Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 16, 2014

Today was better than expected.  We did not run as many nets as last week as fewer members of the team could be there.  We caught a Northern Cardinal early in the morning.  Then we got three Gray Catbirds, two of which were recaptures.  One of those was the one we recaptured last week.

Then we got a Painted Bunting.  It appears to be a green (female or first-year male) that has been using the new feeder (see Painted Buntings - Season Two).

Painted Bunting
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

A good sized flock of warblers and a Blue-headed Vireo visited the station.  It was nice to search through the group that was mostly Yellow-rumped Warblers to find a Black-throated Blue, a Black-and-white, and a Prairie.  We later caught and banded a Black-and-white Warbler for a little excitement.

Black-and-white Warbler
Photo by Jane Wiewora

We closed up a bit early and headed home.  Be aware that we will not be banding for at least a few weeks.  Painted Buntings are keeping us busy and Possum Long will be quiet in the next few weeks.  I will post again before the next session.  Enjoy the break and see you in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 9, 2014

Today started with a recaptured Blue Jay and and then a rush and boy what a rush it was!!  We had two nets at the pond and a warbler flock hit the nets and  had at least 17 birds to extract and band. Never had that happen before!  We closed all the other nets and extracted the birds.  They were safely put into weighing bags and then processed.  If you have ever put a towel over a pet bird's cage or seen a falconer's bird with a hood on, you know this is a good way to keep birds calm.

Birds waiting to be processed (and a few more to come) 
Photo by Georgia Binderow

When this photo was taken Nancy Price was still extracting birds and I had a bird in hand.  A Gray Catbird had already been banded and released.  We ended up banding 6 Palm and 6 Yellow-rumped Warblers.  Several birds were released before banding for a variety of reasons including one that had a healed leg fracture and one that had a swollen leg and was likely ill.  No need to add to the compromised state they were already in.  We also released a previously banded Northern Cardinal.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle subspecies)
Photo by Marta Isaacson


Palm Warbler
Photo by Marta Isaacson

Palm Warbler
Photo by Marta Isaacson


Then there was a long lull until we caught 2 more Gray Catbirds.  One new bird and one a recapture.  We had never recaptured a Gray Catbird from a previous season until today.  The bird had been banded in April, 2013 and was an adult then.  This means it was born in 2011 and is still around.  It also means it has traveled to its breeding territory twice and then came back to pass through or over-winter at Possum Long once again.

Gray Catbird
Photo by Georgia Binderow

Our last capture of the day was a White-eyed Vireo that was banded in February, 2013.  Great returns and site fidelity for these two birds. (The first Blue Jay was also banded in 2013 but was likely a resident and nearby since it was banded.)

White-eyed Vireo
Photo by Pete Grannis

Because we had such a great day we will band again on December 16.  Nets go up at 6:30.  After that we will be taking a break until late January or early February.  Watch the blog for start-up notices.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 18, 2014

We really tried to dodge the raindrops.  It was a valiant effort.  We set up nets and soon caught a new Gray Catbird.

Not long after we recaptured the Wood Thrush from last week.  Photo from then too.

Wood Thrush
Photo by Georgia Binderow

A few chip notes and we were surprised to find an Ovenbird in our net.  It was originally banded on September 9 of this year.  It had not stored any fat but weighed a bit more than last time.  Had it built up muscle mass missing after a hard migration?  It's a good theory.

Sorry no new photos - very humid.  The rain started and we bailed.

Next scheduled banding:  NOTE TWO WEEKS OFF  until December 9.  Nets go up at 6:15.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 11, 2014

Today was a day of great variety, great company, and a great bird.  We banded 6 birds and for this time of year, that is a good number.  We expect over-wintering birds and residents.  Gray Catbirds never seem to disappoint this time of year.  It still feels like numbers are low.  We banded 2 today.

The next bird was a bit unexpected although some may over-winter.  We had a Black-thoated Blue Warbler that was clearly a hatch-year bird.  Its throat still showed a few white feathers.  If I get a photo from the photographers, I will add it.

We had a bit of a quiet spell and then the surprise.  A new bird on the property and a new species for me to band.  You can imagine my surprise when Nancy Price brought a Wood Thrush to the banding table.  Not only had we never documented one on the property, this one may be quite late going through.

Wood Thrush
Photo by Pat Marshall

Wood Thrush (body molt)
Photo by Georgia Binderow

We aged the bird to be hatch-year based on light tips on the coverts.  It also had some body molt still happening.

Then almost at the end of our session we got a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  We had not had one at Possum Long in 2014. They are such small critters weighing in at 6 grams! (Just a tad over 1 nickle.)

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Photo by Georgia Binderow

Last but not least we banded our 5th Painted Bunting in 2014 at Possum Long.  Painted Bunting season is just ramping up.  Follow Season Two in the Pages section.  This bird cannot be aged or sexed in Florida in winter.  It could be female or a hatch year male.

