Sunday, May 26, 2013

Session 5 Comes to an End

We had to miss another week in May due to rain but we got the final Sunday for Session 5 in with no problem. Migration came to an end about a week ago, though, so it was definitely quieter along the net lanes. We still found enough to keep us busy and interested.

Many fledgling are coming out to play. We band what we can but some we just have to watch like these Red-shouldered Hawks. The adult is on the left next to one of the two juveniles from the nest.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Thankfully, this year has been cooler and less humid and the river gave up a steady mist all morning.

River Mist

Most of our captures today were Carolina Wrens, young and old.

Carolina Wren

Behind Net 17 is a stand of dead trees. Woodpeckers love them and Becki found a Downy Woodpecker pair returning to the nest they have hollowed out. The male, at least, is banded. We could hear the new babies calling from inside the trunk.

Downy Woodpecker

Lynn was finding all sorts of things along the lanes. Dragonflies are everywhere including this Needham's Skimmer.

Needham's Skimmer

Smaller Damselflies prefer the shadier areas. This male Blue-ringed Dancer rested on one of our 'bridges'.


A female Blue-ringed Dancer liked to hang out in the grasses.


In a lower branch over the river, a Barred Owl surveyed the water and grasses for most of the morning.

Barred Owl

Behind the Downy nest we found another species using the trees. A Red-bellied Woodpecker flew over and into a nest hole.

Red-bellied Woodpecker,

The Red-bellied Woodpecker stayed in the nest for a while before flying off for another buggy meal.

Red-bellied Woodpecker,

Down near the marsh, where Andrew nearly stepped on a snapping turtle earlier, an appropriately named Marsh Rabbit tried to avoid detection. This is only the 2nd sighting of a rabbit out here.

Marsh Rabbit

While hoping another Carolina Wren would fly into Net 21 a Blue Jay beat it to the punch. From out of nowhere it flew straight past the wren into the net. Becki banded the bird back at the table.

Blue Jay

The Blue Jay, like most every other local bird we have captured the past couple of months, showed a brood patch.

Blue Jay

A juvenile Bald Eagle flew over toward Lake Lotus later in the morning.

Bald Eagle

On the final check of the nets Andrew heard a buzz off to the right. He discovered it came from a mating pair of Robber Flies. They were pointed out to Lynn and Becki and they took some time to get some close-ups.

Robber Fly

Time to sleep in for a couple months of Sundays. We will head out for a bit of maintenance in the Summer but Session 6 will begin the first week of August. If we find anything out here of interest we will post but otherwise this spot will be quiet until we start up again. There will be the annual report posted once all the data is compiled before the next session.

Thanks for reading!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, August 4th.
All nets will be opened by 6:15 A.M.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Searching for Remaining Migrants

We had to cancel last week's outing but today made up for the downtime. May is very quiet typically but we were steady all morning with birds, bugs, and flowers. We captured many Carolina Wrens both young and old.

Carolina Wren

Besides a lot of Carolina Wrens, we captured several Common Yellowthroats. Most were adult males and one adult female.

Common Yellowthroat

As mentioned, we saw a lot of insects around today, including a Common Checkered Skipper.

Common Checkered Skipper

Nearby, an yet to be identified moth was also spotted in the grasses.


One more moth, a Tiger Moth, graced us with a viewing while walking the lanes.

Tiger Moth

Several Northern Cardinal recaptures were netted, mostly females. All of the local birds were showing brood patches so we should get a few more baby birds before the Session is over.

Northern Cardinal

Another Cardinal. The previous photo shows one way to avoid a bite. This one displays another method. Give them something to bite besides your finger.

Northern Cardinal

We catch many things in the nets but sometimes we find other things there. Like this Leaf-footed Bug.

Leaf-footed Bug

The patch of Spider Wort is expanding and is currently hosting more than bees. Several of them were adorned with Lubber Grasshoppers and Pincher Bugs, also known as Earwigs. Reminds us of a certain Night Gallery episode.

Spider Wort and Pincher Bug

Lynn found many Scarlet-bodied Wasp Moths along the lanes. They use the Climbing Hemp weed as a host plant and are very attractive.

Scarlet-bodied Wasp Moth

We captured a male Downy Woodpecker during the day. Not too long later, a male was observed feeding a female near the river. New babies should be arriving soon.

Downy Woodpecker

A male Northern Parula was added to the list. They are calling and being chased around by the young birds all over the area.

Northern Parula

Phyllis got a good shot showing the banding that appears on the male Parulas.

Northern Parula

While we were extracting one of the Cardinals, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was very curious and checking us out but would not come down close enough to the net. 20 minutes later, it did. This male shows the definite plumage of a male showing its 'unibrow'.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Red-shouldered Hawks are very active and the nest across the river had 2 fledglings way up high.

Red-shouldered Hawk

With the day winding down, we captured a good Spring migrant, an Ovenbird. Becki got to band this and several other birds today.


Down near the lake, a black caterpillar remained all morning in one spot. Lynn got a shot as we began to gather nets.


We had known that Red-winged Blackbirds had been flying in and out of Net 21 all morning. They are larger birds and harder to keep in the nets when they fly in. Fortunately Lynn was there at the rigt time, watched two birds escape but was able to contain one before it escaped.

Red-winged Blackbird

Lynn also managed to get a photo of the male that escaped just previously. Several families of Red-wings live out near the lake.

Red-winged Blackbird

It is always a wonder to observer the females up close. At a distance they appear rather plain but they contain a lot of color upon closer inspection.

Red-winged Blackbird

Our last bird of the morning was a male American Redstart. Another good capture before the end of Spring migration.

American Redstart

Two more weeks to go and the weather is beautiful for now. Back out next week to hope for new discoveries!

Update: No banding on the 19th due to a storm that seemed to only sit above Lake Lotus for much of the morning.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, May 26th.
All nets will be opened by 6:00 A.M.