Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Peak Approaches. Lifers banded.

Been so busy with the birds lately that I have been neglecting the blog!

Fall migration is nearing its peak here in Central Florida and the numbers of birds we have been banding supports that quite well. In the past couple of weeks or so we have gone from banding between 7-12 birds in a morning to nearly 60 today, September 27th.

The Gray Catbirds have arrived right on time. The Common Yellowthroats are here in large numbers and account for nearly half of the birds banded for the last 2 sessions. Thrushes have returned (or been replaced more likely) represented by Veery and Swainson's Thrushses.

We are also catching a few birds that are Life Birds for many of us. One of the birds I have been hoping to see for years but always fell a little short was a Tennessee Warbler. We had confused a young Pine Warbler for one once but now that I have seen and held one I doubt that mistake will occur again. Tennessee Warblers are much more green.

Tennessee Warbler

A great Life Bird. However, the bird I have been waiting for all this Summer was the Blue-winged Warbler. Reports began flowing in that some had been seen around Florida nowhere near me in Central Florida. Then, the last bird we banded on September 24th turned out to be one. I knew what it was as soon as I saw that black eyeline.

It received a LOT of attention before being released. I followed it as it flew from bush to bush before disappearing toward the southwest.

Blue-Winged Warbler

This year has also been good for birds we only see once or twice. We are still getting Acadian Flycatchers and many Magnolia Warblers like this one below.

Magnolia Warbler

Next banding is in 4 days and I predict a lot of birds. Maybe the Black-throated Blue Warbers will arrive. I'll take a Golden-winged Warbler, too...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Migration Increases

I checked my noted from last year and noticed that certain birds began showing up at the nets right at the 2nd week of September. I announced that we should start seeing the Common Yellow-throats and thrushes if the migration patterns held true.

Sure enough, we immediately began getting Veerys and Yellow-throats September 10th. This Veery was ready to head back on the southbound fast lane.


A few days later they had the first of the season American Redstart. I am still waiting for some more blues and yellows to make it down and into the nets. Catbirds should arrive in numbers any day now.

Another bird that graced us with it's presence was this young female Chestnut-sided Warbler. Only the second one I have held. They are beautiful birds. The males are flanked by patches of chestnut under their wings, thus the name.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Radars are showing large movements of birds heading south today. Stay tuned. The next few weeks should be veeeeery interesting.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

No Birds? No Problem!

For some odd reason, last Sunday's banding fell flat despite all of the encouraging signs to the contrary. Ernesto had just cleared to the north and skies were perfect for traveling birds. The morning even started with a bang with 6 birds being netted just while we were setting the lanes up.

We managed only one other bird all morning. And that was a recapture, too. Go figure.

So we walked and hoped in the hot, humid morning before finally going home. Fingers are crossed for next weekend. My records show it should be time for the thrushes, catbirds, and Common Yellow-throats.

There was plenty of wildlife to watch in the meantime. Many White-tailed Deer roamed the area all day. The first I found were an hour before sunrise. Well, we found each other in the dark by nearly walking into one another.

As we got ready to gather the nets I had a doe and fawn watch me nervously before crossing nearby up the path and disappearing into the scrub.

I made it home as quickly as possible to check the feeders. Maybe there would be something fun there waiting to be viewed. Nope.

However, no matter how quiet the daytime turned out to be, the night brought up the larger creatures. Just around dusk a pair of young raccoons made their weekly raid on the sunflower seeds in the squirrel feeder. I managed to chase one away but the other climbed up the oak tree and sat in the branches and watched me inside the house.

The best surprise came later as the boys were getting ready for bed. They called out to me that a possum was out on the tray feeder. Yeah, sure. But there it was, munching away.

I headed out to chase it away. It didn't know how to get down. We chatted for a while but it didn't want to leave. So, I had to take pictures. Nose to nose.


Fun. Still would have had more fun with more birds, though.