We were beginning to have deja vu early in the morning. It was around 7:30 AM and we only had two birds in the book. Last week we caught all three before 7:30. Would we suffer the same slow day? Yes, and no. Our first two were recaptures and included a Northern Cardinal and a Carolina Wren.
We did then have to wait a while before more birds took flight during this gloomy day. It then became a day of crowns. One of the birds finally being heard in number were the Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Mid-morning we first caught a pair in the same net. By pair, we really mean a pair. The female...
...and the male Ruby-crowned Kinglet together in the net. The male adult's crown is pretty easy to see on older birds.
Another 'new' Carolina Wren? Yep. A regal adult.
At that point, a small down burst showered down upon us causing us to wonder if we should shut down for the day. It didn't last too long and, after checking the internet for radar, we decided to keep the nets up until out planned closing time and hoped we were dry the rest of the morning. We soon got a third and fourth Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
We hear House Wrens every morning but they have not been very adventuresome lately. So we gladly welcomed one in the nets today.
We made the right call by staying open. The Bird-of-the-Day was captured down at Net 21 by the lake. Last week we mentioned the previously banded species that has been hanging around in that area. Today we caught an unbanded Orange-crowned Warbler so we have a couple of them there now.
Orange-crowned Warblers are pretty nondescript. When they are seen in the trees they look a dull gray/green. You can hardly ever see the reason they have their name. Like the Kinglets, these warblers have colored feathers in their crown that is easily seen if flared. That is difficult to see unless they are in hand.
As we were finally closing up for the day we captured another bird. A Tufted Titmouse. They woke up late today.
Update: One of the many fun things about Net 21 is that that landscape is constantly undergoing changes after every major rain event through the year. The water has either gouged out the banks or added to it during every event. During the past year the water has begun to claim some trees along the bank and made our once reliable paths a bit more treacherous. One part of the path to Net 21 was easily walked around to get to the end. Now? Not so much. We have been discussing making a shortcut to avoid falling into the river or breaking an ankle if we stepped into an eroding hole.
Problem was that there is one large Willow tree that grows in two different directions. One trunk goes straight up but the other heads due East toward the marsh. As it stood, we could either hold onto the upright stump and swing around to the net spot or climb over the Eastbound trunk. We decided to cut out the horizontal limb. Richard came out Monday to do the deed.
Fortunately, Willow trees are pretty soft and easy to cut through. Richard got through the task in around 15 minutes.
Our new shortcut is now open and we can stop worrying about a risky net check.
Now, we just have to see what the heavy rains this week will do to everything else before next Sunday. It is getting more and more difficult to find ways to keep this area open but it is such a productive spot that we continue to make it work as long as we can. We will surely have another discovery next week. Thanks, Richard!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, January 18th.
All nets will be opened by 6:50 A.M.