What would today bring? Lingering migrants? Newly fledged young? Not in the nets. We captured a whopping one bird today. A Carolina Wren that we actually caught last week, too.
There was a nice surprise just after the nets were set by sunrise. A call that seemed familiar yet strange. It took a few minutes but it was solved as the recollections of our former banding site rushed back and it was happily recognized as calling Eastern Towhees. Andrew crossed the river to try for a view of the birds but they were hidden deep in the willows between the boardwalk and the lake. Instead, another stranger was emerging from the woods...
Maria, in turn, took her view of Andrew crossing the shallow river back to the banding side. How they got photos of each other with arms akimbo we may never know.
Of course, we know what to do when the birds aren't cooperating. Nature watching! You find all sorts of things of interest like this Lubber Grasshopper. They emerge as black with red lines and then transform into black and yellow. The most interesting part is that you can see the beginning of the final phase underway. The black exoskeleton is starting to peel, exposing the orange adult form lurking underneath.
A little beetle rests on a a leaf. We were kindly informed that it is a Groundselbush Beetle, Trirhabda bacharidis. (Thanks, Mary!)
Not much was happening out on the lake, either. Only Common Gallinules and some blooming Water Cowbane (or Common Water Dropwort), (Oxypolis filiformis).
On the edge of the woods the Blackberries are finally baring fruit.
We are also still finding Common Checkered Skippers. Once you find one you seem to see them everywhere!
Ah, birds at last! Well, the flock of Cedar Waxwings are still cleaning the cherry tree of berries.
Along the net lanes we found several green and black flies hovering in the air at eye level.
A Ladybug ended up in a net and was placed back onto a leaf. Definitely needed a picture.
The morning wore on and dragonflies began to take wing along the river. Here, an Eastern Pondhawk, (Erythemis simplicicollis) lands on a grass stalk. (Thanks, again, Mary!!)
Beginning to head toward full flower are the stands of Elderberry. The Red-bellied Woodpeckers love the non-toxic, black fruit. Maybe we should made jam this year...
One reason the end of the net lanes are free of smaller birds is that they are not wanting to be near the patrolling hawks. A pair of Red-shouldered Hawks pretty much have this area covered.
You never know what you will find. Andrew was looking for something completely different when he looked into the river and found this.
Not the first time we have seen this gator this far up the river but still unexpected. Notice the way it is floating with its back legs resting on the river bed.
Perhaps it is looking for an easier meal like these nesting Sunfish.
See, we can still fill a long post despite the lack of birds! Another event that happened was that Richard and Maria went out to Lawton Elementary School in Oviedo to provide information about bird banding for the kids throughout the day.
Somehow, Maria still managed to find a snake even in the concrete jungle.
Forecast is calling for a better chance of rain for the next week. It might make the river rise too much for crossing. That will be fine as long as we catch more birds.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, May 13th.
All nets will be opened by 6:10 A.M.