To start with what could be our last cool morning of the season, new visitors began joining us at dawn and we got our first bird of the day which was a nice surprise. A female Indigo Bunting. We thought we might get our last one of the Spring on Earth Day so it was nice to get one a couple of weeks later.
One of our new volunteers, Nikko, got to release our newly banded Indigo Bunting.
Next up was a female Northern Cardinal. She had a brood patch so the nest cannot be too far away.
Shortly afterward, Susan and Phyllis had a couple of birds in Net 19. Here, they extract a recaptured Carolina Wren.
The entire crowd gathered round and Andrew struck back with a photo of his own. Still, the camera could not capture all of them as they flanked both sides of the table. It was great to have Elizabeth, Christine's friend from the UK in light blue, returning for a visit.
The adult Carolina Wren did not show a brood patch as they usually breed a bit earlier than other species in the area and their brood is likely already fledged and hiding on the property.
Returning visitor Eileen got to release the Wren.
The other bird caught at the same time was a female American Redstart.
Christine got to supply the nightmare of the morning. A large spider was on Net 12. Probably a Huntsman's Spider.
As Andrew jumped the river to sneak away into the woods, as he is prone to do (ask his Mom), Nick got a shot of the escape.
While out on the fishing pier, Andrew had a bird fly by him and into the woods on the other side. He was thrilled to identify the bird and couldn't wait to tell the crowd. Turns out that they soon got a better view of the bird up near the river. It was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo! Haven't seen one of them for a while but they do live here year round. Luckily, Rachel got a shot of it before it flew off again.
She also captured a shot of one of the Swallow-tailed Kites cruising high overhead.
There was another couple of good finds just after that. There were a pair of female Blackpoll Warblers high in the trees (no photos) but the other bird we were thrilled to see was nearby. As everyone headed back down to find it again we spotted a Red-shouldered Hawk on the prowl which probably explained the lack of smaller birds around.
The real find of the morning was our first ever seen Scarlet Tanager on property for us. It gave everyone a nice view for a little longer before flying over to the park side across the river.
Our final bird of the day was a male American Redstart. There were several seen today as they make their way back North to breed.
Rachel got to release the American Redstart. Think she hated it...
Just before we packed up, a male Pileated Woodpecker (told by the red stripe near the bill) landed on the snag next to the banding table before flying off in search of food.
We were hoping for a little more activity but the birds that were around were mainly high in the trees today and NEXRAD radar shows that most migrating birds are streaming straight up Mexico into Texas instead of over on the eastern coast. Three weeks to go in our Session 9 before our Summer break but we can still get some interesting birds in the next couple of weeks.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, May 14th.
All nets will be opened by 6:05 A.M.