Sunday, August 26, 2012

Storm Watch

Tropical Storm Isaac was closing in on the edge of southern Florida but the radar indicated that we could probably get our day of banding in before the rain arrived. All we needed was a few hours on this Sunday morning. A large batch of storms were being pushed toward Central Florida ahead of the tropical weather so we headed out, fingers crossed.

We were secretly hoping for some sort of fall-out ahead of the weather but it was not to be. We began the day with a couple of Carolina Wrens and then things grew quiet. As we were setting nets in the dark we could see the reflections of barricades across the river. Odd. Just after daylight, Rangers Frank and Gary stopped by to ask if we had seen the dock. Nope. But on clearer inspection...


The dock is part of the new school programs being developed for the park by the rangers and children will get a chance to sample the waters, its flow rates, and other data during their field trips visits. Looks promising. Might provide some good views of gators from time to time, also.

Another item not noticed in the dark was a very large fungi along the net lanes.


Just how large? Here is a shot with Andrew's simple cell phone laid upon it. The phone is 4 1/4 inches so this fungi is about 8 inches across!


Out near the pier, a Viceroy Butterfly flitted along the blades of the Guinea Grass.


The rest of our day was pretty uneventful and we were wondering if we could even make our last year's date of 3 birds. Fortunately, some Downy Woodpeckers were foraging along the mouth of the river and helped us beat our record of 2011 of this week. Susan was busy with a couple of clingy birds before we headed back to the table.

Downy Woodpecker

The interesting thing was that we caught two females but the male was basically oblivious to their calls and continued to feed through the willows.

Downy Woodpecker

At least he provided some good photo ops as we got the females into bags.

Downy Woodpecker

Back at the table, we banded the woodpeckers and took the youngest back to where Dad was for release.

Downy Woodpecker

As we ended our day, we discovered some fun insects like this Webworm Moth on some branches.

Webword Moth

Bob made a find right near the table that made us all pause. It was a small Stink Bug with a nearly smiling face on its back. Still trying to decide on the exact species.

Stink Bug

While Andrew got the photos of the Stink Bug, he noticed a grasshopper hiding nearby. The antennae were three times as large as the critter itself.


Nets were gathered and the rain hit just as we got to our cars. Great timing. We should have a better weather next week and the counts should improve during our next attempts. Gearing up for a couple weeks from now when a larger amount of migrants flow through.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, September 2nd.
All nets will be opened by 6:30 A.M.

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