Session 8 is underway! Warblers and other birds are being reported across the state but who knows if we could catch any migrants this early in the season. Mostly we capture local breeding birds before the other species begin to move in by the end of the month. We did end the day with a nice surprise, though.
Once nets were set we met Carol who was a visitor and began checks before we heard Richard calling for help at Net 2. He had a pair of Carolina Wrens grasping tightly to the netting.
Right next to the one bird was its sibling. Our first juveniles of the new session.
Once the light was up we could confirm that the rangers had mowed the net lanes. Thanks, guys!
It is always interesting to watch Nature retake part of itself. Branches that have fallen near the banding table are now being consumed by fungus after just dropping last Winter.
While replacing net strings we had our first Northern Cardinal capture of the day. A female we had not banded before.
A bit later we captured another new female Northern Cardinal. Both of these birds still had brood patches so they are most likely still nesting in the area.
It was interesting to note that St. Andrews Cross has spread to near the banding table. It used to only be found a 100 yards down the lanes. Now it is in several places closer to the main road.
While we were doing some clean-up last week we found a couple of Golden Silk Spiders on webs in the area. One is set up right over the rope we use to hang bags and was still here today. Christine has named her Octavia.
Our string of local captures continued with another juvenile Carolina Wren just molting in new tail feathers.
We then caught another Carolina Wren that was an adult. We banded this bird a year ago and it is doing quite well.
We were expecting more activity around Net 21 but it was not to be. However, Andrew did have a curious juvenile White-eyed Vireo respond to pishing at one point but it evaded capture besides photography.
Back to Northern Cardinals. We recaptured this bird down at Net 16. She was first banded on site in 2009 so she is at least 7-years-old.
We finally caught a male Northern Cardinal, maybe her mate nearby shortly afterward. All of the local birds we caught today were in major molt and looked very scruffy.
Best news of the day is that we ended with a migrant after all. Early, we heard a Waterthrush passing over Net 18. Christine found the bird in Net 16 twenty minutes later. Better still, it was a Louisiana Waterthrush. Northerns are more common but this is the species we often capture this early in the season.
A few minutes after we released the Waterthrush the sky turned slate gray and we hurried to get the nets stowed as rain caught us for the first time ever in our many years here. Wet and satisfied, we headed home with hopes of a successful Session to come.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, August 2nd.
All nets will be opened by 6:20 A.M.