Sunday, September 28, 2008

Not what I was trying to Catch!

We usually open the mist nets 30 minutes before sunrise. Lately, I have been arriving a bit earlier just to be make sure I am not missing the even earlier risers.

This morning, as I opened net #6, something glided in from above and hit the top of the net. Not a bird but a Flying Squirrel! They are native but you rarely see them. Usually the only way to know they are around is by hearing the high-pitched noise they make as they roam around the treetops.

I turned my head to see what hit and in the glow of my headlamp I saw the squirrel land in the uppermost panel of the net, wriggle around furiously for a few second and then manage to free itself. It landed on the ground and made a quick dash to the safety of the forest.

Weird.

The squirrel fun was not over for me, though. When I got home at night I looked out back and in the dark I saw something move along the tree trunk where I keep a squirrel feeder to keep the gray squirrels away from my bird feeders.

I turned on the porch light and watched as a Flying Squirrel made mad dashes to grab a sunflower seed and retreat to the dark side of the tree to eat. It would come back and repeat this over and over. They are super fast.

I reported seeing them once before to the family and they had their doubts. The only image I could get then was a blurry blob. No concrete proof. Tonight, I was more fortunate.

Flying Squirrel

What a day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Notes from Banding

Should be hitting peak season anytime but for now things are a little quiet. We have been managing to band a lot of resident birds and I hope to monitor them for the duration. Many Northern Cardinals and Carolina Wrens but we have been seeing a steady flow of migrants.

Case in point, the Catbirds have been arriving. This one did not like me holding it. A rare look straight down the throat. Kind of saying, "Enough, already!"

Gray Catbird

We have also been catching White-eyed Vireos. Some are resident but there are migrants during the season.

White-eyed Vireo

No, this isn't a bird doing her best Groucho impression. It is, however, the best way to keep a Cardinal from taking off part of your skin. They almost always grab on to an offered twig. Almost.

Northern Cardinal


Saturday, September 20, 2008

2nd Official Banding Day

Day 2 of our new Lake Lotus banding project. Not a ton of birds around but we did make it in time to start grabbing some migrants for the Fall season. Day 1 was on the 14th but it was kind of a trial run. Net positions are still being tested.

Always nice to see a male Black-throated Blue Warbler.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

In the same net, but a little later, we captured another migrant: an Ovenbird.

Ovenbird

I was hoping for some thrushes in this new area and, sure enough, we captured this Veery near the edge of the woods.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Other birds were captured bringing in a nice variety to the day. Could make for an interesting location.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Searching for the Gallinules After Fay

Hurricane Fay left so much water behind that Lake Lotus has been closed due to flooding for weeks. Today, it finally opened. I wanted to make extra sure that we were allowed to band at the park so I stopped by. I also wanted to see if the Gallinule chicks had survived the storm and high waters.

All I could find today before the dark moved in was one of the adults.

Purple Gallinule

The search will have to continue during another trip.