It was a perfect morning to be out in the woods and the NEXRAD radar was showing a lot of migration in progress. As nets were being set there was a thought that there might be more owl activity for the day. It began when we heard the baby Barred Owl calling before dawn. Not hearing it at all last week had us wondering if it was OK but the hisses in the dark and the adults meeting up nearby confirmed things were going alright.
Typically, we set nets to the end of the lanes along the main path and then open the interior nets on the way back. Today, Andrew opened Nets 16 and 17 on a hunch. Once finishing the last nets he returned to find an Eastern Screech Owl in Net 17. It turned out to be the same bird we banded just last week. In the same net! Must be where it has decided to hang out for now. Unlike last week, we were able to get some better, dignified shots.
Gray Catbirds were not as noisy as last week but we did manage to capture a new one.
A recaptured House Wren found its way into Net 3 early on. They are still chatting up and down the river.
Once the sunlight topped the tree line, Red-shouldered Hawks began calling and prowling all over the property.
This trip to the lake's edge might be the last for the season. Just when we didn't see any activity, an American Alligator popped up from hiding near the shore. With rains being predicted next week and vegetation beginning to overgrow the paths it just makes sense to be safer than sorry as the weather gets warmer. Gators will be moving around a lot more freely.
Migrants are increasing with the return of Great-crested Flycatchers last week and several Prairie Warblers being seen today. Another returning species, a female Common Yellowthroat, added to our Spring captures. By the end of the month all of our Wintering birds should be out of Florida.
A recaptured Carolina Wren, first banded last Fall, was hanging upside down in Net 19. We have had a pretty good year of this species hatched last year, as usual.
As we were calling it a day, a Northern Parula was caught in Net 1. We quickly processed it before closing more nets as it had a brood patch and felt it would be better to let it get back to the nest asap.
A nice day compared to the last few weeks. Looking forward to the next few weeks heading toward Earth Day in the park. A series of cold fronts are on the way with rain and cool temperatures returning after today's 90 degree high.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, April 9th.
All nets will be opened by 6:35 A.M.