Hot weather persists with little rain in the area for a while. Our birding radar was still tuned up as this is the time we start seeing more migrants arriving and hope to get them starting more and more now. We are also keen on checking out the Air Potato Leaf Beetle population after the past few weeks.
As this photo shows from later in the day, they are doing fine, thank you.
We had a new volunteer joining us today, Joe, and as the nets were being set well before dawn we heard what sounded like a Brown Thrasher. On our first check of the nets right about dawn we had one in the net near the table. A juvenile while the adults were clucking nearby as we extracted it from the nets.
Minutes later, Christine got an Ovenbird in the next net. Right on time.
Down near the lake we caught another Northern Cardinal. This one was a male recapture and we have been catching a lot of Cardinals in this zone this month. All are coming out of molt right now.
Checking the nets in the same area a bit later, Andrew and Joe spotted a bird in the (now dead) tangerine tree and flitting about. It looked like an interesting bird we have not seen in a year and, while they had their thoughts on the ID, the bird flew off before confirmation. Hmmm... A lot of green in there.
The next bird in hand was one of our younger Carolina Wrens that was banded a couple of weeks ago. This juvenile is now molting into its adult plumage.
The next round of net checks found a small bird in Net 14. From a distance it appeared to be another Wren. However, it turned out to be a Louisiana Waterthrush! Looking back at last year's captures, this fit perfectly.On the same day last year we captured our first Louisiana Waterthrush and Ovenbird. They are right on time for migration.
Andrew wanted to spend some time documenting the Air Potato Leaf Beetles but as he headed out, he got a call. Becki called from the end of the lanes saying she had a bird in a bag and wondered if she should bring it in. It was a Green Heron. We have netted a few over the past two years but we are not allowed to band wading birds or waterfowl. Instead, we got some shots before returning the bird to its territory.
Joe wanted a shot with the Green Heron, too, and it was quickly taken back to the swampy area where the family resides.
As the cameras were being brought down to the heron for recording, another bird was being brought in for banding. Remember that green bird we mentioned before? We captured a female Painted Bunting we thought we saw earlier. Better news was that this female is a juvenile. Last year at this time, we captured an adult female and a couple of fledglings that made us conclude that there was a nest nearby. This bird has us believing that we are correct about them breeding here.
OK. Beetle time! The Air Potato vines are taking a heavy beating by these critters. There is now almost nowhere we look that does not show the impact of the beetles from one end of the river to the lake and they are showing up back on the park side, too.
The most voracious consumers are the larva. They start as almost unseen eggs and then emerge to consume the leaves. Just before they are large enough to become adults, they begin to turn red and eat like crazy.
While the larva remain under the leaves, the adults appear above the leaves to do what adult beetles do. Make even more babies.
Every now and then, we do see some adults still nibbling on the leaves.
Odd that we are so giddy about these insects making great strides while we are trying to do birding studies but it is a very welcome site as the invasives are being brought down all around us and we don't have to pull the vines anymore.
As the day was drawing to a close, we caught another Northern Cardinal. It was kind of unusual in that it was molting and was definitely an adult but had a lot of white feathers all over. Research is on going.
Rounding out the day, we pished in a Carolina Wren at Net 21.
Next up should be Common Yellowthroats and other warblers. Thrushes are not far behind. Now if we could just get some cooler temperatures!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, August 31st.
All nets will be opened by 6:30 A.M.