Sunday, February 24, 2013

Myrtles Save the Day

Birds are back on territory and singing away like mad. Problem is, they are calling more than flying. We had a fairly slow morning until the very end. More on that as we proceed, but first, we thought we would share a discovery from the day before.

Andrew had to return the poles that were used at the Orlando Wetlands Festival (that long report in below) and once things were in place, he did a bit of birding. Down near the end of the net lanes he nearly walked into an impressive beast. A three foot long Snapping Turtle! It was sitting next to our small bridge and soon turned and headed back into the marsh.

Common Snapping Turtle

We caught a new Gray Catbird to start the day. Becki got the pleasure of collecting data on our new capture.

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbirds should be here a month or so more before heading back out of Florida to breed.

Gray Catbird

Greg got a recaptured House Wren. Greg has accepted a position doing Grasshopper Sparrow monitoring farther south so this is his last weekly morning with us. We were hoping to get some new birds for him to band before leaving and we did by the end of the morning.

Greg Thompson

A close up look at the wintering House Wren.

House Wren

Not a lot of Tent Caterpillars in the area so far but there is a pretty impressive colony next to Net 14.

Tent Caterpillars

Took a while but we finally got a recaptured Northern Cardinal. This bird has been recaptured many times after first being banded a couple of years ago.

Northern Cardinal

Besides the birds, we get at least one dragonfly in the nets. Our friend Paul Hueber recognized it as a female Florida Cruiser Dragonfly. Fairly rare visitor, he adds.

Florida Cruiser Dragonfly

Warblers were moving at last but they were staying up in the tree tops. We watched for a while as one warbler after another flew over Net 21. As their numbers increased, however, a few flew lower and we captured two Myrtle Warblers. As we brought them back to the table, a huge feeding flock came in over the river. Though most birds stayed high, a few dropped low and also hit the nets. Here, Becki shows Bob the best way to remove a bird.

Myrtle Warbler

We had a nice mix of Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warblers. A juvenile male, a couple of adult females and a male molting into adult plumage. They will look very different in a few short weeks before heading North.

Myrtle Warbler

We will be watching an approaching cold front which may cancel our next Sunday if the temperatures drop too low or if the winds get too high. Check back for any updates by Saturday evening.

Good luck to Greg and the Grasshopper Sparrows!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 3rd.
All nets will be opened by 6:20 A.M.

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