Sunday, December 9, 2012

Foggy Start/Bright Finish

We arrived at the site revealing the 4th day in a row of heavy fog in the Central Florida area. We set nets and waiting until dawn but not many birds were moving. While waiting for the next net run, Bob and Greg relax at the banding area.


Well after sunrise and the fog is still thick as demonstrated by scanning the lake. The Window on the Lake is just becoming visible. Not even the lake residents were out in this soup.


Finally, Charles found our first bird of the morning. A young Gray Catbird.

Gray Catbird

A bit later we recaptured a White-eyed Vireo.

White-eyed Vireo

Quiet time leads to bird watching. Out near the lake, a few birds are feeding through the willows and cattails. One bird was a female Downy Woodpecker. Not just any Downy. It is one of our banded females. The band has been circled since it is partially hidden by the branch.

Downy Woodpecker

Also near the lake, we noticed a flowering plant that was usually seen only around the pier and now seems to be spreading our way. Christine did some searching and we believe it to be a Bur-Marigold species. Hard to get a shot of them here as they point toward the rising Sun.


Time wore on and it was looking like it was going to be difficult to get more birds today in these conditions. After a while, Andrew managed to talk an Orange-crowned Warbler into Net 21. The Sun was beginning to burn off the thinning overcast.

Orange-crowned Warbler

We decided to stay open for just a little longer since the light was finally streaming through. However, along with the welcoming sunlight was a quick increase in the winds. Leaves began gathering in the nets and the decision was made to close up. We headed up the trail and plucked leaves and shut nets along the way.

Greg had gone up ahead of the crew and he soon was heading back asking for bags. Seems our fortunes just changed. Greg was carrying a Blue-headed Vireo back to the table on the way to get more bags and reporting there were at least a dozen more birds out near the lake!

There were a total of 15 birds in Net 21! Most were Palm Warblers but there was that vireo and in the center of the net was a Downy Woodpecker. The same one we were watching earlier in the day.

Downy Woodpecker

Our guess is that the Downy flew into the net first and began making noise trying to escape. This attracted a nearby flock of feeding birds straight into the net. Every bird we caught on this round entered the net on the same side and were arranged around the woodpecker. Twelve of the flock were Eastern Palm Warblers.

Eastern Palm Warbler

Eastern Palm Warblers usually seem to hang out in drier spots but it is nice to see so much yellow up close.

Eastern Palm Warbler

The other birds were the typically more common, duller Western Palm Warblers.

Western Palm Warbler

We don't catch a lot of Palm Warblers we we catch even fewer Blue-headed Vireos as they tend to prefer higher branches. For that reason we will call this one our Bird-of-the-Day, even though we had fifteen.

Blue-headed Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo are one of Greg's favorites. We heard several overhead at the banding table as we banded the flock of Palm Warblers.

Blue-headed Vireo

This bird's eyes were so dark that it was hard to tell they were not completely black. However, Bob got a side shot that shows that actual color is hiding in there.

Blue-headed Vireo

So, the Sun broke through in time to help us get an excellent catch before we headed home. Birds go where they wanna. Glad we waited a few more minutes today and look forward to next weekend.
NOTE: Circumstances have led us to take a break. No banding 12/16th and cold weather has canceled our planned 23rd. Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, December 30th.
All nets will be opened by 6:45 A.M.

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