We waited patiently for the front to arrive, and we were excited to have northwest winds bring us birds yesterday and today. Well, with no rain, the birds kept going overhead. We could hear bobolinks, Swainson’s thrush and others flying over all morning long, and only a few bothered to stop at Cape Florida. Daily totals this last week have ranged from 16 to 30 birds, not the huge push we were hoping for. We comfort ourselves with the knowledge that weather boring for birders and banders is good for the birds, and hundreds of thousands of them made it safely to their destinations.
Today a few new species for the season did decide to drop by. Above is a male Hooded warbler. We have had several at the site over the last month, but this is the first one to stumble into a net.
A first-year male Scarlet tanager was banded today. The males are green and yellow in the fall, only turning red in the spring. Adult males look similar to this bird, but with jet black wings and tail. The Summer tanager male does keep its red plumage in fall, and females and young males are more orange-yellow. We have yet to catch a Summer tanager this year.
Two white-eyed vireos turned up today. These are common migrants throughout Florida, and some also breed here. The light eye gives them an intense stare.
Our new volunteers in training continue to learn how to handle birds and extract them from nets. Here is Lindsey Wilcox with an Ovenbird that she removed herself.
Ian Jarrett’s first solo extraction was also an Ovenbird. These were very common this week.
Erich Boenzli was visiting from Pennsylvania so he came out to the station for two mornings to see what we were up to. We enjoyed his company and he enjoyed some great birds such as the Hooded warbler.
Blue jays are very common in Miami neighborhoods, but less so at Cape Florida. Sometimes it is good to stop and appreciate the ‘ordinary’. They are really quite beautiful when you look at them; the feathers have so many different shades of blue. This bird has fresh plumage because he has just finished his molt. A lot of the jays we see in our yards in August and September are ratty-looking and sometimes have bald heads, but soon the old feathers drop out and are replaced with new ones and the birds become attractive again.
Here are today’s banding totals: 25 birds of 11 species.
American redstart: 3
Common yellowthroat: 3
Worm-eating warbler: 2
Northern waterthrush: 2
Black-throated blue warbler: 2
White-eyed vireo: 2
Prairie warbler: 1
Chuck-will’s widow: 1
Hooded warbler: 1
Scarlet tanager: 1
We have also had two Ovenbirds banded in other years return to spend the winter in BBCFSP; one bird was banded in 2012 and the other was from 2011. Our record old bird was also an Ovenbird banded in 2004 and recaptured last year. We’ll be keeping an eye out for that bird this year!