A very interesting day. We installed many native trees today up and down the net lanes in hopes of turning our little patch of nature back into a Florida friendly spot instead of the once infested with invasives plot it was just a couple of years ago. Species introduced today included Walter's Viburnum, Red Cedar, Wax Myrtle, another Red Mulberry, Simpson's Stopper, Yaupon Holly, and Wild Coffee.
We have placed species together in front of different net sites and hope to monitor how each species might bring in different birds to different areas. We shall see.
This day began like the past couple of weeks with a Brown Thrasher being caught right around dawn. Seems that they head out as one of the first species of the morning to get going.
Also continuing the trend of late, this was yet another younger bird as witnessed by the duller yellow eye. Once these birds become adults their eyes are brilliant yellow.
As usual, a majority of our captures happen very early in the morning. Here, Maria gets one of our Indigo Buntings (more on them later) into a bag with help from William, one of our occasional young volunteers.
Missing from last week were the Gray Catbirds. Not that they were missing from the area but we did not catch any last week which was odd. This time of year they are numerous in the bushes and at the table. This young bird was a welcome sight.
A little later we caught another and Abe got chance to band this one.
Carolina Wrens are most sparse this time of year. All of the hatchlings are well on their way like this recapture which was born earlier in the year and is just now achieving its adult feathers. 2 Weeks ago it still retained younger plumage.
It is always nice to hear the Phoebes back in the area. Even better when you hear them and then they hit the net soon afterwards!
We find no fat deposits on this bird. Probably just settling in from a very long flight to join us for the Winter.
Common Yellowthroats are still around but not in the large numbers as a few weeks ago. The males always bring out the oohs and ahs.
Tufted Titmice are not uncommon at all around the river. We even see the previously banded birds still feeding along with the families every now and then. However, it seems to be a difficult task catching them in the first place. Today we got one of the unbanded family members.
One of our favorite birds to handle and watch as we go about our weekly routine.
We often come back to the observation of clues to evolution when handling birds. We can not resist making the comparison to dinosaurs when staring at some species' feet. Very dino-like.
You should see young birds in the nest. One might swear they are looking at a young dinosaur begging for food. Like this image Andrew took in his yard 6 years ago of a Cardinal chick next to his kitchen window.
As for the Indigo Buntings, they made up 85% of our captures today! We saw William helping load one into a bag earlier and once back at the table he and the others band one of our first of the day.
More odd was the fact that all of the Indigos we caught today were females. Not a male in the bunch.
Even more unexpected was this very young hatch year bird. Note the yellow gape at the base of the bill.
No matter how young, many birds like to take a nip at the banders before being released back into the wild.
With so many buntings to process we get a chance to let some volunteers release some of the more calm birds. William got a chance to release a few buntings this morning.
Other views of note were Maria's usual finding of a dragonfly in one of the nets. They take a lot of gentle care to remove and set free.
Maria also discovered some berries along the trail. We use to see these out at Wekiva State Park but never tracked down the species. With our trusty help from Randy and Mary we learned that they belong to Smilax pumila. Great to have an ID after all these years.
Time to go home. Apparently Andrew needs to keep a close watch on his chair. Seems young William wants to take over. Keep up the interest, William! One day this could be all yours. Someone needs to carry the flag.
We look forward to a visit from members of the OASis (Orange Audubon) next Sunday. Hopefully we can show them some interesting birds as we give them a tour of our always improving site.
Next Banding Day: Sunday, October 24th.
All nets will be opened by 7:00 A.M.