Good to be back after the Spring Break. Weather is a bit warmer but still humid after the previous day's rain. Time to see what awaits us this morning. We heard the owls briefly but had a hard time seeing them during our stay. They were moving around a lot with no sign of chicks yet.
Another nice early sound was our first Chuck-wills-widow calling across the river. Finally.
Most of our local birds we captured today were all showing brood patches indicating nesting is in full effect. Example number one was one of the Carolina Wrens we processed.
Getting more active, Gray Catbirds are hitting the nests more often as they begin to prepare for departure.
We also captured several Northern Cardinals, including a female banded years ago and even some new adult males. More surprising, however, were the House Wrens we recaptured. They have been absent for a while but they must also be preparing to leave soon. This bird was just bored during our photo shoot.
Down near the lake, we caught another nice surprise. A Swamp Sparrow with a very rufus cap. Breeding plumage coming into full view.
We had a little lull in activity so we got a chance to look around while we waited. Resting on Elderberry flowers was a nice Green Darner. There were several dragonfly species out today including several that got caught in the nets and we had to gently extract them.
Deeper in the woods there are caterpillars feasting on Pokeweed. This appears to be a type of Tussock Moth.
Richard checked the nest boxes and, as usual, found one with a family of Flying Squirrels. Cute as can be.
Red-winged Blackbirds are getting more noisy and gathering nesting material. We had hoped to add to our captures of this species but they seem more busy setting territory than flying too much. This bird was signing out on the cattails as the Sun rose.
The morning wore on and we later recaptured a pair of Tufted Titmice in separate nets minutes apart. One was carrying nesting material that remained in the net.
They both actually had brood patches but the second one displayed a remarkable one.
Time was ticking down on the end of the day when Andrew made it back to Net 21 to find the Bird-of-the-Day. A female Painted Bunting!
Typically, we do not start catching Buntings until the Fall. This marks the earliest in the year that we have ever caught this species. Not complaining.
Add another Northern Cardinal as the Bunting was walked back and we closed with a very good day. On the way home, Andrew found yet another surprising bird near the banding site. A lone female Hooded Merganser still rested in the pond in Maitland Center. Way past their usual time period.
Surprises were all over for the day, right? Not yet! When Andrew got to his house he found the next one. 3 newly hatched Carolina Wrens were being escorted around his yard for their first big day out.
Migration picks up any time. Next few weeks could be fun. Hotter than typical this time of year, but... .
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 8th.
All nets will be opened by 6:40 A.M.