Sunday, November 4, 2018

Rained Out

Rain was in the forecast, but it said it would be closer to the afternoon. Nope. Wrong again. We did make it to just after 9 AM. Pre-dawn set up had us thinking the low cloud deck might have gotten us more birds as they were heard calling overhead in the dark. Just after sunrise, most of the birds had moved on. We did manage a few, though.

First up was a new House Wren.

House Wren

We keep recapturing our juvenile Carolina Wren banded earlier in the year. Their parents have learned better than these teenagers.

Carolina Wren

Another House Wren joined the party a short time later.

House Wren

We captured a pretty young White-eyed Vireo. The gape was very visible in hand. Started migrating not too long out of the nest.

White-eyed Vireo

Look, yet another of those teenager Carolina Wrens!

Carolina Wren

As the sprinkles began to increase, we ended the day with another young White-eyed Vireo.

White-eyed Vireo

We headed out just in case the rains really hit. We could have stayed as it turned out that the clouds shifted East. But you never know and it is better to be safe than sorry for the good of the birds. There is always next week.
______________________________________
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, November 11th.
All nets will be opened by 6:15 A.M.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Finally, a cold front made its way into Florida and we hoped for new birds and cooler temperatures to begin our day. The only concern was that winds were forecast to increase pretty quickly after sunrise. The winds were not too bad, but favorable winds were still carrying birds South overhead. The only constant through the day were multiple Eastern Phoebes calling from one end of the property to the other all day. None favorited us with a visit in a net, however...

Our first bird of the day was another local. A recaptured juvenile Carolina Wren.

Carolina Wren

Then we had a female Northern Cardinal. Again, just local birds early in the day even while we were hearing migrants.

Northern Cardinal

Some of our volunteers were confused about the next bird as they placed it in the bag but it was a female Painted Bunting. Indigos were still taunting us.

Painted Bunting

A recaptured male Northern Cardinal was brought back to the table not too long afterward.

Northern Cardinal

A recaptured Carolina Wren hit the nets and added to our growing totals. Juveniles have not learned yet this year.

Carolina Wren

The day grew a bit quiet as we searched the nets until we got a new Ovenbird in Net 12.

Ovenbird

Common Yellowthroats could be heard calling all up and down the lanes. Eventually, we caught a juvenile male who decided to get super tangled up.

Common Yellowthroat

Then, the Bird of the Day. Maybe vying for the season. Andrew decided to walk the edge of the river through the grasses since the temperatures were low, reducing gator encounter chances, in hopes of seeing if buntings were hiding out. Instead, he flushed a bird not usually seen at this site. A Grasshopper Sparrow!

Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrows are usually found in grassy areas near Lake Apopka and Lake Jessup and other rural areas this time of year. We were wondering if we would get any new sparrows around this year. Seems there counts are down. We have had a good number of sparrows over the past 10 years years but it is hard to find sparrows here.

Grasshopper Sparrow

Everyone marveled at the colors of our new capture. Grasshopper Sparrows are beautiful birds and blend into the landscape so easily. Only when you have them in hand do you usually see the yellow markings on their shoulders and the oranges on their lores.

Grasshopper Sparrow

A recaptured juvenile female Northern Cardinal filled in the next few minutes of our day.

Northern Cardinal

Winds were finally picking up and we decided to close up for the morning. Down in Net 9 was a juvenile Gray Catbird. He was extra feisty.

Gray Catbird

We almost missed the House Wren resting in the bottom of 22 as we were closing up, but it was a nice end to our breezy day.

House Wren

Forecast for next week shows increasing temperatures and possible rain into the weekend. Keep apprised to this site if we have to ditch next Sunday. Should not be a problem, but you never know in Florida.

NOTE: Time to FALL BACK! Oh, the joy of savings time...
______________________________________
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, November 4th.
All nets will be opened by 6:10 A.M.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Seminole Audubon Stops By

Odd start to the day. As Andrew was setting nets way before dawn, he was flushing birds out of the grasses and bushes all the way down to the marsh. The dawn chorus was strong including sounds of Indigo Buntings calling in the dark. Once the sunrise hit there were birds moving but it seemed that all of the migrants decided to hit the cold front and take off.

We lost one bunting in the nets early but then all we began to capture were local birds, including a recaptured juvenile Carolina Wren. We were pleased to have several visitors from Seminole Audubon arriving and Leslie got to release our first bird of the morning.

Carolina Wren

Next up was a new male Northern Cardinal, released at the table so it wouldn't bite visitors.

Northern Cardinal

Then we had a new migrant House Wren that did not want to pose pretty for the cameras. Blink much?

House Wren

Common Yellowthroats were heard all over today but we only captured one adult male.

Common Yellowthroat

Gray Catbirds are finally moving about. Surprisingly, the first we captured was an adult bird. Usually we only get juveniles this time of year.

