Radar looked promising at 4:30 AM. What would we find today? A lot of babies and a new surprise. I will have to save the surprise for the end but it was the first bird captured today. At about 5:30 AM. Can you guess?
We will start with our only migrants for the day. Two adult male Common Yellowthroats. Never get tired of them despite how tangled they can get.
We captured a couple of new adult male Cardinals and one recaptured female. Thought we had caught all of our locals by now. We also captured a number of Carolina Wrens. Two adult recaptures, two juvenile recaptures (banded last week), and 3 new juveniles.
Other baby captures included 3 juvenile Tufted Titmice. A whole family was feeding near the river and Andrew watched as the first two flew into Net 1. He was waiting for more to join them but with Barred Owls around lately he decided to go get them though the owls were not in sight. Anything cuter than a newly fledged Titmouse? We think not.
Turns out that getting them then was a good idea. As the birds were being extracted we heard the adult Titmice getting upset. Not with us. Glancing to our right we found the source of the anger.
Along the way, we caught the two adult Titmice and one more juvenile. One of the adults was actually one of our first Titmice ever banded back in 2008! Family is still going strong.
Ready for the surprise catch? Andrew arrives at the banding site an hour and a half before sunrise to begin setting nets. Based on past capture rates in certain spots, selected nets are set first along the lanes before other volunteers arrive to catch up on the remaining nets and we work our way out to the end and back to the table. Susan arrived a bit later and found our new bird in one of those first nets.
An Eastern Screech Owl! A first ever wild capture for Wekiva banding stations. We do band rehabilitated Screech Owls from time to time. We weren't sure of the disposition of this species so we donned a glove just in case. Turns out this bird was really quite docile.
We were scrambling for size 5 bands as we do not usually stock up on larger sizes out here. The largest we rarely use is size 3 for Mourning Doves.
The owl was banded and so calm that it posed for several photos.
This is an adult Red-morph Screen Owl. Florida also has Gray-morph versions. Like the one Andrew sometimes gets in his yard in Orlando.
Susan got a beautiful shot before the owl was released. It never tried to use its claws but did attempt a quick nip at the gloved hand before release. Gorgeous.
One last shot from the morning. The Button Bush are blooming along the river. Such an interesting flower.
Let's see if we get any last migrants before we begin to wrap up the 3rd Session in June.
NOTE: No banding on the 15th. Rain in the forecast.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, May 22nd.
All nets will be opened by 6:00 A.M.