Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 25, 2014

Today we hosted Greg who took a long drive, early in the morning, to visit our station.  As we were putting up the nets there were birds calling all around but only two new and one recapture made their way to the nets today.

First off we had a Gray Catbird.  They have returned in higher numbers than we have had all winter.  Unfortunately it was only this one and another for today.

Gray Catbird
Photo by Greg Palermo

The second Gray Catbird had a damaged bill.  In evaluating the bird, we found that it did not have sharp edges of a recent break.  The bird also had some stored fat in preparation for migration.  So, despite the damage, this bird is coping and eating and had a good amount of energy.

Gray Catbird
Photo by Bill Eaton

Later we recaptured a female American Redstart.  This bird was originally determined to be an after hatch-year female.  She was on her way north last March when we caught her.  She went somewhere in the large breeding range of American Redstarts, likely had a nest and then flew south to spend the winter.  Now, likely on her way back north (we saw no overwintering redstarts this year), she once again flew to Possum Long.  This is the amazing realization of recaptures!

Greg got the only photo of the redstart today - of himself just before releasing her.

American Redstart
Photo by Greg Palermo

Crystal caught the cute photo for the day - rabbit visiting the station!

Photo by Crystal Conway

We are on the verge of some migration banding.  The noise level has certainly increased at Possum Long and we were a bit frustrated in the late morning to hear vireos.  We were able to find both Yellow-throated (only the second time detected on the property) and a Blue-headed but neither obliged us with a capture.  The Yellow-throated sang its song ("three-eight") and scolded and drove us a bit crazy.  Warbler numbers also seemed to be higher than the recent normal.  Maybe next session......

Next banding will be on March 4.  Nets up at 6:30.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February 11, 2014

Another session at Possum Long and this one was almost all about Gray Catbirds.  We caught and banded 4 of them.  Several were starting to show signs of gathering fat.  Last year we noticed an increase in Gray Catbirds around this time so one can wonder if they have moved north to here, adding fat to do so, or did they just come to Possum Long to feast on the coffee berries and fatten up for travel in the near future?  Time may tell us more.

We did have one other capture this week.  A Northern Parula made an appearance.

Northern Parula
Photo by Jane Wiewora

Notice the tail has several large white spots.  This indicates an adult male still in non-breeding plumage.  

Northern Parula
Photo by Jane Wiewora

We do use reference books to check out these birds.  This parula was checking it out too.

We also recaptured a green Painted Bunting today.  In fact it was the color banded one from December 17.  

Painted Bunting
Photo by Jane Wiewora

Its band combination is Split (black/white split indicates banded in FL) over orange on the left and orange over silver (federal band) on the right.

Northern Mockingbirds are singing like crazy.  There was a pair of Mottled Ducks on the pond and two pair of Wood Ducks.  There was also a big ruckus by possible nesting Red-shouldered Hawks.  One appeared to be eating a frog.  Looks like the birds are thinking spring.  Are you?

NEXT SESSION:  If things continue much like last year, we won't get much migrant action until somewhere between the end of February to the middle of March.  We will skip next week and the next session at Possum Long will be on February 25.  Nets will go up at 6:30 am.  Watch here in case something changes.

Yes, weather permitting (no rain) we will band on 2/25.  I was left a comment with no way to answer that person.  So, people who wish to visit should be able to find us somewhere on the property (make sure you check Hibiscus Street too).  We hear Gray Catbirds are on the move and they are typically in the nets early.  I am hearing a few "new" warblers - saw a Black-and-white and a Northern Parula (in fact it was singing) but no assurance that they will go in the nets.  This is just the beginning - each week should be a bit more busy.  -NL