Sunday, April 14, 2019

Another Random Day

No big migrant movements here today but it ended up a little interesting. We got to install a few new plants and made some other changes along the way.

First bird of the day was a new adult Gray Catbird. No fat yet. Staying or late or readying to bulk up?

Gray Catbird

Next up, a recaptured Northern Cardinal, first banded last Summer.

Northern Cardinal

Andrew got tired of fighting the constant growth of a Holly Richard planted years ago by Net 15 so he shifted it to the opposite side of the lane just a few feet down. We will not rename this spot as it is only mere feet away.

Net 15

Connie spied a small Spider down in the area she in placing new plants. Still looking for the formal ID.


Not too long afterward, the crew found an Indigo Bunting flirting with the nets of 13 and 9 but managed to stay in the upper story of the oaks before flying toward the park proper. A hopeful sign for next week at Earth Day, though.

Indigo Bunting

Jenny then brought back the Bird of the Day. A Prothonotary Warbler. It was down in the marsh area ringed by Cypress trees. Right where you would expect them.

Prothonotary Warbler

In Net 2, we caught another Gray Catbird. This one was loaded with growths on its legs. Research suggests that is is caused by mites. Since the growths were so large, we did not band it as not to do any further damage.

Gray Catbird

A close up of the leg irritation on the Gray Catbird.

Gray Catbird

While checking nets, we noticed that one of the Red Cedars planted by Net 14 is fruiting. Big time! Guess we know which one is a female.


As we began to close up for the morning, Connie called to say that there was a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Net 20. It was a male.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird,

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds tend to get stressed after getting released from the nets so we took it back to the table and tried to coax it to have a sip of water. It soon flew off back into the woods. Always interesting to see how the gorget changed colors based of the angle of the light.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird,

We always check to see if any American Alligators are heading in to sun. Pat was heading in not long before we wrapped up and found a spot in the sun before long.

American Alligator

NOTE: Saturday is Earth Day in the Lake Lotus Park where we do demos throughout the day. The park will be open for Earth Day from 10 until 3. Then we will band as usual on Sunday on 'our' side of the river.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Saturday for Earth Day in the park and Sunday, April 21st in our usual spot.
All nets will be opened by 6:25 A.M.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Catbirds Getting Restless

Fog settled in as we began to set nets but it burned off fairly early on after sunrise. We haven't been seeing or hearing many Catbirds the past few weeks, but today they were beginning to stir as migration nears.

Our first bird of the morning was the juvenile Carolina Wren that escaped us last week where it was netted next to its sibling.

Carolina Wren

Another recaptured Carolina Wren soon followed.

Carolina Wren

Speaking of Gray Catbirds, we finally caught one for the first time in weeks. One escaped down the lanes and many other were seen hopping from branch to branch all over the property.

Gray Catbird

We then recaptured a male Northern Cardinal which was first banded last Summer.

Northern Cardinal

Just behind the the table, a Web Bow was illuminated by the morning rays.

Web Bow

All of the Holly trees that Richard planted years ago are in bloom.


We got a new Brown Thrasher in the "Thrasher Zone", a specific radius where we always see this species.

Brown Thrasher

What are birds? Dinosaurs! Just look at those feet.

Brown Thrasher

We caught another Gray Catbird as our final banded bird today. None of the Catbirds are showing any signs of fat deposits yet. Better get bulked up before the long trip home, guys.

Gray Catbird

Northern Parula are getting noisy again as they forage. By the end of the month we should be hearing hungry chicks.

Northern Parula

Christine spotted a Monarch down by Net 22. It remained in that area for the rest of the morning. Perhaps it is the same critter that was feeding on our Milk Weed?


We were serenaded by a crying Limpkin as we prepared to fold up nets.


Migration is beginning and we hope to get some interesting birds next week. A Northern Waterthrush came close to the nets but remained along the water of the Little Wekiva. Fingers crossed.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 14th.
All nets will be opened by 6:30 A.M.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Hermits Are Our Only Friends

This should be a time of migrants but they were few and far between. Hermit Thrushes made up the majority of our captures today. One escaped on extraction but then we got another recap soon afterwards.

Hermit Thrush

As we finished setting nets we could hear Brown Thrashers calling. Minutes later, we got one of our previously banded birds in Net 19. This family seems to stick to one small area of the property and we await new chicks in a while.

Brown Thrasher

A Northern Cardinal was captured and released at Net 17 before we got another recaptured Hermit Thrush.

Hermit Thrush

All of our birds were caught in the first hour of operations before things got quiet. We spent most of the day marking out areas not to be mowed in the future as we are planting native vegetation. Too quiet for us. Where are the birds? Seems strangely off over the past year and a half. Moving into April we are use to getting migrants on their way North. We shall see.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 7th.
All nets will be opened by 6:40 A.M.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

A Few Migrants

What to expect today? No telling with the odd migration schedules this past year so we set out as usual. Our first bird of the morning was a recaptured Hermit Thrush.

