Sunday, January 30, 2011

"The Fog Creeps in on Little Cat Feet"

Pre-dawn began nice enough with the moon sitting just beneath Venus in the morning sky. Then the fog moved in. It was difficult to see beyond the light of the headlamps as we set nets. The veil persisted for much of the morning, clearing fully just as we packed up at 10.

Still, we managed at least 12 birds though almost all were recaptures with Northern Cardinals leading the list. The second bird of the day was a recap of our 2nd Whip-poor-will which showed up in the same net it was first captured in though only a few inches from its first capture. Interesting.

We got some more good close-ups of our returning bird.


Then, Grace got to release our friend.

Grace and Whip-poor-will

Another interesting result for the day was that almost all of the birds captured today were in the same general area between nets 7, 1, 12, and 14 (which are clustered roughly 50 yards apart) and this is a region that we normally do not catch a lot of birds. Perhaps the fog contained them in this zone? We do know that a few Cardinals have taken up spaces here lately and we caught most of them there.

Northern Cardinal

Here is a female caught in net 14.

Northern Cardinal

Abe is still given the bulk of the banding right now and we did get a brand new Hermit Thrush near the Cardinals.

Hermit Thrush

We got a nice range of species today, including a Gray Catbird.

Gray Catbird

Then a House Wren up near the pines.

House Wren

In the busy ring of nets we got one of our local Brown Thrashers.

Brown Thrasher

While the gang was checking the nets near the pier, Grace and Maggie managed to out flank and flush a Mourning Dove into a net. We catch very few of them but they are present on most days. They are large enough to escape the nets most times.

Mourning Dove

Our main excitement of the morning was adding a new net to our expanding reach in the Lotus area. Maggie donated a new net for Christmas and it arrived for us to place farther down the lanes. We decided to place it in a spot that often finds visiting Waterthrushes in season and many other species fly through the Cypress and Maple trees in this zone. We hope to capture more species here as our native trees mature in other areas.

Here, Maggie and Grace unfurl our new net (#18) as we all pitched in to get it ready for a full placement for next week. Note the fog, still clinging to the trees near the lake.

New Net

Maggie managed a shot of Grace seen through a Spider's web. Slight fog always reveals all of them hanging around by coating them in small water droplets.

Grace framed in a Spider's web

Finally, we all enjoyed views of a pair of Gulf Fritillaries hanging on through the dew-soaked morning. Their silver spots were easily seen in the headlamps before dawn and they were still warming up before we left for the day.

Gulf Fritillaries

This species loves Passion Vine that grows quite well along the river so we get to enjoy them most of the year.

Another set of fronts are moving down. We shall see how they affect birds movements toward the North.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, February 6th.

All nets will be opened by 6:40 A.M.

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