Our final Sunday of Session 6 (which began last August) was a hot, humid, and sweaty exercise of waiting and exploring. We made some discoveries but only had two birds as all the smaller local birds are nesting and not flying about so much.
Our first bird of the day was a recaptured Carolina Wren that we also recaptured two weeks ago.
Most of us were excited to check out the Swallow-tailed Kite nest to see if we could spot the babies. Overcast skies and growing pine needles made it a bit difficult but we did the best we could and could see them moving about in the nest.
One interesting observation was a pair of Mallards spotted on the bank of the river. A while later the female walked across the net lane and under Net 13 and continued into the woods. The male soon followed but but stopped not far behind the net and stopped to face the net lane.
There he sat for well over an hour as we walked past to check nets. Eventually, he female came out and they flew off toward the lake.
The Manatee Tree Snails are still around and Susan found one in the vegetation.
As the sunlight began to break through the clouds we checked the Swallow-tailed Kite again to find an adult back at the scene.
When the nets were first set up before dawn Andrew thought he heard some rustling between nets 5 and 11 (close to each other) but dismissed it as probably just a rabbit and moved on. Later in the morning he walked through the area to find Charles saying he was watching bears. Seems that as Andrew came around the back of the area it caused a pair of Black Bears to head toward the river and cross into the park. Charles got a quick shot from his phone.
Guess we will pay more attention to the sounds in the dark!
Great-crested Flycatchers were calling near the lake but stayed too high in the tree tops. The only thing that was lower to the ground were a pair of Green Herons.
Back near the table, Susan spotted an insect digging a hole in the pathway. Turns out to be a Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus).
A little more research reveals that this insect eats other insects like Katydids. So we were not surprised to find Katydid Eggs on a blade of grass in the area.
It has been awhile since we have seen a good Web Bow, a rainbow in a spider's web. Once the Sun is higher and shining through the branches you might be lucky enough to find one. This Web Bow is in the web of a Spiny orb-weaver (Gasteracantha cancriformis), one of our most common spiders who conveniently make large webs that we walk through here and there.
A close-up shows more detail.
Finally, we caught another bird! A male Downy Woodpecker. The last bird of Session 6. Now to add up the totals for the next report.
The Swallow-tailed Kite chicks were back on their own again and moving about the nest and flexing their tiny wings.
Back near the lake, the Green Herons were still on the hunt.
30 feet away, a Limpkin appeared in the river to dig for snails and clams.
Next to Net 18, we have been watching the growth of a Wild Coffee (Psychotria nervosa) which just sprouted one day. We did plant some much farther up the net lanes and they did not too too well so we have no idea where it came from. Besides the droppings of a bird or mammal, of course.
A native plant, birds like the fruit so we are hoping for this plant to survive and fruit by the Fall migration. Here is a closer look at the small flowers.
One last look at the Swallow-tailed Kite nest find the chicks staring down toward us. You can even make out the tawny coloring on one of the chicks which they keep until their molt into adult feathers of pure white in their place.
Now we let the heat take over and let the local birds raise their young in peace. And we get to sleep in on Sunday's! We will make a couple checks on the site during the Summer and we will raise nets for Session 7 in the first week of August.
Have a great Summer and thanks for reading!!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, August 3rd.
All nets will be opened by 6:20 A.M.