Still a week or two from the peak of migration but some birds are showing up right on schedule. However, there are still very few birds around in total despite strong indications that birds are on the move when viewing nightly NEXRAD radar.
When large masses of birds rise in the evening you can see their patterns bloom into bright blue shapes. Sometimes you hear references to 'ground clutter' when weather radar is shown on TV but this is often caused by huge flocks of birds that the radar is bouncing off of. Last Friday the NEXRAD looked like this:
This prompted us to try and band both days of the weekend in hopes of capturing some new migrants. The weather must have been too clear overhead, though, which kept the birds heading south all during the morning. By 7:30 AM on Saturday we only caught local birds.
Our resident Carolina Wrens were still flying into nets.
Blue Jays were actually very active Saturday and we did catch one of them.
Migrants were few but the last bird of the day proved the migration schedule was still on track. Last year on this date we caught our first ever House Wren at Lake Lotus and, right on time, another one joined us.
So much for Saturday. Sunday was a little better but not by much. Another 'on time' migrant did show up but as Andrew was removing the first Carolina Wren of the morning he got a call from Maria. Seemed she had a much more interesting catch.
Three people and some heavy gloves later, the bat was freed. More local fare was brought in a bit later in the form of this beautiful White-eyed Vireo. You can tell that it is still a fairly young bird by the not totally white eye.
Bird of the Day belonged to this female Downy Woodpecker! Not rare by any means but hard to capture as they usually stay so high above the nets. That foot sure gives away the fact that they are one of our remaining links to dinosaurs.
Maria got the bird from the net. She is called the "Woodpecker Lady" in our group as she was almost always the one who got the woodpeckers when we were at Wekiva Springs.
Like the Black and White Warbler, Downys prove that simple colors, or lack thereof, can be beautiful.
Welcome to the catalog, little lady!
Net number 11 seems to be the hot spot for Common Yellowthroats. Here, Andrew extracts one of many for the day.
An interesting fact arose when guests began showing up the the banding site years ago with high-end digital cameras. These small birds seem to hear either the focus lock or the shutter trigger and begin flapping like crazy right as pictures are shot with these devices. It makes most shots appear like this, at best.
Our trusty older Olympus digital had just run out of batteries so the bird had to be restrained for a more calm pose.
As mentioned earlier, birds are still arriving on time, if not in greater numbers yet. This time last year we also got our first Catbird to band and here was the first of this year.
Lack of birds still do not diminish the wonderful views provided by nature.
Here's hoping the next week brings us some more birds!
Next Banding Day: Sunday, October 4th.
We will open nets by 6:50 A.M.