Sunday, October 25, 2009

Return of Another Jewel

Birds were captured in a spaced out pace this morning so it seemed actually busier than it was but we all had a good time. We even had the return of one of our 'jewels' today.

As usual, we recaptured a Carolina Wren.

Carolina Wren

Plus, we banded a new local in the form of a White-eyed Vireo.

White-eyed Vireo

House Wren numbers are even picking up. They are being reported widely throughout the state this week.

House Wren

Still capturing Indigo Buntings. Today we had both sexes represented. First up was a male.

Indigo Bunting

Always a lovely bird to witness even without being in breeding plumage.

Indigo Bunting

Later in the morning we were graced with the arrival of a female Bunting.

Indigo Bunting

We caught two Eastern Pheobes today in different stretches of the net lanes. Food must be abundant!

Eastern Pheobe

After a long draught of this species we finally caught a new American Redstart as we prepared to shut down for the morning.

American Redstart

A familiar sight to most birders staring up through the tree canopy. The spread tail of the Redstart.

American Redstart

As for the returning 'jewel', we caught and banded our first Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the season. Time to get used to their machine gun chattering in the area for the foreseeable future.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

So cute. Now we await some males with their brilliant crests.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Clocks go back next week. More birds should be on the move heading toward Winter.
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Next Banding Day: Sunday, November 1st.

Remember Daylight Savings Time! Fall back.

We will open nets by 6:00 A.M.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We Don't Even Own Goats!

An interesting day at Lake Lotus. Many Catbirds were captured and banded along with the usual suspects in the form of Cardinals and Carolina Wrens. We even got a couple migrants. One was this very skinny Swainson's Thrush. Here Susan photographed the banding in progress.

Swainson's Thrush

You can hardly tell it was skinny with all of those fluffed up feathers.

Swainson's Thrush

We recaptured our speckled-eyed White-eye Vireo again.

White-eye Vireo

Here, Susan releases the bird back into the woods.

White-eye

We also caught a young female Indigo Bunting. In fact, most birds caught today were young birds. Interesting.

Indigo Bunting

Andrew, sporting his Jay Watch hat, confirming the age of the Indigo.

Indigo Bunting

Bird-of-the-Day belongs to a bird we figured we may have had a chance to capture out at Wekiwa Springs over the years as they were often calling just next to many nets at dawn. However, we never did get one. This made our catch this morning that much more surprising given that we have yet to hear them call here this year.

Finally, a Whip-poor-will! Also in the Nightjar or Goat Sucker family. These birds are referred to as Goat Suckers as ancient beliefs held that they drank the milk of goats in the field. It is more likely that they were hanging around livestock to scoop up the insects that congregate near them as the birds subsist on a diet mostly comprised of bugs they gather into their large mouths in flight.

Whip-poor-Will

Forgive the numerous photos but this was a special bird and we now have FOUR cameras on site instead of the usual one Andrew has attached at the hip. Case in point...

Whip-poor-Will

After a day at Islands of Adventure on Saturday, a sunburned Andrew poses with our special guest.

Whip-poor-Will

A close-up of the Whip's wing.

Whip-poor-Will

Once we determined the birds sex (males have the distinctive white tail feathers) and band size we banded our prize.

Whip-poor-Will

The Whip in an almost natural pose about to be released.

Whip-poor-Will

One more great shot from Maggie.

Whip-poor-Will

How can a morning get any more exciting? How about netting a Ruby-throated Hummingbird?

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Again, we are not licensed to band this species but they are a joy to behold. Plus, actually holding them is much more exciting. She rested in Andrew's hand after struggling to get out of the net but soon departed, unharmed.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Lastly, Richard checked our nest boxes and found no birds activity but he did have to evict a Flying Squirrel. Look closely to find the squirrel running out of the box up Richard's arm.

Flying Squirrel

Once it jumped from the box, the squirrel glided to the base of a nearby oak and scurried up. Maria got a shot of it as it regrouped before heading back into the treetops.

Flying Squirrel

What can top this day next week? Stop by then to find out!
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Next Banding Day: Sunday, October 25th.

We will open nets by 7:00 A.M.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

There They Are!

Now this is more like it! We had a great start to the morning, capturing 9 birds in the first rush at dawn. Some were the usual suspects like our Common Yellowthroats...

COYE

...the increasing House Wrens...

House Wren

...and more Common Yellowthroats.

COYE

There were other surprises at dawn, though. Some expected and some not. We weren't expecting Gray-cheeked Thrushes even though they have been reported flying over for the past few days. This is the first for our Lake Lotus site.

Gray-cheeked Thrush

Flying into Net 2 with that bird was our first Swainson's Thrush of the season.

Swainson's Thrush

Another species arriving on time and also our first of the season was this molting Indigo Bunting. They are back!

Indigo Bunting

Of course, we had more expected birds such as the Catbirds up and down the lanes.

Gray Catbird

Plus another surprise. Our first Eastern Pheobe of the season.

Eastern Pheobe

Another bird made a grand entrance, but first...Maria found and took a great shot of a White Peacock Butterfly.

White Peacock

In other insect news, a large dragonfly was caught in Net 9.

River Cruiser

Fortunately, this dragonfly was stuck in the net in such a way as to be easily extracted and held for photos later. The pictures were sent to Lotus friend Paul Hueber who knows more about them than us and ID'd it as a Georgia River Cruiser which is a first confirmed report for the park!

River Cruiser

How do you you beat a new find of an insect in the park? Why, by getting the first Painted Bunting of the season! We decided to stay open just a little longer today as we were having such good luck and that decision paid off with Susan getting to remove this bird from the very end of the net lanes as we were about to close up for the morning.

Painted Bunting

Hard to leave such a beautiful bird but the morning was waning and the humidity was rising.

Painted Bunting

Many other birds were heard all morning but the most surprising was the arrival of two female Scarlet Tanagers in the trees near the banding tables. No photos were available but they were there along with very vocal Barred Owls at dawn and late Chimney Swifts overhead moving South.

Here's hoping for another full day.
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Next Banding Day: Sunday, October 18th.

We will open nets by 7:00 A.M.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Still Waiting for the Birds

WInds blowing from the south and east are still keeping the bird numbers down. But we did manage to get some birds. A number of them were seen escaping before we could reach the nets. We were in good company though as many visitors made it out for this extra warm October start.

Visitors

Maria took the camera reigns today and captured a Ruby-throated Hummingbird down near the lake as it began to fly away.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

We had another Common Yellowthroat that kept reacting to the digital signals.

Common Yellowthroat

Another Gray Catbird gets its band.

Gray Catbird

A White-eyed Vireo was recaptured. Its eye was still fairly dark which should indicate a younger bird. However, records show we caught this bird a year ago which has to make it an adult. Some reports of darker eyed Vireos have been recorded in Florida.

We will have to age them by plumage and mouth linings from now on.

White-eyed Vireo

Well, maybe we will have better luck next Sunday.
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Next Banding Day: Sunday, October 11th.

We will open nets by 6:50 A.M.