Hermit Thrush

Next up was our frantic female Northern Cardinal preparing for the new nest. The 3rd time we have captured her in the last few weeks.

Northern Cardinal

A new arrival was a male Northern Cardinal looking for territory.

Northern Cardinal

We later recaptured an Ovenbird that has been Wintering over on the property. A Nice bird to get during a slow morning.


Our latest visitor, Oliva, got to watch us process the bird and release the Ovenbird.


Captured with the Ovenbird were a couple of juvenile Carolina Wrens in Net 2.

Carolina Wren

As we closed up nets we peeked down to the river to discover Pat, one of our regular American Alligators, grabbing some sunshine below the banding table.

American Alligator

Spring migration is close at hand. Hoping to get some travelers along the way.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 31st.
All nets will be opened by 6:45 A.M.

Sunday, March 17, 2019


We arrived into a gloomy day after a week off and hopeful for some new birds. However, despite the loud dawn chorus, we only captured two birds. One was a Brown Thrasher.

Brown Thrasher

The only reason the Thrasher was captured is because it was following the panic calls of our new Mamma Northern Cardinal. This is the 3rd time she has been caught and she is still as feisty as the first time.

Northern Cardinal

It appears that the rangers were out last week and took Andrew up on saying to feel free to hit the Guinea Grass hard. The area between Nets 12 and 9 are devoid of nearly all of it. Connie took that as a welcome spot to drop in some plants across from the main garden.

Olivia's Garden

Since the rangers could not get down to the end of the lanes with equipment, Andrew hacked away at the grass there in anticipation of migrating Waterthrush that should be heading home this next week.

Net 24

That loud chorus at dawn was soon followed by quiet surroundings for the rest of the morning. Only a couple of flocks of high flying Yellow-rumps were seen and few other birds were heard as we walked the lanes.


Spring is now upon us and we can hope for increasing bird numbers as migration turns North for a while.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 24th.
All nets will be opened by 6:55 A.M.

Sunday, March 3, 2019


No fog today, but a nice start with a proper Dawn Chorus for the first time in a while.

We started off with a net full of Northern Cardinals. Three, in fact, in Net 11. One escaped as we approached and we saw a female watching the territorial battle across the river. One of the captures was a new Cardinal which is unusual for us after all these years.

Northern Cardinal

Gray Catbirds are proving elusive this season. Thankfully, we caught one today.

Gray Catbird

Thrushes have been even fewer and far between this session. We caught two today. One was banded last November. The Bird-of-the-Day, though, would have to be the 2nd Hermit Thrush first banded as a juvenile 4 and a half years ago. It was caught in a net just 50 yards from where it was first captured demonstrating how birds travel such long distances to return to the same area year after year.

Hermit Thrush

Myrtle Warblers are nearly nonexistent this year. There are a few that are hanging out near the lake. They are staying at the tips of the trees and are not feeding close to our nets.

Myrtle Warbler

As Richard was tending to future tree planting sites, he discovered an almost complete snake skin shedding, probably a Black Racer. The eye and jawline were included in the shedding. Newly arriving birds, such as Great-crested Flycatcher, will use such discarded items as nesting material.

Snake skin

A female Northern Cardinal, most likely the one we were seeing earlier, was caught a bit later. She was also a new bird to the area.

Northern Cardinal

Birds are signing the songs of Spring. Still, bird rates are lower this year and fewer flocks are moving around the area. Odd. Hope we can get an increase of Spring migrants into April.

Note: No banding March 10th. Spring Break is demanding a bit of time off.
St. Patrick's Day it is!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 17th.
All nets will be opened by 6:30 A.M.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Florida Fall

Our most popular capture today was the 'Winter Leaf Bird'. Welcome to Florida Fall. For those outside of the state, let us explain...

In Northern climes, "Fall" happens before Winter as all of the deciduous trees shed their leaves and grow dormant. In Florida, the dominant oaks wait until late Winter to begin new growth and then push all of the dead leaves off of their branches en masse. A bit of wind, and the day sounds like rain as all of the dead leaves fly about and loads of leaves land in our nets. Most of the day is spent removing them.

The morning actually began with the first flying creature in Net 1. A Brown Bat. Some of the crew headed back to the table to get gloves but Andrew decided not to wait and, with the help of Jenny, extracted the bat as carefully as possible.

Brown Bat

Gray Catbirds have been few and far between. Our first bird was a recaptured one.

Gray Catbird

In the adjoining net was a recaptured Carolina Wren.

Carolina Wren

Cherry Laurel are in full bloom as is the few Black Cherry trees along the river.

Black Cherry

Out near the lake, Swamp Dock is exploding where we used to have Net 21. The seen birds here are very different from the birds found up the lanes but their numbers are still fewer than in the past years.

Swamp Dock

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

Northern Cardinal

Cold fronts are swinging through, hopefully wringing out the last of the oak leaves, and then we can get some migrants as they start to head North.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 3rd.
All nets will be opened by 6:20 A.M.