Well, another slow day added to an already overall slow season. Just doesn't seem to be as many birds around this year. Even off-site we aren't seeing big numbers of...anything. Data is data, though.
Even before the light was up we could see that the dock, which was tumbled during the last flood, had been been righted as of last week. Now they just have to get some post holes made to secure it again.
As we were setting nets it crossed our minds that we have yet to catch a Ruby-crowned Kinglet this season. Right on cue, we got our first. An adult female, which lacks the ruby crown.
Checking on Net 21 just after sunrise, Andrew heard an Eastern Phoebe passing close by, calling along the way. If not for that sound he wouldn't have looked to the left to find a Great Blue Heron standing atop a branch just across the river.
40 yards to the right, an American Goldfinch swooped in to survey the surroundings. Will this be the year we finally catch one?
Two months ago the September flooding gave us a treat by depositing a lot of sediment to give us a new beach along the area for Net 21. It was a welcome sight and made for easier potential bird extractions by the riverside.
This latest flood had the opposite effect. Large sections of the river bank have been washed away. Now we have to consider a way to shore up the lane or move out of a very productive net placement.
While we ponder that situation there is always time to check out what is happening above us. The most obvious was the cry of a Red-shouldered Hawk. It landed in a pine tree by the road and began to add to the nest. So soon?
High overhead, a flock of Double-crested Cormorants headed toward the lake. Later we would go out in the muck toward the lake to have a look around. 100's of those cormorants weren't first to the party!!
Flying in the opposite direction, an American Robin zoomed along toward the East.
As the Cypress trees head toward hibernation they continue to shine bright in the early morning sunshine.
Below the canopy, Becki discovered a Ladybug pupa clinging to a tree trunk.
A few wading birds were moving upstream today. First was a Snowy Egret that got spooked by us walking by before noticing it. Later, a Limpkin was found reflecting nicely against the water.
It is not too rare to have the Limpkins this far up-river but they usually stick to the lake and the reeds.
One last bird for the day (after our recaptured Northern Cardinal) was a Carolina Wren. Another one for the books.
The sunlight was increasing and Ranger Frank spotted an adult American Alligator in the marsh before the lake. Didn't have the camera for that but by the time we got to the banding table Frank spotted another Alligator sunning above the river.
6 to 8 feet above the river! This American Alligator had to get up there somehow. There is a gentle slope to the right but who knows. Interestingly, Andrew was down by the river at this spot an our ago with no gator sightings.
We wrapped up for the day with a lot of species sightings but the existing birds had no interest in flying low. On the way home, Andrew decided to check on the Hooded Mergansers again in Maitland Center. Several male and female birds were spotted in one of the retention ponds.
One more week before Christmas and we decide on banding around the holidays. Stay tuned!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, December 21st.
All nets will be opened by 6:45 A.M.