Sunday, December 4, 2011

Back to 'Normal'.

Last week was an exciting day with more birds than we usually get in a near-Winter's day. Today we slid back to a more normal day of activity to begin our December. The morning was overcast until around 9 AM and bird movement was limited.

It was a brief dawn-chorus and we still have yet to hear a Whip-poor-will this season. We caught our Whips in November the past couple of years. Instead, our first capture was a Swamp Sparrow up river in Net 20 across from the owl nest tree. This is the farthest up river we have caught a Swamp Sparrow which typically hang out in the marsh area near the lake.

Swamp Sparrow

A bit later we caught two Tufted Titmice. One was a recapture from last week and the other was a new member of the family.

Tufted Titmouse

We have been low on thrushes this year so it is always nice to get one anytime of the year. This Hermit Thrush was a recapture from 2 years ago. Instead of heading straight back into the woods, it landed in a nearby tree and watched us for a while before departing.

Hermit Thrush

Time to explore the area for other wonders as we wait for more birds. Found near the pier was a strange looking bug that Susan found. The weird part was that it was flat on the leaf and then flexed into a folded position for a while before flattening out again. After much consideration, we think that this is an intermediate form of Lady Beetles after the larval stage.

Lady Beetle

On drier ground, Maria found a Dog-faced Butterfly exploring the St, John's Wort and other plants.

Dog-faced Butterfly

Hiding in the greener plants was a large Katydid.


Though quiet all morning, the White-eyed Vireos are still finding there way back into the net lanes. This adult was first banded 3 years ago!

White-eyed Vireo

When we first recaptured this bird 2 years ago we thought it was a juvenile since the eye was mostly darker than typical adults. Noting the first capture date, it showed us it had to be an adult. Later research shows that some of these vireos in the south actually retain the darker iris so we have to go by other aging methods for our Lake Lotus family. Note how the iris on our old friend is rather broken up and darker than a usual White-eyed Vireo.

White-eyed Vireo

Andrew looks over the bird before handing it over for its safe release.

White-eyed Vireo

Maria took the bird to the side of the banding table and opened her hand. The bird refused to fly off. It wasn't stressed or cold. Just sat there for a few minutes before finally taking off.

White-eyed Vireo

The Sun finally emerged from behind the clouds but it was getting near the end of our shift by then. Time to head home. One more bird was captured as the nets were gathered.


Finally, we captured a House Wren, which are usually all over the place this time of year. Only 3 were heard today, including this recapture from a few weeks ago.

House Wren

The House Wren was recorded and released and we packed up. Next to the river, a Great-blue Heron overlooked the area as we headed out.

Great-blue Heron

Goldfinches and Waxwings are moving into the area. We don't have much chance of catching those species but it is fun to hope we will.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, December 11th.

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

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