Monday, June 22, 2009

The Season Wraps Up

Time to take a break during the hot, hot weather. This was the last day of our first banding session at Lake Lotus which began way back on my birthday in September. We will start the next session on the second weekend in August when the first migration warblers should be heading our way.

As for today's activities, the first capture of the day was not a bird at all but a Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus) that Andrew found along the trail.

Ring-necked Snake

These snakes are only 10-15 inches when fully grown making this snake pretty much there.

The birds began to arrive shortly afterward. We capture a couple of young Cardinals today including this male.

Northern Cardinal

Later in the day we also banded a young female.

Northern Cardinal

As nets were being deployed at dawn we could hear Brown Thrashers calling in the bushes and we were lucky enough to catch a juvenile as the morning wore on.

Brown Thrasher

Of course, what would these recent weeks be with a Carolina Wren...

Carolina Wren

...or two...

Carolina Wren

...or three.

Carolina Wren

Down by the riverside there were the remains of some sort of reptile or turtle hatching.

Shells

The insects were well represented. Besides the growing mosquito population we found other insects such as this Damselfly.

Damselfly

PLus, a really cool wasp-like critter.

Wasp

Another week, another sighting of our Cuban Treefrog watching over us.

Cuban Treefrog

Different flowers are still emerging like this lovely yellow bloom along the trail.

Yellow Flower

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Next Banding Day: Sunday, August 9th. This will be the beginning of the second banding session at Lake Lotus.

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

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rain Spawns Spores

An interesting day. Not only for the birds but many other things around the area this morning.

We captured 10 Carolina Wrens today. Not remarkable in itself but that 8 of those were caught all at once! 6 birds in Net 14 and 2 in Net 13 nearby. Some owl feathers were found in Net 13 so maybe the owl flushed all of these birds into nets. Who knows.

More interesting, 2 adult wrens we caught in the rush were the very first birds banded across the river during Earth Day 2008! Maybe all of these chicks are theirs. This is the first time we have recaptured any birds o opposite sides of the river.

We also caught 3 Northern Cardinals today. One of these was the young male we banded last week.

Northern Cardinal

Down near Net 10, we found another indication that the Bob Cat is still around.

Bob Cat

Our eyes were quickly drawn to all of the new growth erupting along the net lanes. Primarily, different fungus varieties are showing a surprising diversity this week. Along one fallen log, we found these unknown fungi.

Fungus

Nearby, there was a species of shelf-looking fungus.

Fungus

Right next to Net 6 was an enormous fungus. An Oklahoma state quarter was placed on top of it for size comparison.

Fungus

Down the lane, more mushrooms spring up from the moist soil.

Fungus

Even the space beneath one of our tables was harboring hidden wonders.

Fungus

Before we packed up, a new visitor was found in one of our nest boxes. What bird? No bird. A treefrog.

Not sure the exact species yet but it sure seemed comfy up there.

Treefrog

NOTE: It was confirmed that it is an invasive Cuban Treefrog.

One more week to go before we take a break.
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Next Banding Day: Sunday, June 21th. This will also be our last banding session until August. Check back for details as the Summer wears on.

We will open nets just before 6:00 A.M.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Open Spaces and Plants

Something was clearly different when we arrived at the banding site around 5:45 A.M. The lock was upside down so someone had been there during the week. Maybe Richard followed through on mowing the grass. It did look mowed. Andrew was even considering bringing his axe to clear out the downed tree near the end of the net lane.

The typical routine is that we walk in and drop off the net bag for Net 2 on the way to the banding table. This morning as we walked toward Net 2 certain landmarks were gone. Even in the dark there are certain plants and trees that guide us along with the assistance of headlamps.

Not there today. We could see the number 2 on the tree but where was the turn toward the river?

As the other nets were distributed we could tell that more than a simple lawn mower had traveled through here at some point. Huge swaths of vegetation were gone as were the couple of trees that were previously laying across the lanes.

Daylight revealed a newly cleared path all the way down to the lake. Maria took this gorgeous morning view.

Net Lane

We only captured 3 birds today (it was very quiet) and besides 2 recap Carolina Wrens we captured a young Northern Cardinal.

Northern Cardinal

The rest of the morning was filled with pulling air potatoes, exploring the newly cleared vegetation to possibly add 2 more nets, and discovering plants to ID. This ID process is still ongoing and we may post some of these finds next week.

Until then, we rest and cheer on the Orlando Magic!
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Next Banding Day: Sunday, June 14th.

We will open nets just before 6:00 A.M.