Painted Bunting
Photo by Georgia Binderow

Next banding will be November 18.  Nets go up at 6 am.  NO BANDING AT POSSUM LONG on November 25 or December 2.  We hope there will be birds and a continuation of banding on December 9 & 16.  Always watch the end of the blog entry for the latest schedule.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November 4, 2014

Just a few things to note.  We did not hold a session on November 4 as Audubon of Martin county needed the property for an event.  You can always see the information on "next banding" at the bottom of the latest post.

Things will be slowing down at Possum Long likely by mid-December.  However, we will be doing more Painted Bunting banding.  You can keep up with the latest on Painted Buntings as well as incidental captures on the page called "Painted Buntings - Season 2".  Pages are to the right of the main blog.  Scroll to the bottom for the latest news once you have read the beginning.

Next banding November 11.  Nets go up at 6 am.  We will not be banding on November 25.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 28, 2014

Today was a day of great bird observations, great lessons, and birders meeting and sharing, and, oh yes, we caught 4 birds.

We welcomed visitors and new volunteers today.  Photographer Paul York took some great photos:  https://plus.google.com/photos/+PaulYorke/albums/6075387246981075377?banner=pwa

Birds put on quite the show for us.  One of the first bird interactions was an adult Bald Eagle flying overhead with 2 Osprey defending their territory.

Later in the day we observed a small flycatcher that was often buzzed by a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  We determined that the flycatcher was an Eastern Wood-Pewee.  We narrowed it down to pewee fairly fast (photos not high quality but helped with ID).  The long wing (primary projection) seen in the photo helped there as did the lack of eyering, etc.  We were bothered by the lack of light coloring on the underside of the bill.  We studied photos and finally ruled out Western (yes, we knew that was only a remote possibility but it pays to check) by the undertail coverts.  Jane found data in the banding guide that young Eastern Wood-Pewees can have dark bills.  A great lesson in narrowing down possibilities to an ID.  It would have been much easier if it had decided to vocalize.

Eastern Wood-Pewee
Photos by Nancy LaFramboise

Later in the day we observed a Cooper's Hawk.  This bird was chased by an American Kestrel.  It is hawk migration time after all.

Oh - banding - we banded a Gray Catbird.  Numbers of catbirds on the property are way down.  Looks like the high numbers from recent weeks have moved on.  Still we should have more of them this winter.

We also banded a House Wren.  Only the second one for the property.  We have moved the nets closer to the pond as we have learned that more birds hang out there in the late autumn/winter.  It seems the House Wrens like that habitat.

House Wren
Photo by Georgia Binderow

Next we had a Northern Parula.  This male bird is much less bright than in its spring plumage.  Still fun to see the light underbill up close.

Northern Parula
Photo by Georgia Binderow

Lastly we had a Palm Warbler.  Three of them teased us most of the day.  They foraged near the banding table so we moved a net.  The one we caught was in an entirely different net.

Palm Warbler
Photo by Georgia Binderow

NOTE:  Next week there is an event happening at Possum Long so we will not be banding there on November 4.

Next banding November 11.  Nets go up at 6 am.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 20 & 21, 2014

Yes, we were out twice this week but only one was at Possum Long.  It is the beginning of Painted Bunting Banding Season so make sure to follow those events on the page called Painted Buntings - Season Two. (Look in the almost upper right hand corner for the pages.  Season One is there too if you've missed it.) Monday we banded 15 birds at DuPuis Wildlife Management Area so take a look at the bunting photos and those of the incidental captures.  (Ok - a bunting photo here because they are so gorgeous!)

Painted Bunting
Photo by Georgia Binderow

Tuesday was also busy at Possum Long with 13 birds total.  The catbirds are back!!  Actually some of them might be migrating through and using Possum Long as a stopover.  Some had a good store of fat, enough to keep going, while some had none.  We banded 8 of them.  Most were hatch-year birds and one was very interesting in that it retained one of its juvenal tail feathers.  You can see that it is much browner than the others.

Gray Catbird
Photo by Jane Wiewora

Two Northern Cardinals were banded as well as some other fun birds:  One was another Northern Waterthrush.  You can see the dark undetail feather described the last time we caught one.

Northern Waterthrush
Photo by Nancy Price

We didn't photograph the White-eyed Vireo.  The last species we haven't had for a while.  We are starting to move the nets toward the pond where the birds seem to congregate as "winter" approaches/migration finishes.  This Northern Mockingbird was captured at the pond.  Unfortunately it had a sore on its leg (Infection or parasite??).  So many times when banded birds are seen, the injuries are blamed on the bands (and possibly sometimes rightly so) but this injury was present and healed over before we banded the bird. The band was applied to the other leg.

Northern Mockingbird
Photo by Nancy Price

Next scheduled session October 28.  Nets go up at  7 am.  Enjoy the late arrival while you can.  When clocks are turned back it is back to early start times!