Migration Season Ends Quietly

Our last day of banding for the season was another quiet day. Only 12 birds were caught with 2 of them being recaptures. There were a few highlights from the day. First, we added a new species to our list (bringing us up to 39 species so far). On the last net run of the day and while we were closing down the nets we caught a nice female Cape May Warbler. There have been a fair number of them seen this season by bird watchers but none had found our nets until this morning. A few of the other bird highlights were a female Black-throated Blue Warbler and a male Common Ground Dove. Second, we added a new volunteer to our banding crew. Katie Serba is a recent graduate from the University of Tampa and looking to gain experience in avian monitoring techniques before pursuing a Master’s degree in environmental science. Hopefully, the no-see-ums did not scare her off and we will see her again in the fall season.

We have now completed 2 1/2 years of migration banding out on Caladesi Island. This season’s total of 58 birds is not the best season (that was 95 birds last fall) but it wasn’t the worst either. It appears that we do better during the fall seasons. As is usually the case, the weather dictates how well/poorly we do. This season we had mostly winds out of the south which just pushed the birds past us. The news from the birders in the midwestern states was that there were a lot of migrants. So, they came through but were in a hurry to get up to breed.

Male common ground dove wing

Migrants Trickling Through

The weather forecast called for thunderstorms and winds on Saturday night and ending by mid morning on Sunday. I made the call to delay our banding only to realize that the weather forecasters got it wrong (shocking):(. We got virtually no rain and the winds were not all that strong. As a result, we only caught a handful of migrants but our first bird was a gorgeous one – a male Black-throated Blue warbler. In addition, we caught 2 male indigo buntings of two different age classes and 2 great-crested flycatchers. While we waited between net runs there had to be at least 6 flycatchers calling and catching insects. It was like having them in surround sound!

Tomorrow is our last day of banding out on Caladesi Island. We are hoping that there are still migrants flowing through the state and ready to find our mist nets:). Stay tuned for the last installment of the Spring 2021 banding “chronicles” from CIBS (Caladesi Island Banding station).

Totals: 12 birds 7 Species 0 Recaptures

Second Year Male Black-throated Blue Warbler
Agitated Great-Crested Flycatcher
After Second Year Male Indigo Bunting
An excellent example of the molt limits in a male Second Year Indigo Bunting (dull feathers from last year)