Sunday, May 1, 2016

Last Migrant?

Hoping for any remaining migrants, we set-up pre-dawn as usual. The dawn chorus was strong but not much was flying. Just after official sunrise we had our first bird. Odd thing was that you could smell it from a distance.

It was a red morph Eastern Screech Owl. Boy, did he stink. Maybe it had a rotten rat for breakfast. Maria wanted to call it Popeye. Eastern Screech Owls do this often for some reason. Andrew insisted on calling it Stinky.

Eastern Screech Owl

Once the data was gathered we were ready to release Stinky. It didn't want to go. This is another thing Screech Owls do. They just kind of hang out until they are ready to head back to the woods.

Eastern Screech Owl

We had other birds to process so we put Stinky over on our other table and gave him a clear view of the woods. Still he sat.

Eastern Screech Owl

As we were taking info on a recaptured Northern Cardinal, Stinky suddenly took flight toward the river. Seems like approaching volunteers was enough to send it on its way. It landed overhead and Becki got a shot before it flew deeper into the trees. Bye, Stinky!

Eastern Screech Owl

A pair of Northern Cardinal were caught in adjoining nets. A female and a male that showed clear brood patches. A nest must be nearby.

Northern Cardinal

Becky and Killian rounded out the crew for the day. It would end up being pretty quiet after they arrived.


The Barred Owl was very active this morning. Baby was heard calling before dawn and the parents were hunting and flying back and forth across the river. Baby is not looking too baby-like any more. Just a little fuzz left on the head.

Barred Owl

Mama Barred Owl finally settled on branch above Net 1. Since they were so active we decided to close the middle section of the net lanes to keep any birds that might fly in from becoming a snack.

Barred Owl

Later on the owls were fed and ready for a rest. Time for some preening.

Barred Owl

We had plenty of time to explore today. Unfortunately. Over in the neighbors pond, a baby American Alligator cruised.

American Alligator

Speaking of cruising, Becki added to our insect checklist by finding a Royal River Cruiser.

Royal River Cruiser

Queen and Viceroy butterflies took flight mid-morning. Zebra Longings are also along the river.


Above the river, a Great Egret settled atop a Cypress tree.

Great Egret

Deeper in the branches a Pileated Woodpecker called and foraged.

Pileated Woodpecker

More things with wings emerged including a lot of Horace's Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Horace's Duskywing

Tussock Moth Caterpillar roamed along the oak leaves.

Tussock Moth Caterpillar

If not for gravity, we may have never seen this snail. While we were at the banding table the snail slimed its way up a palm frond. By the time it got high enough it tilted into view as if on a see-saw.


Finally, this Gray Catbird may be our final migrant of Session 8. Hopefully not but they are quickly leaving the state.

Gray Catbird

Four weeks to go in the season. Might just start catching fledglings before we pack up for the Summer.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, May 8th.
All nets will be opened by 6:10 A.M.

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