Monday, October 13, 2008

A Walk Through Mead Garden

There have been a lot of reports of rare Vireos over at Mead Garden. Damned if I could find any but I needed the quiet walk. Not many birds moving at all when I stopped by. Even the the Hummingbirds were bored.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

However, I did have one of those "amazing" moments as I rounded the (still fractured) boardwalk.

A small group of Carolina Wrens were vocalizing like mad as I neared the end of the boardwalk. Some even hopped out right in front of me up on the railings. I tried to get a shot but they were manic. They soon started moving behind me, though still very close.

I turned to follow one and noticed the object of their anger. A Barred Owl was perched up in the tree just off of the boardwalk. I had just walked 2 feet beneath it and never saw it.

Barred Owl

We chatted awhile as I snapped photos but she soon got nervous as a pair of women approached from the back where I just came from. I stood still and let them have the awe sink in. Their camera batteries failed as they tried shots and the owl soon took off.

Nice walk, indeed. Even without the new Life Birds I was seeking.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Clay-colored Sparrow

A new and exciting bird for Lake Lotus: a Clay-colored Sparrow!

Fellow birder Paul Hueber reported seeing one a couple of days before and today we caught another. A rather rare visitor to Florida and even more rare to capture.

Clay-colored Sparrow

Think I love this place!

We also banded some Indigo Buntings that are moving through.

Indigo Bunting

Plus, an American Redstart joined in the banding parade.

American Redstart

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Buntings, Ahoy!

One of our banders, Lane, has just returned from a trip to Boston for her birthday. During various emails and conversations she has recently been lamenting the fact that she has never seen a male Painted Bunting. Only females. They are pretty but mainly green to nondescript. Males, on the other hand, are a brilliant rainbow of the animal kingdom.

While checking nets I noticed a bright red belly of a bird in net #9, a very popular spot for our Lake Lotus birds. I couldn't immediately tell what it was but knew it must be special. That color red is not present in resident birds.

The closer I got, the more other colors began to be noticed on this struggling bird. There it was: a male Painted Bunting!

I hurried back to the banding table in hopes that Lane was still there. Then I delivered her the belated birthday present and let her band it.

Painted Bunting

This place could be a Bunting bonanza. The other birds banded this morning, obviously, paled in comparison.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Voined the Choir Invisible

Got to work and had a co-worker tell me he just saw a dead bird in the smoking area. I asked for him to describe it and as usual, non-birders tend to be unsure of what they actually saw.

"Kind of yellow," was about all I got. I asked how big. The size he showed me was bigger than what I had a theory about. Suddenly, I was now thinking Tanager instead of warbler.

I hurriedly grabbed my camera and asked him to show me where it was. He had moved it to a trash can so I dug it out as a few smokers looked on in a mixture of interest and disgust. I had to explain that I band birds and wanted a photo of whatever had met it's fate.

Sure enough, a first year Scarlet Tanager. If it would have survived it would eventually turn a brilliant scarlet red. However, these tinted windows of our complex can often seem like a straight path through the trees to some birds.

Looks almost alive, eh?

Scarlet Tanager

Alas, another victim of man-made illusions.