We had nice weather today but the dew was still all over. Even without rain, Nature tries to create rainbows where ever it can.
The small amount of moisture in the air also helps to make the webs of Bowl and doily spiders (Frontinella communis) stand out easily among the vegetation along the net lanes.
The dawn chorus gave us the sound of many birds waking up. Some were even moving before daylight as warblers could be heard flying overhead. Our first bird of the morning looked like a leaf in the net at first glance but turned out to be a recaptured Hermit Thrush.
Soon, a recaptured House Wren found itself in a net. This bird was just regrowing its tail feathers and they were really short.
Taking advantage of the morning dew was a newly emerging Mushroom
Nearby, a Butterfly waits for the Sun to warm its wings.
Not waiting for the sunlight to creep lower, an Anole scales a branch to fuel up quicker.
A little higher in the trees, Red-bellied Woodpeckers begin their early gathering. It is often difficult to see where this bird gets its name but in this shot you can definitely see that red belly.
Warblers were flocking all around the mouth of the river. We were hoping to catch more today but two Palm Warblers is a good start for now. Also with the 'butter butts' was our first Orange-crowned Warbler of the season. We should start catching them soon.
A recaptured Carolina Wren joined the list midway through the morning.
A Crane Fly made an offer to be banded but we don't have them that small!
The Blue Jays stayed higher in the trees today. Seems they were busy picking acorns for the Winter.
Last week we caught two Northern Cardinals in the double net set and today we caught two new birds in the same area. The new male was a skip away from that area in Net 16.
The new female Northern Cardinal was in the exact same spot as our recaptured female from last week.
For the past three weeks we have been hearing the croaking of baby American Alligators. They were just around the bend from the mouth of the river. Today, as we were watching Net 21, Lynn spotted some small movement in the water next to the net. The gators are now in the river itself.
We counted at least 8 American Alligators, most this year's model. We searched hard for Mama but did not see her. Doesn't mean she wasn't hiding under the vegetation along the waterway. We will have to watch our step for sure when we set up in the future. Alligators have been seen as far up the river as by the banding table but by nature they are afraid of humans and would rather leave than confront people.
Our final catch of the day was a recaptured Gray Catbird we first banded a year and one month ago. Our returning recaptures are getting better all the time.
On the way home Andrew stopped by a local retention pond to look for Hooded Mergansers. The females were easy to photograph but the males were busy diving for cover.
More cold fronts are scheduled for the week and we hope to get more warblers. American Goldfinches are being heard more frequently and they were even landing and calling from the trees along the river. Maybe this year we can get our firsts in the nets.
NOTE: No banding on the 15th. Looks like rain and wind.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, December 22nd.
All nets will be opened by 6:40 A.M.