Even without the rain we still have to put up with wet feet. The dew point made droplets cling to everything even after the Sun rose higher in the sky. Otherwise, the weather was perfect.
Common Yellowthroats lost their throne today. They were the most captured species the past few weeks but we only caught 3 today.
One species claiming the top spot was the House Wren. Two of our birds were recaptures. One was banded almost exactly a year ago and the other two years ago.
This House Wren is a younger bird. You can just make out some remaining soft gape edges to the bill and it has whit spots on the wing. House Wrens are born with those spots but lose them as they get older. Carolina Wrens are the opposite!
A close-up look reveals the wonderful feathers around a House Wren's eye.
Usually we provide a small twig to Northern Cardinals in hopes they will bite that instead of the bander's hands. This bird has no problem holding a much larger branch.
You never know what might fall out of the trees while just sitting at the table. Caterpillars are the least of our worries.
Several Ovenbirds were captured including another returning bird.
The other high species count today belonged to the Gray Catbird. Still seeing juveniles but many adults are now heading through, too.
Like Cardinals, Gray Catbirds like to bite. We actually like that. It doesn't hurt and it is a quick way to age this species. Young birds have a pink interior to their bills and adults have a black interior.
We even had an adult Gray Catbird with a new feature for us. It was missing its right eye from some much earlier incident. It was healed and the bird was in otherwise fine condition.
As Richard cleared some vines he discovered a set of flattened palms back behind the table. Perhaps the bears have been around not too long ago?
Another interesting recapture was our first Eastern Phoebe of the season. We banded this bird a year and a half ago then aged as a juvenile. Seems to like it here for the Winter.
Down behind Net 18 Susan found a larger Cypress Knee holding court with several smaller versions.
Meanwhile, Lynn was finding other things of interest like this tiny cocoon.
She also found a Green Anole. These use to be the dominant species of Anole in Florida but over the years they have been reduced or displaced in number by the Brown Anole, a non-native from Cuba and the Bahamas.
This Northern Cardinal was a recapture but is a local, not a migrant. Hard to see through the flash are the several black splotches on the bill making it a juvenile we banded soon after if fledged earlier in the year.
The most surprising bird of the morning was a Northern Waterthrush. We rarely catch this species after September and they usually return in the Spring.
The calls of this Red-bellied Woodpecker could be heard all the way back at the banding table as it was being removed from the net. This young male was full of fight and drew a few specks of blood before its release. Ow.
Finally, as in finally!, we got our first Indigo Bunting of the season. This time of the year we typically catch a dozen buntings. This male in non-breeding plumage was the only one captured but several more were heard in the area.
A nice mix of birds today and the higher amount of returning banded birds was a treat. Can't wait to see what next Sunday brings.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, October 20th.
All nets will be opened by 7:00 A.M.