Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Another Bird-of-the-Decade?

Today was fairly slow but steady all morning and we had a lot of visitors stop by throughout the proceedings. By the end of the day we had a chance to band a bird we haven't banded since 2006. More on that later, of course.

Our first bird of the day was a young female Northern Cardinal most likely born on property this year.

Northern Cardinal

Gray Catbirds are back in full swing and mewing up and down the river.

Gray Catbird

Painted Buntings are definitely back, too, and we caught another adult male.

Painted Bunting

No one can resist taking as many photos as possible of Painted Buntings. Our new visitors got to release many of our banded birds.

Painted Bunting

Common Yellowthroats are still moving through in good numbers.

Common Yellowthroat

One of our other young visitors learns how to release a bird, after a family photo.

Common Yellowthroat

It is great to have the whole range of Common Yellowthroats so that we can point out the differences between the females (above) and the adult males.

Common Yellowthroat

Connie is always scanning the nets to bring birds back to the table.

House Wren

We were just wondering where the House Wrens were when she brought one in!

House Wren

Everyone is fixated on the banding process.

House Wren

We typically begin catching Northern Waterthrush in August. Since the storms ruined most of our early banding season it was nice to have one in October.

Northern Waterthrush

See this dude? That look? This Carolina Wren was born here this Spring. Since then, it has been banded and recaptured 3 more times. Thus, the look of dejection. "Not again..."

Carolina Wren

A new male Northern Cardinal joined us along the way.

Northern Cardinal

It is always a joy to get an American Redstart, especially the adult males.

American Redstart

The perfect color scheme leading toward Halloween.

American Redstart

We bring out all of our bird guides every weekend so there is always something to do between birds at the table.

Studying

Ovenbirds are still creeping through the underbrush and will stay with us through the Winter.

Ovenbird

Then the second Bird-of-the-Decade in two weeks. We knew when we saw Chris thrusting both arms in the air down the lane that something special was coming back. It was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Like we said at the beginning of this post, it has been 11 years since we have banded a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and that was at Wekiwa Springs. Checking on past records, we always seem to have caught them in October.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Too bad there wasn't anyone there to witness our special guest...

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

We wrapped up with another Common Yellowthroat and closed up in time to beat the rain.

Common Yellowthroat

Christine found this little Green-tree-frog as we gathered nets. It was actually right next to Net 1 where it was resting on the pole when we set nets in the dark, hours earlier.

Green-tree-frog

Yet another exciting day in the woods. What might next Sunday bring?
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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, October 22nd.
All nets will be opened by 7:00 A.M.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

That's More Like It

We had a fairly slow Saturday but had a great bird in the Chestnut-sided Warbler, but we were hoping for a better Sunday. It was better. We doubled our Saturday count. Still could have been better if we can clear the skies for a while.

Before dawn while setting the last net, Andrew noticed something down in the gloom. He called William back since he had his camera in tow. A young American Alligator was positioned at the spill over between the river and the marsh. Animals often wait in these flowing water spots in hopes that some prey might unexpectedly flow through and swim directly into a waiting row of teeth.

American Alligator

We started the day just like yesterday with an American Redstart. The demographic shifted a bit as today all of the Redstarts we banded were juvenile males.

American Redstart

Ovenbirds are still lurking about silently.

Ovenbird

So are the Swainson's Thrushes

Swainson's Thrush

House Wrens were absent the past couple of banding days but they began to come back out today.

House Wren

We had new visitors today and they got to release a number of birds.

House Wren

Look who arrived fashionably late to the Fall party! Gray Catbird were heard recently but they finally started finding the nets today, nearly two weeks late.

Gray Catbird

Veerys usually are gone by the time the Swainson's Thrushes move in but we caught two this morning.

Veery

A variety of age and sex ranges of Common Yellowthroats were banded, beginning with an adult female.

Common Yellowthroat

As mentioned in previous posts, ew do catch more than birds in the nets. William rescued two large dragonflies near the table. Won't be the last.

