Has it been a year already since the Sparrow Drive at Weekie Wachee? Well, really more like three! The weather the past couple of years was too risky for us spending 5 hours on the road to just be rained out. The weather was much nicer this year so the volunteers from the banding site were rounded up are arrived at dawn to help set nets.
Once all who were going to attend showed up by 9 AM the marching through the grasses began. The cold front that came through the other day left the area a bit squishy and wet feet were had by all in short order.
Andrew got a new point and shoot for Christmas and brought it along to test in the field.
A number of other banders were out for the drive, including Jim McGinity who helped extract captured birds with us.
The first couple of runs produced nothing but in this section we captured some Savannah Sparrows and other birds.
The crew finished the first circuit and headed back to the trucks to watch as some of the birds were banded.
Marianne Korosy is in charge of the Sparrow Drive and bands all the birds we capture.
A few of us held birds so visitors could get photos. Here, Tony holds a LeConte’s Sparrow that was just banded.
A close up of the LeConte’s Sparrow.
Andrew got the Grasshopper Sparrow to display to answer any questions from the group.
Let the next round begin!
Since our banding crew has a lot of experience extracting bird we station ourselves at intervals at the nets to get to birds as quickly as possible.
Jim gets another bird as Lynn moves down to the next position.
Killian has his hands full of birds in bags and heads back to the trucks with our recent catches.
We got more Savannah Sparrows on this final sweep...
...and another House Wren for the morning.
Before we loaded out, Marianne called us over to look at the Swamp Sparrow we just had banded. No of us had ever seen anything like it. This bird had a single white feather on its wing. Pretty cool.
Back near the cars, a Gopher Tortoise was trying to decide if it should come out for a snack.
We have been doing these drives for years and never think to get a group shot. Thanks to Jim for thinking about it just before the truck took all the Wekiva Basin banding volunteers back out of the preserve.
A lot of birds, a lot of fun. Until next year...