Sunday, March 27, 2016

Really, Wind?

Another week, another morning of rising winds and taking leaves out of the nets for most of the net checks. Not many birds moving about but we did see a definite sign of Spring. A Waterthrush feeding along the river bank.

' Before we could get started we had to move debris that had fallen during the storms over the last two weeks. This part of the 'honeycomb tree' landed right in the middle of Net 19. Good thing we weren't around when it came down.


Our first bid was a Gray Catbird.

Gray Catbird

Then it was time for a lull. Eventually, we captured a couple of local birds. One was a Carolina Wren. Camera decided to not cooperate.

Carolina Wren

Then another blurry bird. A male Northern Cardinal originally banded a few weeks ago. Interesting part was that he was showing a brood patch beginning. Nesting is in full swing.

Northern Cardinal

Not much out on the lake. A few fly-bys included Red-tailed Hawks and a single Swallow-tailed Kite rising high with the wind. April brings the next wave for migration and, if the weather wills it, we hope to start catching more interesting species. Fingers crossed...
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 3rd.
All nets will be opened by 6:40 A.M.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

More Wind as Migration Looms

NOTE: No banding Sunday, March 20th due to rain. We will try again on the 27th.

The morning started nice enough but eventually grew quiet and windy like last week. Most of our captures, besides a lot of leaves, were recaptures. The first recapture of the day was a House Wren.

House Wren

Gray Catbirds were the majority once more.

Gray Catbird

An early Hermit Thrush recapture was a surprise. We haven't seen a thrush in the area for a while.

Hermit Thrush

Nick, our latest volunteer, got to release most of the morning birds and began to learn the ropes on managing the nets at the end of the day.


Bees are still busily tending to their large honeycomb high up in a snag.


Just below the tree, the Spiderwort are beginning to bloom in earnest.


It definitely is turning toward Spring evidenced by the return of spider webs to move out of the paths. Besides Garden Orb Weavers, Spiny Orb Weavers are spinning their webs out, too.

Spiny Orb Weaver

We have noticed signs of mammals around but they don't come out in the open too often. Becki found a Possum around mid-morning.


Our first unbanded capture today was another Hermit Thrush. A sure sign that migration is gearing up.

Hermit Thrush

We found a young American Alligator as we set nets this morning and the unusually warm weather is bringing out the adults on the lake, also.


Swallow-tailed Kites eventually soared onto the scene and began feeding higher in the sky with a kettle of Black Vultures.

Swallow-tailed Kite

Joining them very high up was a lone Red-tailed Hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk

Closer to the ground were a few Red-shouldered Hawks shrieking to one another throughout the park.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Along with Crane's bill and Earthsmoke flowers, the Thistles are beginning to bloom.


The Barred Owls met up before dawn and then found their usual spots to roost for the rest of the morning.

Barred Owl

Nearby in the river, a Limpkin walked the banks and pulled up shelled snacks from the sand with ease.


Christine made a nice discovery toward Net 21. A Common Snapping Turtle.

Common Snapping Turtle

Heading back up the net lanes Nets 13 and 9 were filling with more leaves. Suddenly, one of the 'leaves' began to strain against the mesh. Not a leaf at all but a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird! We got a few shots of the bird before releasing it. We don't have a license to band Hummingbirds.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

It is always interesting to notice that to see the bright red in the feathers. One turn to the side and that ruby turned to black.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

An Eastern Phoebe was found foraging in the area. We did not catch it today but there is definitely a band on this bird. Most likely one we banded here in the past.

Eastern Phoebe

We are keeping an eye on the weather for next weekend. Rain is in the forecast but fingers are crossed that it clears out for our next day out. If you plan on coming out make sure to check back here late Saturday to see if we have to cancel.

NOTE: No banding Sunday, March 20th due to rain. We will try again on the 27th.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 27th.
All nets will be opened by 7:00 A.M.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Stupid Wind

The title is an inside joke but holds true for the day. Spring is right on our doorstep but the winds don't help catch birds as they cause the nets to blow about and be more noticeable to our flying friends. Still, it was not a bad day and we enjoyed having various visitors throughout the morning.

Gray Catbirds ruled the day, as expected but we also caught a Common Yellowthroat just after dawn.

Common Yellowthroat

One of our visitors got to release the bird. In fact, everyone who wanted to got a chance to release birds.

Common Yellowthroat

Shortly,, one of the 'biters' showed up. A female Northern Cardinal. We choose not to let visitors release then. Your first bid release should not be remembered as pitched really hard.

Northern Cardinal

We weren't going to take a picture of a Gray Catbird since we have so many but since they were the majority today...

Gray Catbird

Charles brought his Grandson Ben out and he got to release a Gray Catbird and Carolina Wren this morning.


We know Spring is right around the corner when the Innoscence begins to bloom. There is a nice patch under Net 2 right now.


One of the major projects for the day was repositioning Net 21. It has been stretched along the bank of the river for years and has netted us some great captures.

Net 21

However, it is also a place of change from storm to storm. There was a nice bank along this area for a while but even with the rainy season dropping off the water is claiming parts of the bank. Sometime soon someone might just tumble into the river gathering a bird.

Net 21

So, the decision was made to cut down some small trees and pivot the net East into the Willows. It was always a thought from the beginning and now it is a reality.

Net 21

Many smaller birds feed through here and once things start filling in we should get more birds before they fly over the net across the river. As hard as we tried for a new capture today this Blue-headed Vireo refused to dip low enough to receive some jewelry.

Blue-headed Vireo

As the day began to wind down we caught a new male Northern Cardinal in Net 9. Seems there is no end to the new Cardinals as we go along.

Northern Cardinal

As the trash from upstream reminds us, 'hang in there' until next week. We just need a little less wind to bring more birds into the nets.


NOTE: Time to Spring Forward! Daylight Savings time goes into effect this Sunday so don't forget to set those clocks. Especially tricky for banders and other early risers.

Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, March 13th.
All nets will be opened by 7:05 A.M.