Mid-May finds us getting warmer by the day and most Winter migrants gone. The last push back North is happening and it is almost time for us to take our Summer break. As always, we had a few surprises along the way today.
The Barred Owl chicks were again in the middle of the net lanes before dawn but headed back across the way before we could get any good light for photos. One of the adults tried to follow a bit later and got caught in Net 1.
Richard got a taste of talons during the extraction. Ouch! We don't band our Barred Owls since we know where they are all year.
Lynn was busy with a Carolina Wren as the owl was being brought toward the rest of us. Another adult with a brood patch gathering food for the kids.
Just some Pileated Woodpeckers around the snags from time to time today but they are still a pretty sight with the Moon nearly perched on a branch.
A few Northern Cardinals were captured today, all of them feisty.
Time for a check down at the lake. The marsh is mostly crowded with Cattails but there are some other invasives poking through. Hyacinth are trying to stretch their blossoms as the Sun rises in the morning sky.
It takes quite some effort to see out to the water from this side now. Requires some extra watching out for gators and snakes, too!
Just over the vegetation we could watch a Great Blue Heron strut across the pier railing.
Bees and other insects are swarming the Primrose Willow flowers.
The Boat-tailed Grackle from last week came back for a photos. Too bad it blinked!
Overhead a Tricolored Heron and a pair of Wood Stork soared toward the far side of the park.
We almost missed seeing our Northern Parula in Net 21. It was quiet and still.
Zack and Becki headed back to the table to help band the Parula.
Another male Northern Cardinal was captured during the same run. It was interesting to observe a predator take note of both the male Cardinals when they were calling while being banded.
It was a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawked. Both occasions saw the hawk fly in fairly close before deciding a meal was not in the offing before flying back across the river to disappear in the woods.
Adriana, our other visitor for the morning braved releasing the Cardinal and became the latest member of the 'bitten by a Cardinal' club.
Lynn made a bunch of fun discoveries in between bird watching. A Giant Leopard Caterpillar was along the lanes. This is the only local critter that eats the invasive Air Potato vines. We see evidence of their chewing throughout the banding site.
Hiding under a leaf was a clutch of insect eggs.
What an interesting beetle. Or some other bug...still investigating.
Nearby, a Butterfly was nearly done hardening its wings after emerging from its chrysalis.
A few weeks ago we had a grasshopper and damselfly having a nice chat. This wasp and grasshopper conversation looks a little more...thorny.
A new female Northern Cardinal with a brood patch was caught before we ended up the day.
Our final capture of the day was a pleasant surprise. A female Black-throated Blue Warbler. This will most likely be our final migrant capture of Session 7 which ends at the end of the month.
Or maybe we will get lucky for one more week. Birds go where they wanna.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, May 17th.
All nets will be opened by 6:00 A.M.