Birds were up extra early today, well before sunrise. We thought it was going to be a rather active day of banding based on that alone. Four Chuck Will's Widows were heard, the most ever at one time around Lake Lotus for us.
However, the banding was a near bust with only 2 birds captured throughout the morning. Our first bird was a new female Northern Cardinal. Still enjoy seeing the extra bright colors on the Cardinals here.
Our other bird was a recaptured Brown Thrasher. We actually banded this bird across the river during the recent Earth Day event.
Other birds were seen most of the morning but most were way up in the tree canopy. Except for this busy Red-bellied Woodpecker making a hole in a dead tree.
So, with a little time on our hands it was off to wander and discover new things in the area. Near the river was a large patch of fungus which was rather pretty.
Chomping away on a leaf was a Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia) caterpillar.
Another insect we found was this pretty little Stink Bug nymph.
Hanging out on a tree was a Lady Beetle crawling over some sort of growth on the leaves.
These growths (galls) caught our attention as they are all over certain trees. Then it was noticed that they are only on this particular kind of tree.
Now we wanted to find out more so I contacted Tom MacCubbin. Turns out that the trees are Red Bay. The galls are Red Bay psyllid galls. Tom explains in better detail, "They are very common and cause no more harm than what you see. The insect is the psyllid and there is only one generation a year but the damage to the leaves remains forever. We do not try to control this insect."
Thanks for the info, Tom!
Hanging on a vine on the edge of the woods was a cocoon. Not sure which critter it belongs to yet as it decided to emerge already. We are leaning toward the Polyphemus Moth.
Andrew finally decided that the Camphor trees had to go. The Camphor is an invasive and this year they are really growing fast. We will continue to hack away at them when we have a few minutes.
Hope to have more birds next week. Maybe the parents will let their kids out to play for a little while.
Next Banding Day: Sunday, May 16th.
We will open around 6:05 A.M.