Dragonfly

A new female Northern Cardinal was brought to the table midday. There was still some black in the bird's bill indicating that it is a hatch-year bird, probably born on property.

Northern Cardinal

The Christine came in looking like the cat that swallowed the Canary (pardon the anit-bird reference). Everyone was trying to keep the bird a secret from Andrew, who prefers to surprise others, but when she returned from Net 2, she asked, "Has he done the Bunting?", spoiling the reveal. The bird, in fact, was a male Painted Bunting, the first we have had in quite some time.

Painted Bunting

Not that anyone was interested in seeing a Painted Bunting up close...

Painted Bunting

We know that a few have been hatched around the area in the past but now it the time when migrating bird also move through. Next up will be Indigo Buntings in their blue and brown coats. We will take a rainbow any day.

Painted Bunting

More Gray Catbirds were captured and we got Dad in on the releasing action.

Gray Catbird

We got to point out the plumage of female and juvenile male Common Yellowthroats so it was fitting that we could show our visitors what an adult male looks like.

Common Yellowthroat

Soon, we had one of our Appalachian sub-species of a male Black-throated Blue Warbler in hand. This is turning out to be a pretty good showing for this species this year so far.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Keeping pace, another juvenile male American Redstart was banded. This is a good example of the juvenile male compared to a female. There are slight dark streaks in the cheek, dark feathers hiding underneath the white sides, and really bright orange in the 'wing-pits', as we call them.

American Redstart

Another was not too far behind and more were seen in the flooded area of Net 21, as well.

American Redstart

Our final bird of the day was a White-eyed Vireo. Many marveled in the irregular iris on this bird.

White-eyed Vireo

Weather forecasts are mixed for next weekend. Could be windy, could be mixed with rain, could be neither. We shall see. Just can't wait to see what other birds are arriving. Palm Warblers cannot be too far away.
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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, October 15th.
All nets will be opened by 6:55 A.M.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Storm Blocked But We Got the Bird of the Decade

Here at the peak of Fall Migration we were left fairly empty-handed today. Storms have capped off the top of Florida and caused a majority of bird to shift to the West to continue through Texas and Mexico. Any day in the woods is still a good day and we did get some migrants and a very special bird before the day was over.

American Redstarts are very evident this year. Can't recall seeing this many in the area. However, it was the first species found on property as migration was gearing up. They also typically stay higher in the tree canopy but it seems more are lingering close to the ground and we have concluded that is because more bugs are around over the mud left by the flooding not too long ago.

American Redstart

Our newest volunteer, Jenny, helped set some nets and got to release our first American Redstart of the day.

American Redstart

Next up was a Swainson's Thrush.

Swainson's Thrush

We have not been catching a lot of locals but finally a Carolina Wren found a net. Last week they were very good at escaping but we got two today.

Carolina Wren

Ovenbirds are putting on a good showing this year and we catch one or several everyday now.

Ovenbird

Richard & Lewis took some time to carve some of the lower branches still dangling overhead from our big fallen tree.

Richard & Lewis

Halfway along the net lanes we captured a new female Black-throated Blue Warbler.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Another White-eyed Vireo was brought to the table and just like all of the ones captured this month this one was also loaded with stored fat for energy during this migration. Andrew has decided that Net 21 is now too dangerous to maintain so he set a new Net 23 along the marsh. This White-eyed Vireo is the first bird captured there.

White-eyed Vireo

At the same time, just down the way, Christine was beaming and announcing that she had gotten the Bird-of-the-Decade. In fact, she was right! We have not banded a Chestnut-sided Warbler in over 10 years and that was at Wekiwa Springs. Records show that 20 were banded there but this non-breeding adult male marks the first ever for Lake Lotus.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Though seen nearly year-round here, it is always a thrill to get a Black-and-White Warbler in hand.

Black-and-White Warbler

The morning wrapped with yet another American Redstart.

American Redstart

Numbers are usually higher this time of year and we are hoping that tomorrow brings us better results. At least it seems that the rain will not surprise us this weekend.
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Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, October 8th.
All nets will be opened by 6:50 A.M.