Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 26, 2016

What's good for the birds isn't exactly exciting for us.  Another quiet day but some good data.  More Gray Catbirds.  We recaptured two and banded one new one.  One of the recaptures was from 11/11/2014.  Nice to know that Possum Long is a good resting and feeding place.  One of the birds we caught had traces of berries on its face.

Gray Catbird
Photo by Pete Grannis

Gray Catbird
Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

The only other bird banded was an Ovenbird.  Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.  This time last year we had a lot of them.  We hear folks saying that birds are late and it has been very quiet.  It takes certain weather patterns for us to get larger numbers of birds.  What's slow for us means birds are moving through as they need to.  We wish them well.

Photo by Crystal Conway

We also wish Jane well as she migrates away from us.  We hope we will see her return migration sometime even for a short time.  We hope she finds many fun opportunities and enjoys the new life!

Next scheduled banding:  May 3, 2016.  Nets go up at 6:15 am

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 19, 2016

Some leftover news from while I was away.  Molly Bartels  (see April 5) revisited the station on April 12 and her article and video on our continuing efforts were published.  I don't know how long this link will work but the update article on our banding was front page above the fold!  So many thanks to Molly and The Stuart News.

Our day started with a lot of excitement.  We got a very large bird in the net. Nancy gave a call out so we could see and deal with our catch.  We released a Red-shouldered Hawk!!  I cannot band raptors and the safest thing for this bird was to open the fold and let it out.  The net squares were too small to snag this magnificent bird.  In all the excitement, we failed to photograph the event.

Soon after we started catching Gray Catbirds.  Much like last year, the migrants are slowly making their way through.  We saw only a few but we also caught them!  If last year's pattern holds this year, the next two weeks could be busy and interesting.

Soon we had our first warbler and it was exciting.  We banded a Hooded Warbler.  This wasn't the first time but it is always an event!  I called Jim to come see what we were banding and he said, "But there's a Hooded Warbler in the 'woods' net"  (our net locations are described with titles not numbers as in some stations).   Two Hooded Warblers in one day!

Hooded Warbler
Photo by Nancy Price

More Gray Catbirds for a total of nine! And then we caught the second warbler species - an Ovenbird.  This species should become more numerous in the next two weeks.  

Photo by Nancy LaFramboise

Next scheduled banding:  April 26.  Nets go up at 6:15.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 12, 2016

My humble apologies to readers.  I was away on this date and the sub-permit holders, Pete Grannis and Nancy Price, and all of the volunteers kept the station running.  I am very grateful to them all.  My apologies to Pete who authored the following but I was not able to get it posted in time for the April 19 session.

Possum Long Banding Station – Tuesday, 4/12/2016
It is still a bit early in the season for migrating passerines (the small perching bird species), but Gray Catbirds are right on schedule. Gray Catbird was definitely the bird of the day. We caught and banded 4 catbirds, and there were at least a dozen more calling and feeding around the property.

This Catbird was replacing in two tail feathers, R1 and R6.  
Photo by Jane Wiewora
One other bird we banded today was a Painted Bunting, a green bird in its first year. We also re-captured another green Painted Bunting, also in its first year, which we first saw and banded last November. Another green Painted Bunting, not banded, was observed at one of the feeders. These birds are getting ready to go north. Painted Buntings generally leave this part of Florida completely by mid-April to early May.

Retained formative primary coverts help age this 
Painted Bunting as a bird in its first year of life.  
Photo by Jane Wiewora
Elsewhere on the property we noted a flock of 15 or so Cedar Waxwings overhead, which subsequently landed in a dead pine tree. As time went on more birds joined them until there were more than 60 in the trees. Cedar Waxwing numbers seem to ebb and flow from year to year, so it was nice to see this gathering.

Cedar Waxwings seemed to like this dead pine tree. How many do you see?  Photo by Pete Grannis
We also spotted 3 Egyptian Geese as they flew overhead, which is a new species for Possum Long’s all-time list. Egyptian Geese are recognized as an established exotic species in south Florida, and are expanding their numbers. Other sightings for the day included Green Heron, Summer Tanager, Blue-headed Vireo, and the resident Red-shouldered Hawks.
Next Tuesday we’ll be setting up nets at 6:15. Stop by and visit!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

April 5, 2016

Once again we had a quiet day in great anticipation of arriving migrants.  We did see a few - Danny, our visitor, photographed a Red-eyed Vireo.  Some team members saw a Blue-headed Vireo.  There was a stunning Prairie Warbler on the property.

Another guest we had today was Molly Bartels, Visual Multimedia Journalist with the Stuart News.  Molly was actually the person who spotted the Prairie Warbler - a budding birder now!  There's a chance we will have photos in the Stuart News tomorrow and videos online.  I think we convinced Molly to visit more and to see Painted Buntings when we are banding again in the fall.

We captured 1 new Gray Catbird today and a female Northern Cardinal.

Gray Catbird
Photo by Jane Wiewora

We also recaptured 2 other Gray Catbirds.  One had been banded as a young bird on December 9, 2014.  Remember birds turn the next year old on January 1. This bird was 2 in 2015 and is now 3.

Next scheduled banding:  Tuesday, April 12.  Nets go up at 6:30.