Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Soggy End to September

For the past couple of nights, Central Florida has been in a pattern of Sea Breeze storm system that have begun late in the afternoon and last well into the night. We weren't expecting the clear skies by morning to leave us with such a saturated banding site before sunrise. Must have really rained here because our feet were soaked from beginning to end. Though the stars and rising moon shined brightly, every tree still dripped from the deluge.

This meant that birds may stay put until the day warmed up. A few did venture out, but we actually did not capture our first bird until nearly 2 hours after we began. A few birds were bathing and preening but not much was flying about. Many Common Yellowthroat were seen and heard as were the locals. The owls and hawks made fly-bys to find their spots for the morning but our first capture was a new female Northern Cardinal.

Northern Cardinal

Kind of a surprise to see unbanded birds still around. They must have had some good broods the past year or so. We even caught another second year female later. A Northern Waterthrush was spotted just around dawn down by Net 18. Two hours later, we had it at the banding table. Through the fogging camera lens (oh, it was humid) it says, "Let me go!" which we did immediately after this shot.

Northern Waterthrush

As mentioned, Common Yellowthroats were heard early in the day and they continued calling all morning. Eventually, we captured a female that was feeding closer to the banding table in a net that is historically the best spot for this species. We hope to get more next week and should be seeing buntings very soon, too.

Common Yellowthroat

A couple of birds were seen escaping capture including a Brown Thrasher (which often escape due to their size). Soon after that loss, however, we caught one of our favorite birds, a Black-throated Blue Warbler. This adult male was a very bright spot during the soggy day.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

There were some feeding flocks that teased us for a while. Mainly Tutfed Titmice, White-eyed Vireos, Yellow-throated Warblers, and Carolina Wrens. Next week, October will finally arrive. The first couple weeks of October are typically the peak of migration season for land birds here. Last year was our biggest totals for single days at Lotus. Fingers are crossed to surpass that now that we have even more nets.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, October 2nd (maybe another day if the radar looks like the push is on!).

Update: We will band Saturday to try an get any new migrants riding this cold front. Both days will start at the same time.

All nets will be opened by 6:50 A.M.

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