Sunday, November 29, 2015

Slow But Steady

It was another oddly quiet day today with long periods of no bird or insect sound and pop-up sprinkles from before dawn to mid-morning. They did bring on the occasional rainbow, though.


Just after dawn, Phyllis noticed and photographed a Wood Stork above the river.

Wood Stork

Our first bird captured was a juvenile Gray Catbird. Two others escaped on approach shortly afterward. Grrrr...

Gray Catbird

Two weeks ago, one of the poles at Net 16 was bent over by a mower. We were shorthanded last week so we replaced it today. Good thing, too. Not much later we caught two birds in that spot. As the net was being reset, Phyllis noticed a Ruby-crowned Kinglet in a tree next to the net. Twenty minutes later the bird was in the net. Last week we had two males and this was a female.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Just two feet below the Kinglet was an adult Carolina Wren. Thought we had banded all of them in the area but this one was unbanded. At least for a few more minutes.

Carolina Wren

Lynn did her usual critter sleuthing and found an Arrowhead Orb Weaver Verrucosa arenata) in the dark.

Arrowhead Orb Weaver

She also photographed a butterfly, most likely a Barred Yellow Sulphur.


When the birds were feeding Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were easy to spot up and down the river.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

The other common species seen was the Western Palm Warblers. This bird isn't in the best focus but we had no problem seeing it was one we had recently banded.

Western Palm Warbler

On the edge of the lake another bird popped up from the vegetation. Even with the head hidden from view, you can make out the markings of a Northern Parula. They breed here but we don't see many in the Fall/Winter seasons.

Northern Parula

A bit of drama was unfolding back at the table. While getting some trash collected, a Huntsman Spider carrying an egg sack dashed out of a hiding place. Though Christine has major arachnophobia she still managed to get a photo before quickly moving as far away as possible.

Huntsman Spider

Two more birds were netted near the table. Another Western Palm Warbler was added to the tally for the season.

Western Palm Warbler

In the same net was a version of Palm Warbler we don't see that often in this habitat. An Eastern Palm Warbler. They are easy to pick out from the Westerns as they have a load more yellow in their plumage.

Eastern Palm Warbler

Despite the quiet stretches it was not a completely bad day. Heck, any day out in the open air is a good one, yes?
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, December 6th.
All nets will be opened by 6:35 A.M.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Monday Surprise

Stormy weather kept us away from our regular Sunday banding but we finally made a rare Monday appearance thanks to days off and school holidays aligning. So that was a surprise. The other surprise was our first bird capture of the morning not long after sunrise. An American Robin! We banded two Robins almost 10 years ago and that was out at Wekiwa Springs.

American Robin

Next up we captured a male Ruby-crowned Kinglet just behind the table. We banded this bird last January.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

No surprise that we caught a couple of Gray Catbirds. We got an adult and a juvenile.

Gray Catbird

Soon, another Ruby-crowned Kinglet and another male, at that! Once to be seeing the males coming through the area now.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Venturing out to the windy lake's edge we found some other birds like our resident Osprey who was perched high above the fishing pier searching for a meal.


Swamp Sparrows have not ventured up the river yet but they are darting through the branches and cattails in the marsh.

Swamp Sparrow

A Carolina Wren made a quick appearance before diving back into the vegetation but not fast enough to reveal a band. Could be the same bird seen last week or another of the same family as we have banded so many wrens here.

Carolina Wren

Western Palm Warblers are abundant and we captured 2 of them this morning.

Western Palm Warbler

Next to one of the Palms was a much yellower bird. An Orange-crowned Warbler, our second this season. We love their needle-like bills and relaxed demeanor.

Orange-crowned Warbler

This one was a male. Like the Kinglets, they have color in their crown feathers that you don't get to see too often in the field.

Orange-crowned Warbler

Heading back to the banding table we were joined by a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks that landed and called from the snags next to Net 8.

Red-shouldered Hawk

This site may have been here previously but without the proper lighting we may have missed something up in another snag. Honeycomb! Bees could be seen occasionally coming and going.


Our final bird of the day was also caught behind the table at Net 2. A recaptured Hermit Thrush. We first banded this bird almost exactly a year ago.

Hermit Thrush

Turned out to be a good idea to head on out on chilly November day. We would have missed a lot of nice surprises.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, November 29th.
All nets will be opened by 6:30 A.M.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Oddly Quiet

NOTE: No banding Sunday due to rain forecasts. We will be banding Monday, November 23rd instead.
It was a strange kind of morning. A bit of a front was moving through and we though that might be good for more arriving birds. Winds were occasional but not too strong. Most of the morning, however, was completely devoid of bird or insect sound.

Even stranger was that we started our morning with the capture of a Tufted Titmouse! These birds typically stay higher in the tree canopy and easily avoid the nets most of the time.


Common Yellowthroats are either moved on or are starting to settle around the lake but we still captured a new one this morning.

Common Yellowthroat

During one of the most quiet moments we were surprised to spot a Brown Thrasher in Net 19. This one was a juvenile and our 6th Thrasher this Session so far.

