Bats, Owls & Birds – Oh My

The day started with an Eastern Screech Owl and our first bat.  It took 2 banders and some scissors.  I didn’t have leather gloves.  Both the owl & bat survived to see another day.

I checked with local bat expert, Cindi Marks with the Florida Bat Conservancy and she identified our bat as an Evening Bat (Nycticeius humeralis).  The are common throughout Florida and have a wingspan of 11 inches.  They live either solitarily or in small colonies of up to 70 bats.  Pretty cool to see up close but I definitely am going to carry a pair of thick leather gloves from now on for all early morning extractions!

A bit slow but we did have a male Prothonotary Warbler and 6 White-eyed Vireos.

Volunteer Anastasia working to extract an Evening Bat


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A Slow Start to the Fall Banding Season

The weather was beautiful which usually means there are not many migrants around and that turned out to be the case. But although we didn’t have a large number of birds (seven) we did have good variety.

We had the following birds:

White-eyed Vireo (2)
Ovenbird
Hooded Warbler (male)
Brown Thrasher
Northern Waterthrush
Acadian Flycatcher

The flycatcher was a great opportunity to study carefully one of the most difficult birds to identify. The volunteers and visitors got to see, first hand, how many measurements we have to take to nail down an identification.

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Hmmm – Which Empidonax are you?

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A Little Band “Bling” for a Demure Bird

A Calm Little Flycatcher

A Calm Little Flycatcher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other amazing part was that we did not catch even one Northern Cardinal or Carolina Wren. Both these species are common resident birds in Hammock Park.

It did allow the volunteers to get a “shake down” to practice setting up/taking down the nets and get some exercise walking to the various nets. Everything looks a lot different due to the very wet summer. The field area has grown up a lot which I am hoping will draw in the buntings and Blue Grosbeaks. We had a number of new visitors including families with children who all got to see and release at least one bird. It is a delight to see the look of amazement in their eyes when they get to see these beautiful creatures up close.

In addition to the birds we caught, I did hear a Veery and a Screech Owl calling in the morning. Hopefully, this coming Sunday will turn out to be more productive.

Andrew with a captive audience

Andrew with a captive audience

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Becky extracting the prettiest bird of the day

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Happiness is feeling the mud squishing between your toes!