It was a fairly quiet end to Session 7 today. We call our full banding time Sessions which begin on the first Sunday in August (when the earliest of migrants return to Central Florida) through May. We then take June and July off to let the local nesting families raise their young while we avoid the worst of the heat. We will post a couple of more times before the start of Session 8 when we stop by to do some maintenance in July.
Not a lot of birds out and about today but we had a few nice encounters. For example, the Barred Owl chicks were heard well before sunrise just across from Net 15, close to the banding table. Usually, they have been in the middle of the net lanes before heading into the forest by dawn.
Just after we got the rest of the nets set Susan reported that the owls were right at the banding table giving their raspy calls. Luckily, the flash was working this morning.
The young Barred Owls have always been gone from our area before daylight and this marks the first photos we have of this year's brood.
Mama arrived with a meal shortly and the babies followed her to the opposite side of the river before the first rays of the Sun emerged.
Our first capture of the day was a Carolina Wren we first banded as a juvenile two years ago. It now has a brood patch telling us it is nesting nearby.
Unfortunately, Andrew's old point and shoot is out of commission so we had to rely on camera phones at the table. Either we are not very skilled with these new gadgets or they are just not up to the task of our photographic needs. Perhaps by next August we will have it all figured out.
Next up, Charles brought in a male Red-headed Woodpecker was caught near the table in almost the same spot we caught it at the end of last year's Session. That day we caught and banded the male and female pair at the same time.
As Andrew headed down to the lake, Becki and Corey were returning with a recaptured Northern Parula.
Not much bird activity out by the lake. We could hear Limpkins from time to time while the Red-winged Blackbirds defended territory and the resident Tricolored Heron did fly in for a visit.
The only thing really flying about were the various Dragonflies who periodically stop for a rest.
The number of species is really growing week by week.
For most of the morning we had been stepping over a patch of purple flowers down by Net 21. Finally, curiosity got the better of Christine and Ranger Frank identified the plant as Baldwin's Eryngo (Eryngium baldwinii).
A lingering 1st Spring male American Redstart was found behind Net 9. One of the last migrants to vacate the scene.
Overhead, three raptors circled high in the morning sky. We could easily tell the largest was a Bald Eagle.
The other pair were harder for us to make out easily but once on the computer screen we could tell that they were Red-tailed Hawks.
At first it seemed they were just hanging out together but soon the hawks would approach the Bald Eagle and there would be a near clash of talons. The eagle soon retreated to the other side of the park.
Becki and Corey also got a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird out of the same net we captured a female a couple of weeks ago. Probably a mating pair with a nest quite close by.
Session 7 is now in the books. Time to crunch the numbers and see the totals. It sure seemed like a slower catch rate than the last few years but the figures will have to bare that out. Our numbers would be much lower if not for that 82 total at the Orlando Wetlands Festival.
Until Session 8, take care and thanks for reading!!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, August 2nd.
All nets will be opened by 6:15 A.M.