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!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 13 & 14, 2014

Sometimes I read other banding blogs and cannot fathom the numbers they band and some of the birds they process.  But then again, I am thankful that we have a "quiet" station that has had a great variety of species, some real surprises, and a chance to study what we band.  The volunteers at this station are so utterly fantastic.  We have fun and we learn a lot.

Monday started out with a true squeal!  It was still mostly dark and there was noise at one of the nets.  I swear the net jumped out at us.  In the net was our second Chuck-will's widow!  This bird was born this year.  The tail feathers only have a small buffy tip.  I love the coloration of the wing and tail.  The last one banded was on January 29, 2013.

Chuck-will's widow
Photo by Nancy Price

Chuck-will's widow
Photo by Nancy Price

We also caught an American Redstart, an Ovenbird, and 3 Northern Cardinals.  The next excitement was a Veery.  This bird is reddish head to tail on the back and lacks the eyering of a Swainson's Thrush.  Only the third we have gotten, this one was special because it was a hatch year bird.  This is told by the presence of buffy tips on the wing coverts.

Photo by Nancy Price

Photo by Nancy Price 

Tuesday didn't bring a lot of other birds but the two we got were different from yesterday's bunch.  Also, recaptures gave us some nice data.  

The Northern Waterthrush we captured was quite yellow which is known in this species but not seen on most birds.  This tint is most evident in the second photo.  Also visible is the dark center feather of the undertail coverts.  This is not present on a similar species, Louisiana Waterthrush.

Northern Waterthrush
Photos by Georgia Binderow

I had fun with the next species.  We banded one and recaptured another.  White-eyed Vireos have a definite stare, much like that of a parent or teacher, due to their eye color.  They mean business!  The recapture was from February, 2013 which demonstrates site fidelity in this species.  Another recaptured Worm-eating Warbler had been more recently banded but showed an increase in fat which demonstrates the importance of stopover feeding locations for migrating birds.  

White-eyed Vireo
Photo by Georgia Binderow 

Next scheduled banding session will be October 21.  Nets go up by 6:45 am.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 6 & 7, 2014

I have had some people ask, so here's the scoop.  We typically band on every Tuesday until the birds take their winter break sometime in December.  While we are still getting migrants, we may add other days. Recently it has been on Mondays.  If you come to the property and we are not at the parking lot on 7th, continue down 7th and turn left on Hibiscus.  We sometimes work from there.

Migration has slowed but we are still getting great captures and recaptures.  On both days we captured 5 new birds.  Monday we had the first Gray Catbird of the season and we expect many more.  Funny how we are now excited about this species.  Another 100 catbirds from now this may diminish.  Other birds were a Black-and-white Warbler, a male Painted Bunting, and 2 Black-throated Blue Warblers.

Black-and-white Warbler
Photo by Nancy Price 
The tiny bit of buffy color below the gray on the face indicates that this is a hatch-year bird.  

Hopefully I can add a few more photos from Monday but one of our photographers is having camera and computer issues.

Tuesday's birds were a tad more exciting and a different variety of species.  We caught a Swainson's Thrush - our second thrush of the fall. This one can be identified by its buffy eye ring and background color of the spots.  It was an adult bird aged from the lack of light spots on the wing coverts.

Swainson's Thrush
Photo by Georgia Binderow

We also caught our third ever Hooded Warbler.  This is such a distinctly marked bird.  Awesome to have in hand.  All three birds have been male.  Maybe sometime we will get a female or hatch year one.

Hooded Warbler
Photo by Georgia Binderow

Black-throated Blue Warblers continue to find our nets.  Our visitor, Danny, was able to see a female and he released it.  

Black-throated Blue Warbler - female
Photo by Georgia Binderow

Black-throated Blue Warbler - male
Photo by Georgia Binderow

Recaptures can be a great source of information as well as a bit of excitement.  Tuesday we recaptured the first ever White-eyed Vireo we banded.  It was banded on February 15, 2013.  We do not detect the presence of this species during breeding so likely this bird had left the property and returned for the winter TWICE!  We also recaptured this bird on December 3, 2013.

White-eyed Vireo
Photo by Georgia Binderow

It too has decided to express its opinion of the bander.  

Next Tuesday banding - October 14, 2014.  Nets up between 6:45 to 7 am.