The strongest cold front of the season was on the way and scheduled to clear us early in the weekend so we decided to take a chance on a rare Saturday. If the front passed quickly enough then some birds should sweep in. If not, then they would still be stuck to the North.
Turned out to be the latter. The very end of the rain actually fell as we drove to the banding site and then stopped. It still took most of the morning for the clouds to break. Andrew and Susan were the only ones out today so only half of the nets could be set. Water levels have yet to drop much and the area around Net 22 was still mucky but it was decided that we would put it up anyway after we reset the poles in the soggy ground. The poles were beginning to lean due to soft soil and bear disturbance.
Why set this net? Because this stop has been very productive of late. As proof, the first bird of the morning was a nice surprise. Our first Indigo Bunting of the season was there. We typically begin catching them a couple weeks from now so this was really a nice treat. This is a male molting into its Winter plumage.
Susan had a Common Yellowthroat not far away. A young male.
Just about the same time, a Gray Catbird hit the next net.
The rest of the morning was pretty slow but really went by quite quickly as we were walking back and forth more than usual. An hour later we caught a White-eyed Vireo and another Catbird.
Late in the morning we got another nice surprise. A Western Palm Warbler. This species is just beginning to arrive in the state and we usually don't catch them so early in the year.
Fortunately, we added Net 19 into the mix. It captured our final bird of the morning. A House Wren. This is historically the week we begin catching them so it was right on time!
Three new species for the season made getting sweaty one more time worthwhile. Tomorrow is suppose to be considerably cooler and the birds should be able to finally make it deep into the state.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, October 12th.
All nets will be opened by 6:55 A.M.