Radar was buzzing in the pre-dawn hours giving us hope for more birds today. They did not disappoint! Plus, we captured a bird we have never caught before but that will show up later in the post. Looks like our friends from the other side mowed the net lanes making our shoes not quite as wet but the recent rains still made for a soggy morning.
To start off the morning, we recaptured a female Northern Cardinal.
Arriving on schedule, we captured two Ovenbirds this morning. Actually, we spotted an Ovenbird a week ago but it avoided the net by 2 feet.
Down at Net 18 we found a Northern Waterthrush wrapped in the net. At the same time Andrew noticed another bird at the other end of the net that was a bit of a surprise. Again, we will get to that bird near the end.
Walking the net lanes, we discovered a bright spot on a tree halfway down. This fungus was very spongy to the touch and had a bright glow even in the shade.
This fallen bit of oak hosted a clump of Resurrection Fern. This fern also covers many trees in the region and gets its name due to the fact that in drier times it appears dead but seems to come back to life once the rain falls.
Another young Carolina Wren joined us soon afterwards. We have seen our other banded Carolina Wrens hanging back in the woods so it was nice to get another new bird banded and to see that the families are still thriving.
It had been a while since we were getting birds near the table but today we caught a couple in Net 11 including this lovely White-eyed Vireo.
It must be a migrant since it was loaded with fat.
Maria snapped a shot of Ivana and Susan as they walked the lanes and talked about the issues of the day.
As the day warmed the butterflies and other insects emerged to feed. One favorite spot is next to Net 14 where a large growth of Spanish Needles and Scarlet Morning Glories are in full bloom and the Swallowtails are feeding.
Nearby, a beautiful Damselfly rests on a leaf. They often join us at the banding table, too.
O.K., the big reveal of our Bird of the Day. As mentioned earlier, as Andrew was extracting the Waterthrush from the net he noticed another bird at the other end and hoped it would not escape before he could make it over to it. However, it was heavy enough to be kept from getting out. Our new bird was a Green Heron!
Don't think we have to check the records to assume we have never caught one of these birds before. We did catch a Great Egret at a demo in Orlando Wetlands Park a few years ago but wading birds are usually too large and too far away to net.
Net 18 is situated next to a swampy area near the end of the area where the Little Wekiva River reaches Lake Lotus where Waterthrushes, sparrows, Common Yellowthroats and even the Green Herons feed. We placed it here earlier hoping to get the Waterthrushes (which is working out nicely!) and hope to get more new species as the year continues.
Green Herons are fairly secretive and skittish. We often see them through the branches from time to time and today we also noticed two in that area. Usually we only have one.
A head-on veiw makes our new bird look a lot more like a chicken.
We always note how bird feet resemble dinosaurs and the heron often grabbed Andrew's fingers as we got our quick shots.
Unfortunately, our permit does not allow us to band wading birds (or endangered species and waterfowl) so all we could do was admire this gorgeous bird a bit before releasing it back near the spot that we found it.
Overall, a great early September morning of banding! If the schedule holds based on the past few years, we should see Veerys returning this week. Weather looks to be perfect for migration for the foreseeable future!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, September 18th.
All nets will be opened by 6:40 A.M.