Gray Catbird

Some White-eyed Vireo do stick around all year, but this time of the season finds many migrating individuals. This bird was a nice example, showing fat deposits as it was coming through from up North.

White-eyed Vireo

We next recaptured another juvenile Carolina Wren born this Spring on property.

Carolina Wren

Then, our next Gray Catbird. As expected, a juvenile.

Gray Catbird

While Andrew was checking Net 2, he nearly stumbled upon this Box Turtle making its way up the trail.

Box Turtle

Rouge Plant, (Rivina humilis), is now growing on our side of the river. It has always been along the opposite side of the river and we were given permission to bring some over but it has now sprung up on its own. Catbirds, and other fruit loving birds, enjoy the fruiting berries.

Rouge Plant

As mentioned at the opening, Indigo Buntings were heard calling and being flushed from the grasses before dawn. They were then seen flying over for most of the morning. Eventually, we caught our first bird of the day which was a juvenile female. Note the gape still along the base of the bill.

Indigo Bunting

Gray Catbirds got restless as winds picked up. Most of the area was quiet for much of the morning and we assume most birds were taking advantage of strong winds leading them to there Wintering grounds.

Gray Catbird

Marguerite was hesitant to release a bird earlier in the morning but she relented for our second White-eyed Vireo. Truth be told, it was the first one we banded earlier in the day that found different net a while later.

White-eyed Vireo

An adult female Indigo Bunting was brought in next. Compare it to the juvenile and note the blue on the shoulders, which the juveniles do not show.

Indigo Bunting

Along the lanes, Christine discovered a moth in distress. It was an Imperial Moth, (Eacles imperialis), that was at least extremely tired but then again released to fend for itself.

Imperial Moth

Alyssa is continuing to add plants to Olivia's Garden. Last week it was a milkweed. Today she brought in several other perennials and plumbago to add into the space. Maria started this space and we are making the dream a reality of a proper garden space. Next up: Porter Weed. Along with the Cedars, this should soon be a lovely bird and pollinator friendly area.

Olivia's Garden

Alyssa also found caterpillar under a leaf. Still trying to figure out which species.

Caterpillar

The final bird of the day was another House Wren. This is the perfect time to get acquainted with them and they will stick around until late Spring.

House Wren

Still wondering if the warmer weather up North will release bigger migrants flows differently than previous years. The next cold front moves down just before the weekend. Should be a very pleasant Sunday.
______________________________________
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, October 28th.
All nets will be opened by 7:05 A.M.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

At Least Some Migrants Are On Time

We mentioned that the first two weeks of October paled in numbers compared to...ever..in our banding history. Checking on our records, Indigo Buntings arrive this week. They did! Also seen were the first Palm Warblers and Eastern Phoebes even though we did not band them today.

The dawn chorus was loud but all we managed to capture was a single House Wren once the singing subsided just after sunrise.

House Wren

Megan was one of our new visitors and she got to release a few birds, including the new House Wren.

House Wren

Next up was a somber Common Yellowthroat. It was a juvenile male.

Common Yellowthroat

Our other early visitor was Sandy, got to get up close and personal as she released other birds, including the Common Yellowthroat.

Common Yellowthroat

An early Ovenbird appeared in the nets, not long afterwards. We were having a good start to the morning as migrants began to flow in.

Ovenbird

With all of the grass seeds around, it was not unexpected to begin catching buntings. The first one of the morning was a female Painted Bunting.

Painted Bunting

Our records have always shown that Indigo Buntings arrive in mid-October. The past two years we were hobbled by hurricanes and did not get a lot of them. Today they arrived right on time. Our first bird was an adult female.

Indigo Bunting

That birds was followed shortly in the same net and was a juvenile female. Once they were both banded, they were heard calling to one another for a while right behind the banding table before heading back toward the food along the river.

Indigo Bunting

Gray Catbirds are starting to flow back in and we watched many of them feeding across the river on Beauty Berries.

Gray Catbird

We got a second Ovenbird as the day worn on and we always love to see them in the nets.

Ovenbird

Our final visitor of the morning got to release the Ovenbird.

Ovenbird

The next Common Yellowthroat was an adult male.

Common Yellowthroat

Then, we got an adult male Indigo Bunting in Winter plumage. A nice contrast to the earlier females. In late Spring, they are molting into full breeding mode and totally bright electric blue as they head back North.

Indigo Bunting

A second House Wren was captured as the day began to wind down.

House Wren

Yet another adult male Common Yellowthroat flew in near 10 AM.

Common Yellowthroat

Our final bird of the day was a recaptured juvenile Carolina Wren first banded in August.

Carolina Wren

Things are getting back on track but we should have had Swanson's Thrushes today. Weather is all over the place and we are still forecast to be in the low 90s for the next week. Hotter than ever this late in the year. Whispers are that is will drop 10 degrees the following week. Fingers are crossed that it is so.
______________________________________
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, October 21st.
All nets will be opened by 7:00 A.M.