Brown Thrasher

Folks kept mentioning a flower down the lane so we investigated and found it to be a Purple Aster newly sprung up from the soil.

Purple Aster

The marsh is aflame with Bur Marigold, (Bidens laevis).

Bur Marigold

A trip to the lake was in order to see what might be out there. A few Swamp Sparrows could be heard but they remained hidden unlike our local Anhingas.


Flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds, mostly females, are rising and dropping above and into the vegetation.

Red-winged Blackbird

Carolina Wrens are sharing the invasive Primrose Willow and chasing one another around the branches. We have been wondering where all of the locals are and seeing a band on this bird means that they are more interested in the lake than the woods for now.

Carolina Wren

Cattails are looking rather frayed by now.


As we closed up for the day we had one more surprise. A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in Net 8. This bird had zero intention of smiling for the camera.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

On the way home Andrew found a pair of American Crows wandering the parking lot a couple miles from the banding site.

American Crow

Better still, the first of the Hooded Mergansers are back in the retention pond that they use as their Winter home. Duck season is officially upon us.

Hooded Merganser

We will be watching the weather very closely. A couple of fronts should swing through and maybe ruin next Sunday. If you intend to join us at all check back here by Saturday to see if we are still banding.

NOTE: No banding Sunday due to rain forecasts. We will be banding Monday, November 23rd instead.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Monday, November 23rd.
All nets will be opened by 6:25 A.M.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Two Firsts of Season and Nature Watching

Rain moved in last night and we headed to bed not knowing if we would be able to band or not. Dawn proved we were in the clear for what ended up being the 3rd record for high temperatures this week.


We set Net 21 just after dawn as it is more remote and in an area often visited by alligators and we like a bit more light to see what is around us. Even in the dim light Ike had little trouble spotting a Water Snake nestled in the vegetation.

Water Snake

Our first bird of the day was a male Common Yellowthroat.

Common Yellowthroat

To proved it rained pretty well last night, Lynn found a Green Anole dripping with water.

Green Anole

House Wrens are still moving in and we are banding plenty this month.

House Wren

The main bulk of Indigo Buntings have moved South but we do hear some every weekend and it was nice to catch a female today.

Indigo Bunting

Since the rangers don't like the butterfly garden sign being seen by the public when they stroll by on the park side we have hopefully found a more discrete location for now. Shhhhhhhhh...


Seems we have been catching fewer Swainson's Thrushes over the last couple of years and was really surprised that we caught a juvenile today this is late in the migration season to even have many around.

Swainson's Thrush

We had the pleasure of have several visitors today. Pete Dunn and his wife Kath from England were in town on vacation and joined us for the morning. Here, Pete inspects the Swainson's Thrush before releasing it.

Swainson's Thrush

Once things began to dry out the butterflies and other insects began to appear including this White Peacock butterfly.

White Peacock

Charles spotted this Black Racer up in a tree and Lynn arrived in time to take a shot.

Black Racer

Meanwhile, Maria was finding other subjects like this Beetle.


More birds were captured and Andrew, Susan, and Charles gathered data and photos back at the table.


Our second Common Yellowthroat of the day was a female.

Common Yellowthroat

Our other visitor was Kathy Rigling, a science teacher at a nearby school, who got to release the Common Yellowthroat and some other birds.

Common Yellowthroat

We captured our 2nd juvenile male Black-throated Blue Warbler today in Net 7 which is not a common spot for them. Perhaps it is the added Beauty Berry attracting them?

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Things got a bit quiet for a while providing us some time to do some birding around the property. Surprise of the jaunt was an Audubon's Warbler. Typically we only see Myrtle Warblers here but the yellow throat was a sure give-away. Maybe we can catch one of those this season. We have banded what we thought might be hybrids a couple of years ago.


Pete and Kath found a very relaxed Green Tree Frog sitting on a blade of Guinea Grass next to the river.

Green Tree Frog

As a couple of us headed out to the lake, a male Anhinga landed briefly in the maple before flying off to ward the marsh.


Red-winged Blackbirds were all over the marsh and were mainly busy picking at the cattails.

Red-winged Blackbird

Back in the willows a pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were moving around the branches until the male decided to fly to the opposite side of the lake.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Meanwhile, Downy Woodpeckers were seen and heard up and down the river.

Downy Woodpecker

Coming back from the lake we spotted several Black-and-White Warblers including this juvenile.

Black-and-White Warbler

As we wound down the day we closed nets and had a couple of other birds. Another House Wren made the roster.

House Wren

Besides our first Swianson's Thrush we also finally caught our first Eastern Phoebe of the season. They have been teasing us for the past few weeks.

Eastern Phoebe

A final first of the season was long overdue. We finally had American Robins flying overhead. Typically we get them at the end of October. Next weekend is suppose to cool down and maybe we can net some interesting Wintering species.
Next (planned) Banding Days: Sunday, November 15th.
All nets will be opened by 6:15 A.M.