Andrew, here, going into host narrative today because it was kind of weird. First off, I knew we would have to reset a bunch of poles after the rangers took some out so that a tree service could rumble down the net lanes to pull a large tree out of the river (more on that later) but when I got on site I discovered that they had removed more poles than was really necessary. In fact, I could only set half the nets before sunrise. Also, as I was arriving at the site it dawned on me that I had forgotten our data book. First time ever. Had to run back home before we could continue.
On the way back to Lotus a car was heading on the Eastbound ramp off of I-4 as I headed to the Westbound lane. I saw a Crow heading to the right. The bird hit the front of the car and was bounced 100 feet in the air and landed in the median between the off-ramps. Been a long time since I have seen a bird hit by a car. Two other crows immediately flew down to examine their fellow flock mate, now dead, on its back on the road. See? Weird.
I got back to the table and heard the banging of hammers meaning the crew had taken it upon themselves to start reseting poles. For some reason I decided to check Net 2 and found a Northern Cardinal in the net. I processed the bird alone and checked and found it was first banded here 3 years ago.
I released the bird and paused for a sip of water and looked ahead of me. There, in the one shaft of morning sunlight, a Swallow-tailed Kite was preening on a snag directly across from me. A nice change of pace from the early oddness of the day. Later, we would find a pair of Kites on another snag and then saw several flying around last year's nest. Hope they choose it again.
We reset Net 20 but did not put it up all the way again since the Barred Owls are perched a few feet away. Will we see new fledges soon?
Becki was ahead of the rest of the volunteers and took the Gray Catbird I got out of Net 4 and the Cardinal she found at Net 21 back for recording.
Next to the table we found an Eastern Tent Caterpillar and they were all over the place today.
We have been wondering why nothing is eating the berries from the Yaupon Holly trees. No Cedar Waxwings around much this season may be a reason. The trees don't seem to care as they are still full of berries and now are blooming like crazy.
Avery and his Dad were back with us (Thanks, again for the help, Augustine!) and Avery and I explored the field of Spider Worts by Net 19. A large number of Honey Bees were busy working the blooms.
We spotted a tiny damselfly among the bees and got some photos. Later, we determined that it was a Citrine Forktail, (Ischnura hastata), the smallest of damselflies in North America.
Back to the tree. Apparently they broke down on entry last week but made it through this past Wednesday. Seems the public works folk though the tree was blocking the flow of the river. It was not but... So, they pulled the trunk back to our side. OK.
Growing on the edge of the trunk is a spot of Slime mold. Can't miss that bright yellow as you walk past it.
Just across the way, I couldn't help but marvel at the large Cypress that sits among others along the river.
I am still trying to get a definitive shot of the Little Wekiva but I do like this one as I see it every week.
There is a lot of new growth in the area and by Net 21 the minty flowers are spreading all around. If you walk through them you can almost immediately smell scents of mint. Thanks to our friend Mary Keim, we know that it is called Browne's Savory (Micromeria Brownei, aka Clinopodium Brownei) [klin-oh-POH-dee-um brown-ee-eye].
A new collection of Swamp Dock is springing up along the river. First they were just shooting up leaves but now they are blooming all over.
The last sighting of the morning was a collection of larva feeding on some plants. Probably Ladybugs.
We are a couple of weeks from Spring Migration so we are hoping for increasing numbers. We will also be working at the Earth Day event in late April. Bring on the returning birds and keep the weirdness away for a while, please.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 29th.
All nets will be opened by 6:50 A.M.