Central Florida has been having a lot of rain as of late. Cities on the Atlantic Coast have experienced some flooding and reports are now also coming from the Gulf Coast. Our friend Paul alerted us that we might need a kayak this weekend. Andrew headed out to check in person and, indeed, the Little Wekiva River is running high.
The dock used for school groups to explore the river is going under. The water is so high that our last three net sets are out of commission for Sunday. If it rains too much more we loose another couple. A shame since we have been catching most birds down at this end this month.
By 11 AM there wasn't too much activity in the area except for a couple of Black Racers grabbing the brief sunshine.
It did rain again overnight but the water did not rise anymore. We would still be wet through the morning. We set nets and waited for dawn. Surprisingly, we had our largest number of Ovenbird captures in one day. Perhaps ever.
Not long after sunrise, Christine noticed some large debris in the river. We had to take one of the net poles down to reach it without falling in.
Christine was now the proud owner of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles balloon!
A couple of Carolina Wrens were captured today including this one that was molting in a new tail.
Unlike last week, we weren't seeing Common Yellowthroats all over the place. Finally, we caught three in the space of a few minutes. All were males and this juvenile was having a bad hair morning.
A slightly older bird was caught. Its face mask was just beginning to take shape.
Along with that bird was a fully adult male Common Yellowthroat.
You can really tell the water is high when the small stream from Bosse Lake up the road blends in level with the Little Wekiva.
Fortunately, we aren't seeing too much trash, besides that ballon, washing down right now. The river banks are getting a beating, though. Just past the swamped dock a large tree was discovered falling into the river from the erosion. Andrew went over to get a better look an as he got to the edge of the river something large was spotted undulating just beneath the surface. Hmmm...
A White-eyed Vireo added to our species count as the Sun began to break through the clouds.
It was soon followed by a Northern Cardinal. One of our new volunteers, Joe, extracted it and was now initiated into the 'bitten by a Cardinal' club.
A few more birds were captured and we managed our first Gray Catbird of the season. A sure sign the the migration peak is nearly upon us!
The morning was almost over and we inspected that fallen tree again. This time we knew the source of that earlier undulation. A 6-foot American Alligator was resting at the base of the tilting tree. Andrew tried for a closer shot but the critter spooked and launched back into the water. Surprised this is the first one this far up the river so far. So far.
More rain is expected this week but is to let up by mid-week. If the water drops enough we might be able to get to the far end of the net lanes but we wonder if the farthest position, Net 21, is a total loss from all of the erosion. We shall see.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, October 5th.
All nets will be opened by 6:50 A.M.