A few sprinkled greeted us as we arrived to set nets but the forecast was for things to clear by mid-morning. However, we had overcast skies for the entire banding period. The morning began with an early House Wren.
Next, we recaptured a female Northern Cardinal. Our newest volunteer, Danny, showed no fear in wanting to hold the Cardinal and was promptly initiated with nice strong grosbeak bites. Welcome to the club, Danny!
Most of the Maple leaves now cover the ground beneath them as they push out their first buds and seeds. Large flocks of birds were feeding in the tree tops but the Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers are beginning to feed along the water. This lead to our first Myrtle Warbler capture of the season.
A recaptured Gray Catbird was brought to the table. This bird was first banded almost a year-and-a-half ago during the Fall migration.
As we walked the net lanes at one point there came a strong whooshing sound, nearly like fast approaching rain. Instead, the sound was from the wingbeats made by flocks of low flying Double-crested Cormorants. Around 100 of them all headed to the lake.
The morning was slow but the variety was nice. Eventually we captured a bird and offered it to Danny for a try at banding.
It was an Eastern Palm Warbler. Westerns are far more common here so it is always nice to see a brighter yellow version.
Down in the river along the boardwalk, a Limpkin was cruising for breakfast.
Didn't take long to pry some shellfish from the sand as the bird ignored us as we enjoyed the view.
Back near Net 7, Andrew found a Yellow-shafted Flicker feather on the ground. We have never captured one of them but when we hear them it is usually in this area.
Then things began to pick up as we considered closing up. We were bringing birds back one at a time earlier but suddenly we had four all at once.
We always hurry to get the Ruby-crowned Kinglets banded and released first as they can suffer from stress more easily.
The others were all Myrtle Warblers, including transitioning males, and we got a good shot of the 'yellow rump'.
This even older male clearly reveals its yellow crown which is usually difficult to see in wintering Yellow-rumped Warblers.
More birds were being captured quickly including an adult White-eyed Vireo.
We had more Myrtles and Kinglets and ended the morning with a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. They are even more difficult to capture as they see the nets better and usually can get themselves free even when they do land in the nets.
If folks didn't have to leave we could have captured many more birds as the sunshine finally arrived. Maybe next time we can have a bit more warmth and increase our capture rate earlier in the day.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, February 2nd.
All nets will be opened by 6:45 A.M.