Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 31, 2015

Could today have been any better???  Yes, I suppose we could have banded more birds.  I told the crew to be ready for early migrants like Hooded Warbler which we have banded in the past.  I told them to keep the nets low for these ground-dwelling birds.  We did see a few migrants.  But, we didn't catch any Hooded Warblers.  (Is the suspense getting to you yet?)

Today we banded a first for me, a life bird for some, a property first, and a bird not seen in the county in years.  A Louisiana Waterthrush.  Since Northern Waterthrushes and Louisiana Waterthrushes are so similar, one must take care with the ID.  Measurements, field marks, the absence of a dark undertail covert, and a long bill all supported this identification.

Louisiana Waterthrush
Photo by Pete Grannis

Louisiana Waterthrush
Photo by Pat Marshall

Louisiana Waterthrush
Photo by Pat Marshall

The red arrows show the mostly unmarked throat and the unmarked undertail coverts but the key was the bill length which was well beyond the normal range for Northern Waterthrush.

So, disappointment could have been the theme of the rest of the session but Pete Grannis discovered a perched, adult Eastern Screech-Owl and Diana Doyle soon found the 3 young.  Jean saw the 4th young so we had FIVE owls.  What a team even when it comes to finding birds.  I love this aspect of our group and our study.

Eastern Screech-Owls
Photo by Pat Marshall

Eastern Screech-Owl
Photo by Pat Marshall

We also recaptured a Painted Bunting and a Black-throated Blue Warbler (banded 3 weeks ago).  It wasn't a session with a lot of birds but I don't recall anyone complaining!

Next session April 7.  Nets go up at 6:30 am.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 24, 2015

This session was much busier than the last few weeks but still only a hint of migration.  Florida migration is very weather dependent and we had hoped that west winds would drop birds.  There were a few but first off we were in for a big surprise.

Our first bird in the net even before first light was an Eastern Screech-Owl!

Eastern Screech-Owl
Photo by Pete Grannis

I was thoroughly amazed at how calm the bird was.  I expected to be grabbed or bit.  Neither happened.  The owl was not very tangled so release was fast.  We got a few photos and then released the bird unbanded.  We did not have the proper size band.  The bird sat on my hand for longer than I expected and then quietly took off into the dawn.  Amazing how light this bird was.

After such a beginning we captured two migrants.  It is so rewarding to read that a certain species is on the move and to then capture some.  We banded two Common Yellowthroats.

Common Yellowthroat
Photo by Pete Grannis

Also captured today was the same female American Redstart that was banded in the March 19, 2013 that we also caught on March 3, 2015.  Not sure this is the same female but it is a photo of one we captured on that day.

American Redstart - photo from March 19, 2013

Also captured were 2 Gray Catbirds and a Painted Bunting (green - female or first year male).  All in all a nice day.

Next session:  Tuesday, March 31.  Nets go up at 6:30 am.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

March 17, 2015

One truth can be stated - migration is underway but we cannot prove it at the station as of this session.  Several notable birds were seen this week at Possum Long but not in the nets.  For several important reasons, we did not set up all of the usual nets.  We also did not have any captures.

Diana found a new bird for the property:  an Orange-crowned Warbler.  Below is a photo of one we banded in January, 2014 at Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area.  A Black-and-white Warbler was also around and it would be hard to tell if this one was around all winter or had newly moved onto the property.

Orange-crowned Warbler
Photo by Bill Eaton

The presence of a newly banded Black-throated Blue Warbler is exciting as it supports the theory that birds that are low in fat remain around to fatten up for the rest of their journey.

Chimney Swifts were detected.  They are a summer resident and one of the early signs that migration is underway.  Yellow-throated Vireos are now being seen.  This is a species we detected on the property in early March last year.  Hopefully weather and movement will combine for a busier week next session. 

Next session will be March 24.  Nets will go up at 6:15 am.  All are welcome.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March 10, 2015

10,000 hits!!

First off I would like to thank all of the followers of this blog for their interest.  On March 9, somewhere around 1:30 we passed 10,000 hits to this blog.  We do this study for its primary purpose of determining the status and distribution of birds (what birds, when) but one of my goals is sharing and education.  THANK YOU!  Today also marks our 100th post.

We banded 2 new birds and recaptured 4 at Tuesday's session.  In studying the above mentioned status and distribution, we expected more Gray Catbirds this winter.  Obviously there was something different this year.  There were many fewer catbirds than the past 2 winters.  We did band 1 new one and recaptured one we banded in the fall.

Our other new bird was a Black-throated Blue Warbler.  Yay - migrants are beginning to move.  This was a male born last summer.  The white speckling on its throat indicated this.

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Photo by Jane Wiewora

The other recaptures were 2 color banded Painted Buntings one from last December and one from this February.  We also had a male Northern Cardinal that was born last summer and banded in September but now looks like all the other adults.

We also monitor birds on the property.  The nesting Osprey is a big draw for visitors and everyone awaits the appearance of the young.  Though Osprey are common, it is special to see its life played out in front of our eyes.

Photo by Pete Grannis

Next banding session:  Tuesday March 17.  Nets go up at 6:15.  Visitors are welcome at any time but most birds are typically caught in the first few runs.  (Of course if there are many migrants, this could be proven wrong!)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March 3, 2015 Recapture Day

Well, it was a recapture day.  We only caught 4 birds today and all were recaptures.  Actually recaptures provide us with a lot of information and show that certain birds do return to the exact same places.

It was also a beautiful day to be outdoors and looking for birds moving in and through the property.

Spider in the web
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

One of the birds recaptured today was a female American Redstart.  First good news is that we had not seen any redstarts on the property all winter so this one returned from somewhere.  It was actually banded in March of 2013.  (Our first spring)  This bird had no fat at all and appeared wide awake but weak.  We gave it a few good sips of sugar water and it perked up and flew away with a good-bye chip note.

Two other recaptures were Gray Catbirds.  I think both were from last fall but I will check data soon.

The last recapture was an Ovenbird first banded last fall.  When I crop the photo this way it is hard to tell how truly small this species is.

Photo by Jane Wiewora

Once again the chicken was of great entertainment.  We are trying to get it to come close to us so it can be caught and relocated somewhere more appropriate.  

Jane making friends with the chicken...

progressing to eating out of her hand.  Next week, new home.

Next banding:  March 10.  Nets go up at 6:45.  Hope for more migrants.