Strong winds from the Southeast continue to usher birds through Mexico and up through Texas for Spring migration this year so we are having a difficult time capturing Northward birds. Ever since Hurricane Matthew the entire wind fields seem to have shifted leaving us fairly quiet.
Then, just when you keep hoping for a late migrant in the morning, you end up with a bat in your net instead. We usually get one every Spring and this one was particularly drawn to bitting everything that got near its mouth. With careful, slow movements, Andrew got his fingers around its neck and finally removed it from the net. It then proceeded to fly right back in for a repeat of the previous few minutes before it flew off towards the park.
Our first bird was a female Northern Cardinal with a brood patch. Local birds are still nesting even while many species are done and busy feeding fledglings.
Our first newly hatched capture of the year was a juvenile Carolina Wren. May is our month to get all of the new babies on the property. Today we only got one but at times we get as many as eight at a time.
We have not heard or seen the fledged Barred Owl in the past two weeks, but William found the adults preening one another near the river.
The next bird was brought in by the group as the light began to stream through the trees.
It was a recaptured Carolina Wren first banded years ago and still going strong.
One of our new visitors, Sarah, got to release the wriggly Carolina Wren to return to its foraging for the juveniles nearby.
Vegetation it growing like crazy out by the lake and spider webs were clinging to all of the taller structures like Cattails.
Primrose willows are even more aggressive and letting webs drape among them as the morning warmed.
An interesting site by the lake was an indentation in the spreading grasses at the mouth of the river leading into the lake. Pretty sure this was formed by a gator catching sunlight at some point. Or could it be a bear? Hmmm...
Dragonflies are in full display as the weather warms and William managed a great close up.
Do you know one of the birds that feast on dragonflies? Green Herons. Herons in general, actually. They were busy picking them off for breakfast all morning.
William also found a lurking Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker by Net 21. They are common in the region but hard to find from time to time. They do breed around the region but for some reason we rarely see them close-up.
Back by the table, Adrian made a rather early appearance. Our medium-sized American Alligator decided to find some heat pretty early in the morning.
Usually, the American Alligator stay in the lake or wait until near noon to bask. Adrian had another agenda.
Great-crested Flycatchers were gathering material and bathing nearby late in the day. Looking rather damp. As the crew watched, one of the Flycatchers dropped to the ground and then flew into the net.
Great-crested Flycatchers breed in Central Florida. We even placed nest boxes for them but they never used them. They are using other cavities around the property and now they are super active. This is the first we have captured in 5 years!
It was nice to have an opportunity to get some nice shots of the bird showing its crest after we banded it.
Nick extracted the bird and insisted on a shot. We don't blame him. It is an excellent bird to hold.
Just a bit later, William got a shot of our newly banded Great-crested Flycatcher returning to its activities down the net lanes.
So, who knows what we can end up with in the next two weeks? Winds are blowing far West, pushing birds away from us, and no rain for a while... However, we will still be around for two more weeks. Perhaps...
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, May 21st.
All nets will be opened by 6:00 A.M.