Day 1 of our 2010-2011 Session began with another walk into the sauna. Heavy rains the night before cooled the land a bit but the humidity was still weighing on us and the sweating began promptly at 5:45 AM. Cicadas were buzzing away as the clouds relaxed overnight. Rain was forecast for later in the morning so we crossed our fingers and set nets to see what was new in the area.
Our first bird was new, but local. A young Carolina Wren. Second bird was also a young bird but this time the species was a White-eyed Vireo! They have been few and far between this year and this little bird has molted off its tail.
Later on we captured yet another Carolina Wren juvenile. You can see the new feathers coming in along the wings.
Along the riverside, the Scarlet Mourning Glory patch is expanding and attracting a lot of butterflies.
Nearby, the tangerine trees are setting fruit. Can't wait for the harvest in the Winter!
Pokeberry bushes are loaded with fruit right now. A good feast for the birds.
Several adult Lubber Grasshoppers were seen along the trails today. A lot of people suggest killing them but we let them be.
A large colony of Ant Lions was discovered today and garnered some attention for a while.
They primarily exists by catching and eating ant, of course, but Charles and Maria watched as a spider wandered too close and was grabbed. It was pulled under the dirt but managed to escape.
We had some time to soak in the morning (while we were get soaked with sweat) but how can you complain when you can watch the relaxing river drift by?
We did catch a juvenile Northern Cardinal but the Bird-of-the-Day arrived just in time. Our first migrant: a Northern Waterthrush.
Beginning of last season we caught a few Louisiana Waterthrushes and hoped for one today. Any migrant is good, though. Northern Waterthrushes are told from the former species easily by looking for the speckles on the throat. Louisianas are unmarked.
Six birds today (we are counting the Brown Thrasher that escaped) doubles last year's start. Hopefully, this trend continues and we have a bumper crop of birds to band.
Next Banding Day: Sunday, August 15th.
All nets will be opened by 6:25 A.M.