Monday, February 22, 2016

2016 Orlando Wetlands Festival, Pt. 2

We continue our hike where we left off in Part 1. At this part of the walk we had a lot of LBJs (Little Brown Jobs) fluttering past near the shore. They would disappear into the grasses. Every now and then one would hop out into the open like this lovely Savannah Sparrow.

Savannah Sparrow

Ankle deep in the water were a few Glossy Ibis.

Glossy Ibis

A few yards away, a Great Egret prepares to snag a snack.

Great Egret

The Snowy Egrets were using the vegetation to skip across the water in search of a quick meal.

Snowy Egret

There was a nice surprise near our destination (searching for a Flycatcher) at the far side of the park. Shifting near the opposite shore was a nice, pink Roseate Spoonbill.

Roseate Spoonbill

We could not find the flycatcher but there was a perfectly posed Wood Stork up in a Pine Tree.

Wood Stork

Did we mention that Purple Gallinules were all over the place today?

Purple Gallinule

This American Alligator was practically asking for its picture to be taken. OK.

American Alligator

Another nice surprise today were many American White Pelicans on the property. One flock of juveniles was right along the berm scooping out fish left and right.

White Pelican

They would often form a line and herd the fish toward the shallower waters.

White Pelican

Spring must be closer than it seems. This Palm Warbler was molting into breeding plumage already.

Palm Warbler

This is a blurry photo but an ID shot was in order since we don't see too many Caspian Terns this far inland. It was flying almost as the Tree Swallows!

TK

Back in the reeds, a tiny bird was flitting about just out of sight. Eventually we got some good views of a male Common Yellowthroat.

TK

As we got closer to the banding table Maria spotted something moving near the reeds. Turns out it was an American Bittern! Usually, these birds stay hidden in the reeds and can often be mistaken for them. Oddly, this bird was in the open and moving towards us...

American Bittern

We took 60 photos of this beautiful American Bittern and helped a birding hike group spot it as they passed by. Might never get this opportunity again.

American Bittern

By the time we got back to the banding table we could tell the day was shifting. The wind had picked up so our chances of getting many more birds had now dropped.

Wind

The hiking group we helped spot the Bittern paid us back by alerting us to a bird in the nets. An Ovenbird. A common bird during migration but not out here at this time of year.

Ovenbird

A very elated visitor got to release the Ovenbird.

Ovenbird

Even if the catch rates were down we had birds at the right time most of the time when groups stopped by.

Table

Another visitor gets to release a Gray Catbird.

Gray Catbird

Our nets this years stretched just around the corner but is was a good thing we checked all the way around. At the very end of the net we had a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Probably the same one that had been flying back and forth around the banding table all morning. Andrew was asked to go onto a passing tour bus to explain banding and to let visitors get some photos.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Another Myrtle Warbler is added to the day's tally.

Myrtle Warbler

Our final capture of the day was a Palm Warbler. The earlier photo out on the berms was a Western Palm but this was an Eastern, or Yellow Palm, also molting into its Spring plumage.

Palm Warbler

One more happy child gets to release our Palm Warbler.

Palm Warbler

Lynn captured a perfectly posed Gray Catbird that avoided our nets but it is a good representative photo since we heard so many today.

Gray Catbird

Overall, all reports were very positive about the day and the overall event. This was our 3rd best catch rate at the Orlando Wetlands Festival and we all had a great time. Back to home next Sunday. Might be a little chilly, but not too bad.
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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, February 28th.
All nets will be opened by 6:20 A.M.

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