We ended 2011 with a new idea and prepare for a New Year. The thought of trying a new net location was too strong to ignore for Andrew so he set one up near the mouth or the river where it enters Lake Lotus. Took a bit of time to get things set up this morning but we did run the net for a short time. The day, overall, was subdued by strong northerly winds blowing right off the lake toward the banding site. It ended with a bang, though.
We began the day with a recaptured Northern Cardinal and a new Gray Catbird.
A bit later we managed to get a Brown Thrasher and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Things got really quiet after that until another male Ruby-crowned Kinglet returned to us. We first banded this guy last year. Still looking good.
As we waited, we got Net 21 set up in the willows. This area is really teaming with activity in the Winter but we have only been accessing it on foot to bird over the past year. Efforts were increased to extend the trail to make it farther out to the lake this Fall.
It was noticed that something had been scratching up the soil near the middle of the net lanes. It was in an odd 'X' shape but we also found a tell-tale print near the river. The otters are having a lot of fun up and down the river.
Nearby, a small group of Sawfly larva still chomp on one of the young pines planted by the Lake Lotus rangers. Seems they enjoy blowing bubbles!
Hiding in the vegetation, a Green Anole rests.
Frank came over to discuss some issues and we showed him the new net set up. He agreed it should be a good spot. Here, Frank, Andrew, and Charles head back up the lanes to wait for the next wave.
Then the fun began! This is Andrew returning from the next trip.
Heading down to check the new net, Andrew found a Kinglet in Net 9 and two Western Palm Warblers in Net 10. Typically, Palm Warblers have remained well South of the nets. Two other individuals bounced out of the nets as they examined their captured friends.
One of the most abundant wintering birds in Central Florida (along with Myrtle Warblers), Palm Warblers are hard to miss. They are the only warbler that constantly bobs its tail up and down and that behavior is easily spotted from a distance. Here, we can easily see the difference between an adult and a juvenile with more tan feather edges.
Adults also have very bright undertail coverts like this bird. Very exciting to finally start catching Palms again. We used to catch them sporadically at Wekiva State Park.
Meanwhile, Net 21 was already producing captures! Resting in the net was an Eastern Phoebe...
...and an Orange-crowned Warbler! This warbler was seen feeding in the same area last week with other birds striking the interest in setting the net here.
As those birds were being brought in, Maria had her hands full with a recaptured Brown Thrasher. The thrasher population is doing very well this year.
Finally, there were a couple of thrush species around the banding table today. A Swainson's Thrush hopped around for a while near the table and Maria had excellent views of a Hermit Thrush feeding on Beauty Berries.
Overall, an excellent day. New net set up and showing results already and a nice variety of birds, including a new species to band here. Going to be tough to not be out for the next couple of weeks but the holidays fall on Sunday this year. So, this wraps up 2011 for us. Can't wait for what we will find in 2012!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, January 8th.
All nets will be opened by 6:40 A.M.