This is how we like to start a morning. Birds are finally in full migration mode and our first run was not a disappointment! Susan, Charles, Eddie, and Avery pose as we get back to the banding table just after sunrise.
Radar from the past few days showed large amounts of birds in the air and we were hoping some would stop to feed today. Weather was perfect and stop they did. Our first bird of the morning was our second Wood Thrush of the season (and at this site) just beyond the banding table.
While some of us were out at the end of the lanes, Susan and Avery got a female Black-throated Blue Warbler at Net 2.
Our newest volunteer, Eddie, and Andrew set most nets in the dark and then set Net 21 at first light. A few birds were collected on the way down but on the way back they found many Indigo Buntings at Net 22. Just where we usually catch them this time of year. Some years we catch only females but we are getting some males this year, too.
Male Indigo Buntings still show the blue that gives them their name as seen above, but the females are typically plain brown with just a touch of blue sometimes seen on the shoulders.
Eddie is getting used to the 'photographer's hold' with one of the male Indigo Buntings.
Indigo Buntings were out most captured species today but we were not expecting the shear variety that we had throughout the morning. One of our other first birds was a Western Palm Warbler. In years past, we never caught them as they stayed out by the lake and were always teasing us by feeding about 50 yards from the nets. Today we caught two.
Of course, from October to April, we do expect Gray Catbirds. Two more juveniles hit the nets and more could be heard along the river.
Next to the first Palm Warbler was our first House Wren of the day. They are flowing in in good numbers now.
On that first run our hands were nearly full with bags and we were getting another House Wren out of the nets when a Brown Thrasher flew in just to our right.
While we were banding the first group of birds Charles walked to Net 2 and came back with a recaptured Ovenbird.
Things got a little quite and then Christine and Susan came back from Net 17 with three Common Yellowthroats, all juvenile males.
By the end of the day we also captured a couple of adult males.
We were wondering where all the local birds were but we did catch a new Northern Cardinal. Later, we also recaptured one we banded two years ago.
Lately, we start hearing Eastern Phoebe calls just after dawn but most are staying out around the marsh. We did get one, though, today.
At Net 10 we recaptured an Indigo Bunting that was banded not long ago. As Andrew inspected the feathers he noticed something that was not seen when it was first banded. A single all-white feather at the start of the secondaries. Interesting.
When Andrew walked back down to Net 21 he heard a lot of bird sounds and decided to pish a bit to see what would respond. Almost immediately, a bird emerged from the marsh and then flew into the net. From a distance, in the shadows, it looked like a Carolina Wren, However, it turned out to be a Northern Waterthrush.
On the way back to the table, he found a Swainson's Thrush in Net 5.
Charles was repairing a net string at Net 10 and got an American Redstart there as he worked. Turned out to be a juvenile male. We haven't have a male that young in several years. Always seems hard to believe that this bird will be all black and orange by next year!
Next up, a White-eyed Vireo was captured. We had begun to hear a few as the sunlight cleared the treetops and glad we had another of these feisty birds to band.
Net 21 was still active with a Phoebe and Common Yellowthroat escaping as we approached but we did get one of the elusive Blue-gray Gnatcatchers soon afterwards.
Last bird of the morning was a male Downy Woodpecker. Eddie had earlier said that he had spotted a banded one near that area. Could have been the same one but we have also banded a number of females over the years.
Hard to go home with all of the birds in the morning but the bug calls were telling us that our day was over. Here's hoping for an equally exciting day awaiting us next Sunday.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, October 26th.
All nets will be opened by 7:05 A.M.