Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 15, 2014 Kittybirds and Fat

Today was a busy day as we banded a record number of Gray Catbirds - first single day double digits for one species!  Twelve new bands and three recaptures.  We also banded a green Painted Bunting and a Black-throated Blue Warbler.

We noted more migrants today including a very vocal Summer Tanager (frustration plus!!) or two, a Blue-headed Vireo, and a male American Redstart.

The Painted Bunting was a female or young male and was packed with fat for its journey from wherever it was to its breeding grounds.  Maybe someone will find this one at a feeder in North or South Carolina.  Bill Eaton almost levitated when he saw the fat from across the table, obviously not a hollow any longer.  Luckily he got his gear and documented the bulging store of energy.

Painted Bunting (green)
Photo by Bill Eaton

The Black-throated Blue Warbler was an after second year male - always fun to see colorful males in spring.  It had the typical identifying "white handkerchief" field mark which you can see is made up of a series of white marks on individual feathers.  There was some black streaking on its back which may indicate that this is the subspecies which breeds in the Appalachian Mountains.  I will investigate further and update this information.

Black-throated Blue Warbler (male)

both photos by Bill Eaton

Next banding session:  April 22, 2014 nets up at 6:45.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April 8, 2014

Today was a good day at the banding station.  Summer humidity has returned.  Spring migrants have too but not in great numbers yet.  I was very glad to have Rich and Doris visit.  They are from my former home and it is great to have their company.  Rich helped at banding stations there so it was nice to share Possum Long with them.

Also good news is that the Yellow-crowned Night-Herons have come back to Possum Long to nest.  If someone on the team got photos I will update this post.

Today we had 7 new Gray Catbirds and a second-year female Prairie Warbler (no chestnut on the back).  We also recaptured a Black-and-white Warbler from October 10, 2013 and 2 Gray Catbirds One catbird was recently banded and the other was from last October.  The Black-and-white Warbler was just getting in the black throat feathers of a male - definitely a second-year bird.

Black-and-white Warbler
Photo by Jane Wiewora

We continue to see Gray Catbirds with mottled undertail coverts and one was almost entirely gray instead of rusty.  No molt was visible.  Very strange.

Gray Catbird
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

We observed 30 species on the property - definitely rising numbers.  Of note last Saturday was a Magnificent Frigatebird flying over.

Next banding session:  Tuesday, April 15.  Nets go up at 6:45.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 1, 2014

It was the first truly busy day we have had for a while and we are also busy banding Painted Buntings before they depart.  Apologies for being late with this post.  We banded 9 new Gray Catbirds, a Common Yellowthroat, and a White-eyed Vireo.  We are starting to hear more noise but still way up in the canopy.  The Strangler Fig (Ficus) is fruiting and the Cedar Waxwings are fattening up before departing.  Lots of waxwing noise.  Could one of them please come down to net level, please??

We also recaptured an Ovenbird that was originally banded in September.  Hard to know if it overwintered undetected on the property or if it returned to Possum Long on its return journey.

Photo by Bill Eaton

The recaptured Gray Catbird was banded on April 10, 2013 - almost a year later.  We have banded over 80 Gray Catbirds so hopefully more recaptures are in store.

Next banding session:  April 8 with nets going up at 6:45.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 25, 2014

Today we dodged raindrops and managed only a few hours of banding.  We missed some early bird activity and as it has been in the last few weeks the birds were high in the canopy.  We noted at least two very crisp and clean Prairie Warblers as well as a few Northern Parula.  Great Crested Flycatchers were singing.  I noted the first of spring Chimney Swifts over the property.  There were plenty of Cedar Waxwings on the property.  We estimated at least 150!

We banded 2 Gray Catbirds and a Black-and-white Warbler.  One of the catbirds had undertail coverts that were missing some of the rusty coloring - not sure if some feathers had come out and there weren't enough to overlap or if the feathers were actually missing color.

Gray Catbird
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

The Black-and-white Warbler was born last year.  Some of the wing feathers (to the right of the lower thumb) are duller than the fresher, blacker ones.  

Black-and-white Warbler
Photo by Jane Wiewora

Next banding session:  April 1, 2014.  No Fooling!  Nets go up between 7 and 7:30.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March 11, 2014

Today was a bit busier than the last few sessions.  It is hard to contain the anticipation of the arrival of spring migrants.  We had help from the faithful banding team volunteers and visiting assistant Jim Closs today.  Jim added bird species to our day list and faithfully checked nets and carried gear - our thanks.  We had visitors Larry and Mary Ann from New York who got to see a bit of what we do.

Gray Catbird
Photo by Bill Eaton

Mostly there were Gray Catbirds and we banded three of them.  And on the lighter side - attempted revenge!

Gray Catbird
Photo by Bill Eaton

We also banded a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Northern Cardinal, and another new green Painted Bunting.  It could be that Painted Buntings are starting to shift north in FL as they start their migration back to their breeding grounds.  Interesting to note that some birds have built up some fat reserves while others are still fat-free.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Photo by Bill Eaton

You can see that the Yellow-rumped Warbler is aptly named.  The blue edged feathers and large amount of black help us age and sex the bird as ASY (After Second Year - not born last year) and male.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Photo by Bill Eaton

It looks like a lot of the birds are feeding on the blossoming oak trees.  This may be a factor that is keeping the birds up so high and away from the nets.  We observed a singing Yellow-throated Vireo on the property again today.  It stayed high in the cedar tree.  We did not see this species at all last spring and for three weeks it has been present and singing.  Also the Northern Parulas have been singing; not just on the property but in many locations I've been over the past few weeks.  Waiting for the migrants............

NOTE:  NEXT BANDING SESSION AT POSSUM LONG - March 25, 2014  Nets up at 7 am.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014

We had a fairly good session today but we had to work hard for it.  Birds were around all day but we are guessing that a lot of bug-eating is going on way up in the trees.  We had several Yellow-throated Vireos today (photos below) and we banded a Blue-headed Vireo - first one banded on Possum Long.  The only other new captures were three Gray Catbirds, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, and a green Painted Bunting.

Blue-headed Vireo
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

We recaptured a female Northern Cardinal that was banded in October.  She was just packed with fat.   Nest building, egg laying, and brooding are all energy intensive things.  She's getting ready to nest as there was no sign of a current brood patch so she is not on eggs yet.

Northern Cardinal
Photo by Crystal Conway

No pictures of the Painted Bunting we caught but it was color banded.  It was a green one meaning it was female or a first-year male.  We will let you know if this one shows up at a nearby feeder.  

In addition the the vireos, we had a Summer Tanager on the property today.

Pat got pictures of the Yellow-throated Vireo as well as a White-eyed.  Three Vireo species on the property today.

Yellow-throated Vireo
Both photos by Pat Marshall

Next banding:  March 11, nets up at 6:30.  Yes, I know there's a time change but there's also more day length.  It will be darker at the start but maybe we'll get a few more early captures.

NEW START TIME:  7:15 ignore above start time

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Painted Bunting Info

I am not doing a blog per se on the Painted Bunting Banding Project but you can follow what we are doing on a page in this blog.  Look in the upper right where there is a list of pages.  Once you have read the beginning, on subsequent visits, you can just scroll down for the latest news.  We are posting pictures of some of the buntings and some incidental captures.

We were very pleased to be featured in Hart Rufe's column on the St Lucie Audubon web page.  When he has added other columns, you may have to scroll down to Previous Columns.  http://stlucieaudubon.org/docs/hartBeat/hartBeat.html

I have also added banding totals to the bottom of the blog.

Nancy LaFramboise