Sunday, March 3, 2013

In Like a Lion

It has been said that "March comes in like a lion" since it can be cold and windy at the beginning of the month. Today is no exception, finding us bundled up in expectation of near freezing conditions. The winds were forecast to increase as the morning worn on. It also came in like a lion as we captured the most birds of any past early March banding effort. That more than warmed us for a while.

Over the years, we have watched as Yellow-rumped Warblers migrated through the area during the chilly months but always seemed to stay out in the willows by the lake and we rarely captured any of them. Maybe a couple over the years here at Lake Lotus. We even set up net 21 late last Winter specifically to increase our chances but just missed the migration out. Today, we captured...25. In many nets up and down the river.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

We were catching them in 4s and 5s even as the wind did finally begin to blow and inflate the nets. They were of every make and model. Here, an adult male is quickly transitioning in to its colorful Spring plumage.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

One batch of Yellow-rumps captured together in Net 18 had us scratching our heads. All of these birds had a yellow-ish wash on their faces and throats. Well, we know that the Audubon's subspecies have yellow throats...

Yellow-rumped Warbler

This bird had an even deeper yellow all over.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Not convinced they are Audubon's yet. More research is ongoing. We can't recall ever seeing this before in Florida. Even more odd that they were captured all together.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

The winds were still rising and we know we lost a lot of possible captures because of it. A few birds were seen not getting caught as they flew against open nets, in fact. We could have had a record day. Oh, well. At least we did start catching something different. Our first Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the day.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Seems like most of the birds are flying in the park more than out on the lake. Only a pair of Osprey and this White Ibis were in the air.

White Ibis

In one batch of Yellow-rumps there was another bird in the mix. An Eastern Palm Warbler added even more yellow to the day.

Eastern Palm Warbler

We caught another Ruby-crowned Kinglet which we initially banded a couple months ago. When we first banded it we only saw one orange-red crown feather. Now it has several.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

As we folded up the nets and carried our next collection of warblers back to the table, a Red-bellied Woodpecker tries to hide behind an oak tree.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

A celebration of Yellow-rumped Warblers. If only we could have stayed longer. As we banded the last few birds Yellow-rumped Warblers were feeding and landing all around us at the table. Remarkable. Maybe they will still be in the neighborhood next weekend.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Speaking of the weekend, we have been asked to put on a banding demonstration for the 1st annual Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival & Birdapalooza on the Eastern Shore of Lake Apopka at Magnolia Park. Click the link for more information. No idea what we might catch.

!!Reminder!! Time to Spring forward! Daylight Savings Time resets Saturday night.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 10th.
All nets will be opened by 7:10 A.M.

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