Finally a big day!

Northerly winds overnight combined with a threat of rain just offshore of the Cape at sunrise to bring in the birds today! The palmettos and shrubs along the nature trail were rustling with Western palm warblers, Painted buntings, Gray catbirds and who knows what else. Birds seen but not banded included Western tanager, Blue-winged warbler, Tennessee and Cape May warblers, Blue grosbeaks, possible Black-throated green warblers and the first Myrtle warblers of the season flew over but kept going. They sure want their wax myrtle!

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We did band this lovely Grasshopper sparrow; over the years we have captured two other Grasshoppers and one Seaside sparrows in the woods, which is not their preferred habitat. This may be due to migrating birds landing in whatever green habitat is available and then searching out their specific niche within this. Ovenbirds end up in the hammock, Western palm warblers choose open areas and the Painted buntings and Common yellowthroats gravitate towards the palmetto scrub. There is often a lag between when birds first are observed dropping down out of the sky over BBCFSP and when they form foraging flocks that sweep through the netting area.

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The last net run produced this Bay-breasted warbler among a handful of Black and whites and Black-throated blues that were probably chased into the net by hawks.


There were at least 50 shades of grey mewing going on today at Cape Florida. Today’s totals:

156 new birds banded of 19 species:

Black-throated blue warbler: 47

Gray catbird: 35

Common yellowthroat: 18

American redstart: 12

Western palm warbler: 10

Ovenbird: 9

Black and white warbler: 7

Painted bunting: 4

Northern parula: 3

Prairie warbler: 2

Bay-breasted warbler: 1

Hooded warbler: 1

Northern waterthrush: 1

Eastern phoebe: 1

White-eyed vireo: 1

Chuck-will’s widow: 1

Swainson’s warbler: 1

Grasshopper sparrow: 1

Indigo bunting: 1

There were some late migrants such as a Swainson’s warbler mixed in with the regular October birds, and there were not many wintering species such as Orange-crowned warbler or Blue-headed vireo yet. We think there is quite a bit more migration still to come, probably in the next few days while this north to northeast wind persists. We will just have to see if there is any rainfall to make the birds land.

A huge shout-out to everybody who helped make today happen; there was great teamwork. You know who you are!

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2 Responses to Finally a big day!

  1. Roxanne Featherly says:

    Congratulations on a great day! Wish I could have been there. Gorgeous Grasshopper Sparrow and I like the photo of the catbird. Do they (catbirds) screech like the Northern Cardinal when captured?

  2. Hi Roxanne! Catbirds screech more than anybody when captured, except for maybe a woodpecker! 🙂

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