Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Migration ON!

That is my assessment after this past banding day last Sunday. Migration is officially on.

We got a couple Prairie Warblers and Ovenbirds early in the morning but when I check net 18 I was more convinced that the early migrators were now being joined by the regulars.

Laying in the bottom folds of the mist net was a darker green bird. As I bent down to check on the ID those words, "Migrating is officially on!" went flying through my brain. Here was an Acadian Flycatcher.

Acadian Flycatcher

Not a bad bird for such a hot, humid day. Things would get better. First, though, were more of the more common birds. This Carolina Wren actually got itself netted after responding to my pishing.

Carolina Wren

Most of the Ovenbirds I have gotten in the nets were a result of me flushing them directly into them. I think I am working out a system which I will test more thoroughly next weekend.


Even though we did band a few Prairie Warblers, there were plenty more that refused to be talked down. I sure did try. All I got were curious looks before they would continue feeding high in the branches.

Prairie Warbler

Bird of the day arrived near the end of the session. This was the first Hooded Warbler I had ever seen banded at Wekiva and the first I could actually get a photo of. Pretty female. Hope to add more yellow birds to the mix soon.

Hooded Warbler

We also had a Black and White Warbler that morning but not the higher numbers of migrants as I had hoped. Tomorrow we ride out Tropical Storm Ernesto and get ready for the next banding day. Fingers are crossed for yellows, blues, or orange!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Waiting for Migration

Not much happens, bird-wise, in Central Florida in the middle of the Summer. The occasional hurricane with swept up, unsuspecting pelagics perhaps but nothing too special. We sit and wait for Fall migration to get going and try to stay out of the scorching heat.

Banding days are few and far between at this time of the year for the safety of the birds and the comfort of the banders but we did get out to band at Wekiva July 29th. I won't get a new chance to band until August 20th (!) so the few early migrants we banded were enjoyed.

First bird of the morning was a Northern Waterthrush, one of the earliest birds to head south. Louisiana Waterthrushes are reported near the coast but we are stuck with the Northern species.


One of the birds that stay in Florida into the Spring and Summer but are now leaving are the Great-crested Flycatchers. I had a pair breed in one of the neighboring yards at home and it is a joy to hear them calling just outside the windows.

Even better to hold one again before they head farther south.

Great-crested Flycatcher

In the net next to the flycatcher was what I am always looking for at this time of year. A splash of yellow. Usually means some sort of warbler as most resident Florida birds are shades of brown, grey, blue, or reds. Fall brings on the yellows, orange, and greens.

So, something like a Prairie Warbler showing up as early migrants take flight is a very good sign to me. This is an adult male.

Prairie Warbler

The number of birds netted dropped dramatically as the heat increased. This was the hottest day banding for the year so far. It took us a couple of hours to add a female Prairie Warbler to the tallies.

Prairie Warbler

We did have another migrant, a Black and White Warbler, in the day but not much else. Mainly we had younger birds which hatched not long ago, including that Great-crested Flycatcher. We also had a hatch-year Northern Cardinal and a couple of White-eyed Vireos. You can tell a young White-eyed by looking at the eyes which are more gray at birth.

White-eyed Vireo

There are too many days between that day and the next banding day for me. The others can take the day to band as they are on this Wednesday but I get to merely stare out the windows and wait to see what they got today.

The Yellow-throated Warbler in the backyard 2 days ago makes up for it a little.