Sunday, April 26, 2009

Earth Day

We banded on the park side of the river for the annual Earth Day event held at Lake Lotus. Andrew spent most of Saturday hauling poles and rebar and nets from 'our' side, transporting the gear by wading through the swallow water. Net positions were set based primarily on where we set up last year and then trying a couple new spots.

Sunday morning, Andrew and Susan crossed the river in the dark before dawn and opened the nets and secured the poles with tie lines. Other gear was stowed near the parking lot and other vendors arrived well afterward.

As for the birds, the first caught in the morning was a Carolina Wren. It was a recaptured bird with the last numbers being 261. This is the first bird we caught here at last year's Earth Day!

Later in the day, number 262 was captured. These birds have not been caught on the other side of the river suggesting that all of our other birds stay there and this family stays right here. Nice data.

Carolina Wren

As we were processing the first Wren we could see that a Brown Thrasher was waiting in the net behind the banding table.

Brown Thrasher

A Northern Cardinal was captured as well as some Gray Catbirds. However, the most exciting bird was one we did not band. A shadow passed overhead and Susan relocated the bird. Can you guess this Life Bird for Susan?

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

A Yellow-billed Cuckoo!

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

The bird flew through the treetops for a while searching for and eating bugs.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

It eventually flew to the west, not to be seen again for the rest of the day. An excellent sighting.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

As the winds increased through the morning the birds stayed put giving us time to explore a bit. Susan found a great bug in a net. An Eastern Eyed Click Beetle.

Eastern Eyed Click Beetle

Susan also noted some skippers feeding at the Spanish Nettles so some photos were taken for later ID. Turned out to be a Horace's Duskywing Skipper.

Horace's Duskywing Skipper

We had some good conversations with park visitors and collected some nice information through the day. The only down side was knowing we still had to haul everything BACK across the river to set up for next weekend in our usual spot. A few hours later, everything was back in place, hopefully even in better shape than before.

Migration is winding down but there are always surprises out there.

Next Banding Day: Sunday, May 3rd.

We will open nets around 6:15 A.M.

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