We had a much better day today as compared to the last outing for 2013. We had a nice mix of species, an interesting returning bird, and the 'one that got away'. We set nets and gear and the bands were at the ready for a brand new year of banding at Lake Lotus.
One of our first birds of the year was an Ovenbird. What made this capture special was that we first banded this bird exactly a year ago! Ovenbirds show a great site fidelity by showing up at the same time and same place year after year. We weren't set up for photos so early so this shot is from when we first banded it last year.
Other early risers were a pair of Carolina Wrens we have banded in the past. These Wrens are beginning to get active again already.
As usual, Hermit Thrushes were also on the move early in the day.
The Sun came out nicely for the first time in weeks and the pier was lit up as we scanned for birds on the lake.
Deeper in the shadows, a pair of fungus rises into the morning air and even new seedlings are defying Winter by starting new life.
One of our favorite birds was recaptured soon. This adult Brown Thrasher shows its age with those beautiful yellow eyes.
Christine found a small turtle shell along the lanes. Wonder what ate it?
Susan extracted a White-eyed Vireo that we first banded last September.
A new human visitor joined us this morning but so did another creature. An Io Moth Caterpillar decided to fall onto one of our chairs by the banding table. We won't touch them with bare hands as they do deliver quite a sting.
We were watching the warblers flying through the marsh most of the morning and predicted that today would be the day that we would start catching them again for the season. Not long afterwards we began getting Palm Warblers at Net 21 near the lake.
We were also seeing Palm Warblers that were previously banded feeding out along the lake but we did not catch them today. We did add three new birds into our records, however.
As for the bird that got away, Lynn was taking shots of this Green Heron by the lake. Suddenly, it flew into the net. She tried to keep it confined until help arrived but it escaped by tearing a hole in our net. While we can't band herons it would have been a nice photo-op for the others.
We have captured a Green Heron before a couple years ago and this particular new family seems to be taking up residence at the mouth of the river and have nearly been captured lately several times. To see the shots from our last time we captured one, head here and scroll to the bottom of the post.
A good start for the year and almost perfectly mirrored the first week of 2013. Time to get geared up for more warblers that winter here before we start including banding demos around the state in the next couple of months.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, January 12th.
All nets will be opened by 6:50 A.M.