Sunday, January 31, 2010

Surprise Sparrow

It was one of those mornings that leaves one wondering why we got out of bed. Not too cold or anything but as we started to set nets the winds slowly increased and eventually the front moved through and the temps did begin to drop hour by hour. Oh, to be back in bed. Too gloomy.

However, there are the little moments that erase such selfish thoughts. The best of the day happened right after sunrise.

Andrew was checking nets and was all the way at the end of the net lanes checking for any birds and monitoring the weather. After staring at the dark, cloudy skies, he glanced over his shoulder and noticed a dark shape in Net 13. Wasn't moving but it had to be a bird.

Turned out to be not just any bird, but our first sparrow of this banding season! In fact, our first ever Bachman's Sparrow!!

Bachman's Sparrow

Bachman's Sparrows do reside and breed just to the North of us near our old banding site in Wekiwa Springs but we never caught one as they stick to the pinewood flats near the Youth Center. Usually the sparrows we see around Lake Lotus are Swamp Sparrows and last year we caught a Clay-colored Sparrow in the same spot.

Bachman's Sparrow

To our knowledge, no one has recorded a Bachman's Sparrow in this park.

Bachman's Sparrow

We also caught a recap Northern Cardinal and a new Gray Catbird but this first bird of the day made the slightly uncomfortable weather blur away for a little bit.

Bachman's Sparrow

Hoping for more sparrows before the season is over!
Next Banding Day: Sunday, February 7th.

We will open nets by 6:40 A.M.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nice to be Back

Has it really been a month? So nice to be back out to see what be flying through after all this time. We did stop by to see how the site fared after all this time and the biggest change was that at least one of the bears that were across the river in the park made it over to investigate our area.

We had to collect all of our bird bags that we left at the banding table as one of the bears grabbed it and left a trail of bags leading into the woods. The other main evidence was the abandoned feeder pole project. It was broken with the pole bent over above AND below ground. The rebar supporting the black pole was bent as well.

Feeder Pole

Though the birds were few throughout the day, we did recapture a Wintering Gray Catbird and a new, very young Hermit Thrush.

Hermit Thrush

The last bird captured was another Wintering bird. This female Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Toward the lake, the native wild Radish is blooming again.


Looking back up the river the latest cold spell seems to have killed off a lot of invasive species including the abundant Guinea Grass which you can see along the banks beyond the oaks.


Our other chore for the morning was checking the nest boxes before the main breeding seasons kicks in. In box number 1, where the Cuban Treefrog hung out last Fall, was now occupied by Flying Squirrels. If you look closely, you can see that there are 3 of them in this small box.

Flying Squirrels

We let them continue resting and moved on. Nothing else was in any other box today but we are hoping something will use them this Spring.

Next week we close out the month and prepare for the new broods of Carolina Wrens which are sure to follow. The adult wrens are calling like crazy right now.
Next Banding Day: Sunday, January 31st.

We will open nets by 6:45 A.M.

Friday, January 15, 2010

No Banding January 17th!

Sigh. This is getting old.

We will be canceling our banding effort for this Sunday, January 17th due to the expected storms and high winds.

I will be going out there Saturday, January 16th, just to take a look around after all of this time off. Maybe even plant a tree for Arbor Day.

Maybe next week, kids.
Next Banding Day: Sunday, January 24th.

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

Thursday, January 7, 2010

No Banding January 10th!

We will be canceling our banding effort for this Sunday, January 10th due to the expected continuing cold weather.
Next Banding Day: Sunday, January 17th.

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