Hurricane Irma and CFBS

As everybody has probably already heard, Hurricane Irma engulfed a majority of Florida and several other states in the Southeast US after leaving a swath of damage through the Caribbean. The closest approach of the eye to Cape Florida was in the lower Keys, but the storm was so massive that there was storm surge in Biscayne Bay, nearly 200 miles away. At this time the banding station is broken down and all of our volunteers are cleaning up the messes at our homes. Still, Irma could have been a lot worse. Facing down a Category 5 for days on end was, um, unpleasant, so I personally am very relieved that things weren’t worse for us. The site is probably still there and we should be able to get out there before the field season ends and start banding again, but we don’t know when that will be. The damage is probably similar to Hurricane Wilma from 2005, when we had to almost completely re-do the net lanes. But at least there should not be a complete overwash of the Cape. We will see.

We were having a slow but steady season up until we closed and broke down the station on Sept 6. Ovenbirds (above) and Worm-eating warblers were the most abundant captures, as is typical for early September. A couple of Louisiana waterthrush were also lingering. A Chestnut-sided warbler (below, left) banded on Sept 4 was a treat! Hooded (below, right), Prothonotary and Swainson’s  warblers added some diversity.

   

The trickle of birds in August was becoming a steady stream, and now in the days following Irma there are lots of warblers moving through Florida. We can hear them calling while we clean up debris. Local birds seem to have survived the storm well, which is surprising since there were winds of at least 40 mph for 48 hours with a few hours of gusts in the 90’s.

Irma breakdown crew on Sept 6. Note the sweatkini.

Pre-Irma Total (Aug 15 to Sept 6): 184 birds of 18 species

  1. Ovenbird: 47
  2. Worm-eating warbler: 26
  3. Black & white warbler: 25
  4. American redstart: 24
  5. Northern waterthrush: 24
  6. Blue-gray gnatcatcher: 7
  7. Northern cardinal: 5
  8. Swainson’s warbler: 4
  9. Louisiana waterthrush: 4
  10. Northern parula: 3
  11. Common grackle: 3
  12. Red-eyed vireo: 2
  13. Prairie warbler: 2
  14. Prothonotary warbler: 2
  15. Kentucky warbler: 2
  16. Hooded warbler: 2
  17. Chestnut-sided warbler: 1
  18. Black-throated blue warbler: 1

 

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