017 off and it turned into a worthwhile venture by the end of the day. Reports are coming in on the positive side from visitors and staffers alike.

Orlando Wetlands

We began setting nets before dawn and our first bird of the day as the Sun cleared the horizon was a Gray Catbird.

Gray Catbird

Fog was expected in the morning but we thought that would be before dawn. Instead, is was perfectly clear until around 8 AM. Looking down the road from our nets you can see the fog begin to creep in from the West.


When there is a break in the action we get a chance to explore the property bit by bit. Just past the nets we discovered a long trail of Otter tracks heading toward the main ponds.

Otter Tracks

Where the track ran out, a single Black-bellied Whistling Duck basked in the sunrise just across the water.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

A couple of Black-crowned Night Herons were already in the nearby trees but more were flying in from the East.

Black-crowned Night Heron

Yellow-rumped Warblers are typically the more numerous captured birds at this event. Today we only caught one that was giving us an earful.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

As we set nets, Rebecca heard a Yellow-breasted Chat calling back in the brush. She an Lynn tried to lure it into the open with no luck. Soon they hiked to try for other birds.

Yellow-breasted Chat

10 minutes later, Andrew heard a squawk and turned to see a Mockingbird swooping at one of the nets and back into the trees. Was that something relaxing in that same net? Yep. The Yellow-breasted Chat! The first we have ever captured and banded. Word soon spread and everyone waiting for the event to officially begin headed over to the table.

Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chats are very shy. You can often hear them calling but they rarely come out into the open. Thanks, Mr. Mockingbird, for chasing it our way!

Yellow-breasted Chat

Shortly after 9 AM, the buses and tractors started rolling tours through the wetland and straight between our mist nets. We still managed more birds along the way.


Common Ground Doves are a bit large for our nets but we did get 2 out of the 5 in the area.

Common Ground Dove

One female Ruby-crowned Kinglet hit the nets today.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Killian brought his sister along and she got a chance to release the bird. It was playing shy but left after it was handed off back to Andrew.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Some of the visitors were watching the nets for a while and soon alerted us to a bird at the end of the lane.

Black and White Warbler

It was an adult female Black and White Warbler.

Black and White Warbler

One of our young visitors got the opportunity to release her.

Black and White Warbler

Nothing makes kids smile more than holding and releasing an amazing flying creature.

Black and White Warbler

More birds from some of our short hikes. Limpkin were fairly obvious in many areas around the wetlands. Looks like there is plenty of food.


Out at the Cypress Hammock dozens of Roseate Spoonbills gathered to rest and bathe.

Roseate Spoonbill

It is always nice to spot a Glossy Ibis this time of year as they flash and shimmer in the morning light.

Glossy Ibis

Most of the American Coots are flocking together on the far side of the wetlands but a few linger closer to the main entrance.

American Coot

A Snowy Egret grabbed a snack and flew up into a tree to enjoy it.

Snowy Egret

We were hearing Swamp Sparrows all morning. Only one braved the wide open.

Swamp Sparrow

Another lucky guest got to release the Swamp Sparrow back into the woods.

Swamp Sparrow

Northern Cardinals were teasing us all morning just past the net lanes but began to get closer later in the day.

Northern Cardinal

Then the next Bird of the Day flew into the nets near the wishing well. It was brought back to Andrew. No one could make an ID as they headed back. Once out of the bag it was determined it had to be one of two vireo species. We consulted our books and determined it was definitely a Philadelphia Vireo. Reports are that this might be the first official record of this species in the Winter in Florida!

Philadelphia Vireo

The Philadelphia Vireo is also a Life Bird for everyone. One of our regular visitors got the honor of releasing it. (Update: this bird is still being seen daily since it was banded. It is staying in the same area.)

Philadelphia Vireo

One more male Northern Cardinal was banded before the winds kicked up and we headed home.

Northern Cardinal

Which made this American Alligator very happy. All it wanted to do was get out of this pond and head elsewhere. Your turn, Smiley...

American Alligator

Great day and glad to be back at the Wetlands. Trees are now going into full bloom so we hope to have a good morning back 'home' next Sunday.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, February 25th.
All nets will be opened by 6:25 A.M.