Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Today at First Landing......

The pre-dawn walk in the dark along Long Creek was largely a quiet one. A Northern Cardinal, or two, along with a Chickadee, or three, were heard, but there were no Hermit Thrushes along the path as there have been recently. The first two net runs yielded but two Hermits and one Swamp Sparrow. Yesterday, I had a dozen or more birds. The air was warm, humid and quiet. Even the Ospreys were silent (I think she may have laid her first egg, but more investigation is necessary).
The third net run demonstrated, once again, the magic of a spring migration banding station. There in net B8, Dr. Bob Reilly's "new" net, was a White-eyed Vireo! First of the season. Look at that bill! Well, I know, you have not stopped looking at the eye yet! And those yellow spectacles are nice, too.
The weather began to change. Around 1030 the wind shifted more to the south and began to build. No more birds. I furled half the nets because rain was in the forecast and the sky had begun to darken. The wind let up about 1130, but rain was imminent, so I closed more nets. Not a bird to be found or seen. Steady rain commenced just before 1150 and I moved to close the four remaining nets. Suddenly, at nets A10 and A6, there were birds in the bushes and trees and four in the nets, including the female Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and the male Yellow-throated Warbler pictured. On the walk back to my cottage there were gnatcatchers everywhere. What will tomorrow bring?

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