It was a cloudy, breezy morning following a light rain overnight. We were hoping the low cloud cover would bring us some birds in the nets but it was a very quiet day. There were a few surprises along the way. while setting the nets, Andrew saw some movement in the dark. It seemed like a local Swamp Rabbit as it moved ahead of him but then it fluttered into the air for a couple of feet and settled back to the ground. Maybe a Night jar? As he pulled the net farther out of the bag and got closer it fluttered again and returned to the ground again a few feet away. Strange.
Once the net was secured to the far pole he walked closer to get the headlamp to throw some light on the critter. We have been waiting for American Robins to return and here and, in the center of the net lane, was our first! It was not clear if the bird was in distress or just waiting for daylight but it eventually scurried into the grass and was never seen again. Many small flocks of Robins were seen and heard all morning.
Hermit Thrushes were our main bird today and our first was captured just after dawn. A second was captured shortly afterwards and it turned out to be the same bird we caught last week that was first banded as a juvenile in December of 2015. It was even in the same net as last week. It might just love the Beauty Berry in that stretch.
Lewis, a Seminole County Audubon member, was visiting today and got the honor of releasing one of our Hermit Thrushes.
It has been rather dry since Matthew departed but the light rain must have been enough to rouse this clump of fungus in the middle of the path.
Our second surprise of the day was caught not long after other visitors arrived. A Painted Bunting! Nice to see a bright green in between all the brown birds of late.
Nothing makes us happier than seeing how happy releasing a bird can make other people.
Our final bird was yet another Hermit Thrush. Long ago e had trouble pinning an ID on a Thrush. as it a Swainson's or a Hermit. It was a confusing mix due to overall coloring. hat we learned that day became our mantra: "Tail, Tail, Tail." Hermit Thrushes has a significantly redder tail than all other thrushes we band.
The last surprise of the day was more of a work. Andrew, being a "I need to get there..." guy, pushed through the upended tangle of vegetation left by the hurricane and overgrowth to reach the edge of Lake Lotus. It will still require a lot of cutting to make that path more passable for others but there were more birds seen out there for the day.
One of those birds was a male Anhinga sitting atop the willows. It eventually decided human encroachment was too much flew off toward the Window on the Lake pictured above.
Once there, it encountered another male and the two engaged one another in a fighting match for position taking them out over the lake for a fight for a proper branch to dry out. Both agreed to disagree but found suitable branches.
A new world awaits us as we get through the election. One thing is certain. Birds don't care and we don't judge out in the wild. Until it is broken. Vote!
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, November 13th.
All nets will be opened by 6:15 A.M.