Saturday, February 7, 2009

Orlando Wetlands Park Festival


Sure, it looks pretty. Just can't tell that it was actually feeling even colder than predicted.

This was the start of our day at Fort Christmas where we would give banding demonstrations as part of the Orlando Wetlands Park Festival. It was supposed to be around 43 degrees (and maybe it was) but we were greeted with a lot of frost as we began to set up.


Maria usually hates the cold, anyway, but she looks like it might be a frozen Minnesota day as she helps get the table area in order.


I tried to get a good shot of the pond getting all steamy but this was the best that I could manage. Beyond the pond is the real action of the festival where most vendors set up their tents. I opted for catching birds over being in the middle of the action but we might retool that next time.


We had a good number of visitors once they found us. Signs could have been much better.

Catch birds we did! Right after we opened the nets we started capturing different species. The very first was this Gray Catbird.

Gray Catbird

I kept noticing this House Wren moving between the bushes and the pond and I really wanted to get it. No problem. It was our second capture.

House Wren

Our most numerous bird species were Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warblers. Many were younger birds but I vote this male Bird-of-the-Day since it was the one old enough to start shifting back into it's Spring plumage.

Myrtle Warbler

I placed one net in between 2 trees based on a Hermit Thrush sighting 3 years ago. It was actually my first sighting of a Hermit Thrush outside of our banding at Wekiva. What do you know, we caught one right at that same spot I photographed one all those years ago!

Hermit Thrush

We had been hearing Cardinals throughout the day. As noon neared we finally captured one. The boys showed up right before this and my youngest did me the favor of taking a picture as I banded it. He says it was smoking.

Northern Cardinal

Many folks got close up looks at several birds and we explained the process of banding and shared some history of birds captured over the years.

Northern Cardinal

One last bird for the day. The winds were blowing pretty hard after 10 AM and we decided to close just before the official end of the festival. Despite the nets being held open by the stiff winds, this Eastern Phoebe was quietly waiting in the net behind the trees.

Eastern Phoebe

Many people were noticing this bird all day and it was a thrill to finally band it.

Next year, we will see if we can get any of these birds again.

Next Banding Day: Sunday, February 22th.
We will open nets around 6:30 A.M.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February, 01, 2009

Well, we more than doubled last weeks haul with 5 birds captured. Better than going backwards. I had been predicting that we might get an increase in birds now that everything is singing like it is Spring.

The Carolina Wrens obliged with 2 recaptures. We also had a recaptured and one new Cardinal and a recapture House Wren.

We weren't particularly worried about today's banding as we had bigger plans on our minds. Placing nest boxes. We set up 7 boxes of differing sizes along the trail and will monitor then as the years roll on. There are currently 4 boxes right near the banding table for some easy observation.

Bird Box

Just down the net lane is a nest box in what we think is a Hickory tree.

Bird Box

A rather large box has been placed near the river. Richard calls this a "Raccoon Box".

Bird Box

This box is next to net 12. I have seen many Great-crested Flycatchers in this area during the end of last Summer so maybe we can attract a family of these gregarious birds.

Bird Box

Near the end of the net lane we have a box near the orange trees. It will be interesting to see what shows up here.

Bird Box

When I was first shown this site I knew that I wanted nets right here. There was an existing old nest box on this young oak tree and several Carolina Wrens were all around it as I walked through. We capture many Wrens in this area and there is nesting material in the box already!

Bird Box

The other fun part of monitoring nets in quiet times is discovering plants along the trail and next to the river. Currently blooming just past the net lane is a lot of these plants which I am sure is a Wild Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) which is a member of the mustard family.


Next weekend we will be giving a banding demonstration at the Orlando Wetland Festival which should be a lot of fun.

Next Banding Day: Sunday, February 8th.
We will open nets around 6:30 A.M.