Sunday, May 1, 2011

An Interesting Flurry and Brand New Captures

A pretty quiet day. Migration has nearly run down. No Catbirds captured and they are typically the last to leave. So, we settle in for a couple weeks waiting for babies and seeing what else we can net. Should be locals for awhile.

In fact, the first bird was a Carolina Wren which actually managed to escape the bag as it was being brought back to the table. Shortly, thereafter we think it was the same escapee we caught before. An adult recapture. Andrew got the bird processed as William looked on.

Carolina Wren

Next, William got to release the bird back into the wild.

Carolina Wren

Grew quiet again for a while but we soon made a great capture. A pair of Great-crested Flycatchers! We would rarely caught some at Wekiva but these are the first for Lake lotus. Abe and Susan got to remove them from the net.

Great-crested Flycatcher

We have been waiting for this high-flying bird to drop lower as they are all over the park right now. Maybe we can get them to use on of the bird boxes this year.

Great-crested Flycatcher

Abe banded one bird and Maggie got the other. Maggie has accepted a job up North so this was her last day with us for now. She and Abe began their visits with our first ever Whip-poor-will and they get to leave with our first Great-crested Flycatchers. Nice bookends, yes?

Great-crested Flycatcher

We will miss you Maggie!

Flycatchers are amazing birds. Glad we got some good close looks this morning.

Great-crested Flycatcher

As Richard adjusted some nest boxes in the area he discovered some Flying Squirrels in box #4. A good chance for others to see these cute little natives. William got the first opportunity to head up the ladder to get a glimpse.

Flying Squirrel

Here is what a resting bunch of these nocturnal creatures looks like in a bird box.

Flying Squirrel

Other things were on the wing like dragonflies. Many were released after getting tangled up. However, it seems one could not escape before being attacked by a Yellow Jacket!

Yellow Jacket

In another sign of predation, a caterpillar was found covered in wasp eggs down the net lane. The young will emerge and feast on the helpless caterpillar.


We weren't done with birds yet. We caught our 3rd Downy Woodpecker of the season. Another nice male.

Downy Woodpecker

Pairs are feeding young right now in several spots. Maggie wanted a shot of that dinosaur foot.

Downy Woodpecker

As we began to wind up the morning we started to hear a long-forgotten call. Andrew was sure it belonged to Summer Tanagers. After some careful watching, we finally spotted at least 3 chasing each other through the oaks. Bill got a distant flash of red in the branches.

Summer Tanager

Below, Alligator Gar cruise the river.

Alligator Gar

Other woodpeckers are raising young, too. Red-bellied Woodpeckers are finding nesting cavities down the net lanes.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

We decided it was about time to go home as we watched the Tanagers when Christine yelled out, "Birds!". In net #4 there was our first expected group of Carolina Wren babies all within inches of each other.

Carolina Wren

They seem a little overdue, but these birds do seem older than ones we have captured in the past so it makes sense. Note the yellowish gape still present on this bird.

Carolina Wren

As we point out, Carolina Wrens acquire more spots as they age. House Wrens, on the other hand, loose their spots. This young bird was just starting to get those spots that will get larger as it grows.

Carolina Wren

So many photos, you might think we had a nice busy day. It was pretty quiet, actually, with 9 birds processed. Still an interesting morning. Next week is suppose to bring a couple of fronts and it should mark the end of Spring migration. Then we settle in for the increasing heat and wind down the season.

More installed native trees are in place. In August we will plant some Blackberries and prepare for the next session, possibly adding one more net to bring our total to 20.

Now we wait for missing rains.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, May 8th.

All nets will be opened by 6:10 A.M.

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