As Maria arrived, she found a burrow by the front fence. Gopher?
We had our fingers crossed for at least some birds to show to the anticipated arrival of members of the Orange Audubon a bit later in the morning. Early birds don't wait, however, and we had to process a few birds before the visitors showed up. Including a couple of Indigo Buntings.
Then things got quiet. REAL quiet. We took the group down the net lanes explaining the set up and did a little bird watching and gave some history along the way. Once we moved out of the way of Net 9 a waiting bird made its break for it. Right into the net. We had one of our Brown Thrashers to show off.
Andrew prepares to process our Brown Thrasher
One of the visitors was Milton Heiberg, one of our well-known local photographers. He graciously contributed several photos for this post. Click on his name back there to open his site in a new window.
Andrew tightens the band on a previously banded Brown Thrasher
Things were really slow compared to the beginning of the month, as expected, but it was a while before we got our next birds. We finally managed another Ovenbird (the first was just after sunrise and was a recapture) and the gang gathered around for a lot of photos.
A newly captured Ovenbird gets it's own special number
These chunky warblers are very silent in the hand but rather striking to look at. Especially when you can get a close-up of their head stripe.
Next up, a Gray Catbird. Though a common visitor during the Fall through Spring, this season it seems that their numbers are down a bit.
The OASis members were not too disappointed by the shortage of bird. At least we had a few banding opportunities to share with them.
Milton Heiberg focuses in for a shot of the Catbird to be extracted from the bird bag.
Cameras were clicking away throughout the morning.
Our newest Catbird poses once more before being released.
As we like to point out, when the birds aren't flying we study the area around us for flora and fauna. Almost stepped upon, Bill found an Imperial Moth along the trail. Nice spotting!
Not often seen but they are local breeders. Beautiful moths.
Other insects were discovered along the net lanes. Remind us to be careful the next time we start pulling plants again!
We continued our trek up and down the trail. Each time revealed different birds to watch ("Kingfisher!", "Red-bellied Woodpecker!", "Tufted Titmouse!") and more info to be given out by the banding group.
Richard offers flyers on native plants
We finally decided to wrap up the day about 10 AM. Fortunately, we captures a couple more birds just as we started to fold nets. Interestingly, Andrew found a normally high-feeding bird very low in one of the nets at the end of the net lane.
As we pointed out, most of the time one usually sees these birds from beneath as they feed in the mid to high story in the trees. The female must have been chasing an insect all the way toward the ground.
Tour leader Gallus Quigley gets to hold a Redstart for the first time
Plenty of insects are around for this good looking girl. She should make the most of it in this bountiful habitat.
As the main group made the way back with the Redstart, Maria was busy extracting a bird from Net 11. One quick glance made it appear as an adult female Common Yellowthroat. Closer examination revealed otherwise. Once we could see the whole face...
First year Male Common Yellowthroat
Young males differ from females by the incoming black feathers around the chin and cheek area. Another documentation here, Common Yellowthroats hate the sound of digital SLRs about the take a photo. They are the most sensitive species we have found and most of the pictures taken with those cameras look about like this!
The OASis crowd headed for the park proper across the river and we headed home. Not a bad day but things are easing into the Winter residents being the only thing around. We have a short time to capture some more migrants before then but we will also get ready to do more site work and wish for a warmer Winter than last year!
Thanks for stopping by to all of the Audubon members. We hope you had a great time. Swing by anytime.
Next week we start in the dark of Halloween but in the morning. Looking for some treats.
Next Banding Day: Sunday, October 31th.
All nets will be opened by 7:00 A.M.