It wasn't a terribly busy day but we did find some fun discoveries, as always. The morning started off in a familiar way with the capture of a Northern Cardinal we first banded 3 1/2 years ago.
We mentioned last week that the Ruby-crowned Kinglets more numerous and active now and we did catch a couple today. Last year we caught mostly females but the males were on display today. Think Andrew has had to dig in the soil already today?
Richard got to band the second male Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the day.
As the morning wore on we spotted our now resident American Alligator below the banding table. Oddly, it had a mouthful of what appeared to be a garbage bag. When we have heavy rains, like we did again last week, tons of trash washes down the river from the city. Maybe our gator found something interesting smelling? The bag didn't seem to be choking the animal but we called the rangers to let them know what we were seeing.
As Andrew was taking photos he began to form a possible reason for this incident...
Once the photos were opened on the computer it was made more clear what was going on and suspected. There was, indeed, something about that bag that attracted the gator. Maybe it was tangled up before but we could now make out that there is a duck in that mass. The first thought of the bird being banded was wrong. It was just flaps of skin. So, our gator was just having breakfast. A bit later it was seen moving up to its usual sunning spot and doing just fine.
Richard brought out the ladder to check on the nest boxes for the first time of the year. Flying Squirrels nearly often make a home for themselves in some of the boxes. We count at least 5 in this one.
At Net 21, now partially flooded again after the latest rain, we found a male Anhinga flying about and drying on a branch a short distance from the net. Just stay on that side and out of the net!
The Anhinga spent a lot of time here and even dropped down for a drink and took some time to catch a fish to eat before posing for us once more before heading out toward the lake.
We found two birds that we have previously banded today. One was a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher busily foraging next to the river.
Becki refound one of our Orange-crowned Warblers. Maybe the one we banded last week or the one we banded two years ago that has been around, too.
Pileated Woodpeckers have been very vocal of late and the male flew in close to the net lanes in a burst of noise and color.
A Gray Catbird added to our captures for the day.
We also caught our first Myrtle Warbler of the season today. Checking the records, we were catching them almost exclusively last year here at Lake Lotus and at every event we were at through February. There just have not been very many of them here this year. Nice to get the first one under our belts.
Andrew checked the retention ponds on the way home, of course. A few Hooded Mergansers are in their usual spot.
Next Saturday we hope to help our friend, Marianne, in rounding up sparrows and then will be back home next Sunday.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, January 25th.
All nets will be opened by 6:45 A.M.