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.

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