Today was the 1st annual Lake Apopka Wildlife and Birdapalooza festival held at Magnolia Park on the shore of Lake Apopka. We were asked to put on a banding demonstration by the Orange County Audubon recently and decided it would be a good thing to join in on. Overall, it was a good day. Tweaks will be made to increase our captures for the next event. Reports are that around 4.400 vistors made it out for this first happening.
We began setting nets just after 7 AM and had everything in oder by 8 AM. The crew relaxed for a few moments to enjoy muffins and prepare for the crowds. Andrew, Bob, Richard, and Susan were on hand to man the event.
Our friend, Paul Hueber, was there to take a tally of birds seen in the park and reports from tour goers.
Our first bird of the day was a Carolina Wren with a very prominent brood patch. She must have a nest started nearby.
Down near the lake, an Eastern Phoebe flitted through the trees.
Flying in directly toward us, a pair of Mottled Ducks landed near the shore.
Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warblers gathered and scooped up insects among the reeds, as well.
Back at the table, we captured a couple of Northern Cardinals. Many birds of this species were around today and we ended up banding several of them. It will be interesting to see if we recapture any of them next year. Cardinals give a good bite, thus the stick to give them something else to focus on.
Back at the lake, Forster's Terns cruise the shoreline.
Despite their name, Moon Glorys begin to bloom in the early morning and brighten up the paths along the lake.
Our friend Carol McCorkle from the Avian Reconditioning Center in Apopka gave a presentation on stage. She brought out one of their Bald Eagles to start the show.
One of the birds out in the crowd was a Red-shouldered Hawk which suffered an injured eye and will remain in the ARC facilities for care.
Next up was a Barn Owl. One of our most interesting, and secretive, owls in Florida.
The last bird in Carol's presentation was an American Kestrel. Tiny bird. Big appetite.
We caught another Yellow-rumped Warbler and had some guests around to watch the banding process.
We allowed on of the guests to release the bird.
Soon, a male Northern Cardinal to add to the list. They were hiding in the brush all day.
The last hiking tour of the day stopped by just in time to see a banding demo.
After the bird was banded and released, Susan provided more information about tracking banding birds.
Up by the fence, Palm Warblers were beginning to feed in the grass. Always impressive to see these birds transitioning into their Spring plumage.
Andrew was making one last check of the nets when he heard something drop into the branches overhead. Squirrel? Nope.
A Yellow Rat Snake was 'hanging out' it the tree searching for food. Finally, it showed its face from behind the leaves.
All in all a great day for the 1st annual event. We will make some tweaks by next year and look forward to our involvement in 2014.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 17th.
All nets will be opened by 7:00 A.M.