Sunday, October 7, 2012

Indigo Buntings Return

Still a lot of rain in the area over the past few days. The cold air just can't making it through the stalled front. Another day of wet feet. Though it did see the return of one of our favorite species. The radar looked promising for a busy day as large amounts of birds are now moving more freely as the clouds thin.

Radar Map

As proof, we had a couple good runs right off the bat with a nice mix of species.

Bird Bags

Common Yellowthroats ruled the day again and we caught a variety of ages again.

Common Yellowthroat

A Gray Catbirds were around but not like the big numbers we usually see this time of year.

Gray Catbird

Another typical species is still showing up. Ovenbirds are one of our constants from the past couple of months.


Now arriving are the Eastern Phoebes. We caught one younger bird today.

Eastern Phoebe

Probably the Bird-of-the-Day was what at first glance appeared to be an Orange-crowned Warbler. Turns out it was a Tennessee Warbler.

Tennessee Warbler

This is the first Tennessee Warbler we have banded out here. An excellent capture.

Tennessee Warbler

Vying for BOTD are the returning Indigo Buntings referenced in our opening paragraph. They are now being heard and captured up and down the river. First ones we banded were young females.

Indigo Bunting

Fortunately we also captured a male to give us a bit more color.

Indigo Bunting

Our final Indigo was an adult female. If this year is anything like last year, we should be getting a lot of buntings in the next couple of weeks.

Indigo Bunting

In the middle of our morning we caught a female Painted Bunting. Is this the mother to our earlier captured young birds? Perhaps. We do believe they are breeding on site. Now we just need Dad!

Painted Bunting

To round out our captures, we found a Black-throated Blue Warbler waiting for us in Net 16. A beautiful male.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Another couple of interesting observations were made today. As mentioned, we have still been having rains in the area. In fact, the river was a lot higher than anticipated and setting our last net in the willows was almost not possible. We splashed to it and only had it half-way open.

Next to the trail, a colony of Fire Ants were trying to escape the flood by forming an ant bridge that winded around a several-foot long path.

Fire Ants

One close-up shows how thousands of ants gather together, sacrificing themselves for the greater purpose of evacuating the colony.

Fire Ants

Some ants organized others while some carried out the larvae to safety. A remarkable sight, overall.

Fire Ants

Not too far away, a clump of grasses held up a nest near the mouth of the river. Seems to be rather new as we have never seen it before. Not sure of the species that built it but we are still researching.


A nice day. Finally getting the expected numbers now that the front is slowly falling apart. Just need it to get out of here completely and return more birds. And drier air!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, October 14th.
All nets will be opened by 6:55 A.M.

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