Just when we think it is going to turn back into a locals-only kind of weekend we were really surprised to get a bunch of migrants thrown into the mix. Even better, they were migrants that are pretty rare for this area this time of year.
Right after sunrise there was a bird in Net 9 that looked out of place. Approaching the bird it was clear it was Bird-of-the-Day right away. We had not caught a Connecticut Warbler in about 10 years and that was at the old banding site in Wekiwa Springs!
While we were finishing up with the banding of the Connecticut Warbler, a second one was caught close to the table. Wow. The first bird was actually recaptured 90 minutes later just down the lanes. Birders hearing of the find came out later and reported hearing a few more.
Next up was a Veery. Typically, they are only seen here in the early Fall. Odd thing about this bird is that it was a juvenile and still retained its juvenile plumage from tip to tail.
Then we had a lovely little Common Yellowthroat.
A local Carolina Wren was recaptured. We first banded this bird 3 years ago and it is still doing quite well and has a brood patch so it either is currently tending a nest or fledglings.
The Barred Owl family was still easy to find but they weren't as active as last week which forced us to close a few nets. Most of the crew got to be amused as a squirrel decided to test the new baby. Brave little rodent. The adults do occasionally take them for lunch.
Becky had a very feisty new female Northern Cardinal. That is not a smile on her face. Cardinals bite. Hard.
Northern Cardinals are nesting now, too, and with all the vivid color she is in full breeding mode.
Later on we recaptured a male Northern Cardinal.
Checking the end of the net lanes we flushed a Green Heron next to Net 21.
Andrew dared to wander out to the lake's edge even though it is getting overgrown and very wet after recent rains. It was worth it, though. Feeding in the Willow at the end was a very late Yellow Warbler. This is another rare find that should be up North by now. Not one complaint except that it flew over to Net 21 to bathe in dew and preen but went around the net. We have never banded a Yellow Warbler. They love the higher branches.
Heading back toward the table, Chris spotted a Blackpoll Warbler along the river. There are large flocks moving through the area right now but they are another species that is difficult to catch.
We then caught a very small male Downy Woodpecker and released him back near the nest tree in the snags by Net 16 where he was captured.
In Net 7 Maria had Northern Parula. Like the wren earlier in the morning, we banded this bird 3 years ago.
One of our visitors got to release the Northern Parula.
While we didn't get that Yellow Warbler a family of Tufted Titmice moved through to feed. When we do capture them it usually most or all of the flock since they stick so close together. We only got 2 of them but the rest of the family was right there watching us as we extracted a recaptured adult...
...and a newly fledged juvenile. Check out that gape on that cute little thing! We processed the birds and then released them together by the river so they could head back to the flock.
It didn't really sink in until we were leaving how awesome a day it really was. Three rare birds and plenty of data on the local birds. Maybe, just maybe, we can have one more weekend of migrants. Please? Three weeks to go in the season.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, May 15th.
All nets will be opened by 6:05 A.M.