An arriving cold front on Saturday left us with a little rain over the weekend but cleared in time to allow Sunday banding. The remaining clouds were clearing out as sunrise greeted us out at Net 21, the last net in our lanes down at the mouth of the river as it enters Lake Lotus.
Next to Net 10, a White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae) butterfly was sleeping before the sunlight warmed it for the day.
Next to Net 18, in the marsh zone, a Manatee Tree Snail (Drymaeus dormani) snuggled up inside a tree trunk.
Then the birds began to move. It started with a pretty good flow of early risers and our first bird was the first Hermit Thrush of the season. A week late according to our past years here. This was an adult bird and we caught a juvenile later in the morning.
As we like to remind folks every year, we have a simple mantra to remember Hermit Thrushes. "Tail, tail, tail!". It is easiest way to ID Hermits from Swainson's Thrushes by seeing that contrasting red coloring of the tail feathers.
Lynn was extracting the Hermit Thrush when a Gray Catbird flew into the net next to it which Andrew retrieved.
Gray Catbirds are now one of the most heard birds during the dawn chorus but they seem to stay across the river most of the day.
While walking back to the table we noticed our other volunteers at Net 14 where Alease was extracting a Swamp Sparrow.
Swamp Sparrows are back in force for the Winter. With this nice early rush we thought we might have a really busy day. However, it got pretty quiet really soon.
Which leaves time to explore the area for other things in Nature. One of the most seen spiders in the area are Spiny Orb Weavers (Gasteracantha). Typically, we have to work our way around the webs so it was interesting to see one hanging out on a blade of grass today.
A short time later Charles saw what he thought were a couple of leaves falling into Net 22. Instead, they were actually Ruby-crowned Kinglets.
Both Ruby-crowned Kinglets were new females for us. Last week we had a new male which sports the namesake Ruby head feathers.
While at the banding table we heard some rustling through the wooded areas around us. It turned out to be a few Raccoons roaming about. A mother and a couple of kids.
We recaptured a couple of wrens, House and Carolina, before capturing another Northern Cardinal. Twigs at the ready when ever they are in hand. Lynn finally braved the extraction and was rewarded by not getting pinched.
We are still finding Lubber Grasshoppers (Romalea guttata) among the vegetation and this one appears to have reached its final transformation. Note the short flight wings which are incapable of any real flight. Lubbers hop and climb.
Our final bird of the morning was an Ovenbird. Nice to end the day with a warbler.
Another strong front will push through this week and we shall see what shows up for next Sunday. An added plus to this morning was the return of a couple dozen American Robins passing overhead through the day. Waxwings and Goldfinches can't be far behind.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, November 17th.
All nets will be opened by 6:20 A.M.