We were anticipating the cold front that swept through south Florida on Oct 16, and although the lower humidity has been a delight, it didn’t deliver the volume of migrants to Cape Florida that we were hoping for. Historically, we have had some of our busiest days between Oct 14-19 as this is often when the first real front of the season has come through. This fall we have had several fronts already, and this latest one was very dry. The intense squall-lines fell apart as the front swept down the state, so once again there was no thick boundary of rain to make all of the birds flying over have to stop here.
We did get a male Wilson’s warbler on Oct 17, described by one of our volunteers as looking like ‘a Hooded warbler with a toupee’. The male’s glossy cap is distinctive but the female does resemble the closely-related Hooded. The Wilson’s is a bit smaller with no white in the tail, has a very different call, and is very active. Wilson’s warblers are one of the most widespread warblers in North America but are rare in south Florida. This is only the third one we have banded at CFBS in 13 years!
The painted buntings are here for the winter, and are quite common at Cape Florida and in the backyards of homeowners who provide food and cover. This is a young bird showing the beautiful green and yellow plumage that all first-years and adult females wear. The different brilliant shades of green are unique among North American birds.
Today while walking out of the banding area after closing the nets for the day we were treated to four newly-arrived Bay-breasted warblers foraging close by. Miriam took these photos and we watched them for about 20 minutes as they ate whatever they could find, including Virginia creeper fruit and bugs hiding in dead leaves.
Here are the totals so far through Oct 19: