Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Latest Lake Lotus Stroll

Another week returning gear to the banding site. Yesterday we had a roller coaster day out at the 2nd Annual Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival and Birdapalooza with early and late rounds of birds and sharing information to the visiting public. The full post of our banding day is posted at my other blog that you can read here. Those days are long and we usually take our usual banding days off to regroup and to get things back in place for the next weekend at 'home'.

As I walked the poles back into our banding area I quickly noticed a calling card along the path just inside the gate. Seems the bears have been wandering around. Not too long ago, either. At least they left the stuff at the table alone this week.


Next, I spotted something a bit sweeter. Stands of Lobelia were blooming along the net lanes in growing force.


I got the poles reset and decided to check the rest of the lanes to make sure things were in order. Northern Parulas were feeding in the treetops and singing like mad around the riverside. The hard part is seeing them in the foliage and getting a shot of them but their calls are easy to recognize as they trill overhead. One of the first returning migrants in the year, Northern Parulas nest and breed here and throughout the state. A definite sign that Spring is right around the corner.

Northern Parula

I made my way to the end of the net lanes to find a lurking Gray Catbird watching me as I replaced net markers. A few other species flitted through the willows but nothing in great numbers.

Gray Catbird

Once I had things back in place I contemplated where I could possibly put a new net in the future by measuring out space nearby. Still don't think I have room to put another one out there. I double-checked by measuring the existing net setup and decided it definitely was not possible. Yet.

Just as I finished my final measurements, I looked up. There, just across the river, was an American Alligator soaking in the morning sunlight.

American Alligator

I have flushed her over the past few weeks as we checked nets and we even had some nice shots of babies born last year in the same spot. Never saw her up in the open before, though. The bull gators stay out in the center of the lake but we will definitely have to watch our step as the season wears on.

I talked to her a bit (who else was out there?) and she stayed put and only briefly wagged her tail very slightly. We parted ways and I returned home. Still want to get a net out there in a new spot to catch more birds where they roam. Thinking, thinking...

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