We began our day at 45 degrees and hoped that the predicted winds would hold off long enough for a chance to catch some birds today. The Sun was still there to the East, as always, but the clouds kept us from getting too much warmth until late in the morning.
All of our birds today were recaptures. This Gray Catbird has now been recaptured three times after its first banding and it has been caught in three separate nets but they are all in the same area. Guess it loves that spot.
Just behind the table, Susan brought back a Hermit Thrush. This bird was first banded in November of 2012. Nice to see some birds still called Lake Lotus their Winter home.
The latest trees to begin blooming are the Cherry Laurels and our Black Cherry trees. Hopefully, some Waxwings or Robins will stick around to enjoy the fruit in a while.
This is the first year we have noticed a large eruption of Oxalis. A common plant but it had not gotten established here before. Now, it is all over the place.
Last week we posted a shot of a Bobcat track in the mud near the lake. Today, Andrew ventured back out to check the area but found another print in the same location. It appears to be canine and probably a Coyote. Bobcats do not leave claw marks behind like dogs do.
Speaking of claws, near Net 21, we noticed slide marks in the soft sand on the banks. Closer to the lake you can also see wide claw marks. Seems one of our American Alligators has been slithering around not too long ago.
Things were growing quiet but on the next run we spotted a shape in Net 11. A White-eyed Vireo was waiting near the Southern Elderberry.
Once the number was recorded on the band first placed a year and a half ago, the White-eyed Vireo posed for a much more distinguished look.
There were not too many birds around the lake but a fisherman was headed out near the Window on the Lake.
Around the mouth of the river the grasses were full of dew as the sunlight broke through for a couple of minutes.
Next to Net 14, Tent Caterpillars are busy emerging once again.
Our final recapture of the morning was a Western Palm Warbler down near the lake. Warblers are few and far between this year but they are stopping by the willows every now and then.
We posted a shot of one of our resident American Alligators last week. Sometimes folks remark that we are too close to these critters and worry about our safety. Or sanity. Aren't you in danger!?!
Not really. American Alligators are usually very afraid of humans and will haul themselves back into the water if approached too closely. This gator has come to love this spot once the light comes over the trees. The zoom lens photos make it seem like we are really close but as you can see from this shot from a camera phone at the same spot it is very far away.
Christine remarked how prehistoric this view was with the gator on one side and an Anhinga on the other with the weathered banks of the river. If only the yellow chains weren't there...
Next Saturday we will be at the Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival and Birdapalooza at Magnolia Park. We will be setting nets for the third year in a row in hopes of catching and banding some birds for the public during the event. Come out if you can! We will then be back at 'home' Sunday morning.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Saturday, February 7th (9-3) and Sunday, February 8th for the usual pre-dawn opening.
All nets will be opened by 6:45 A.M. Sunday.