Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Nice Weather for Peas, Herons and Picidae.

Since Saturday last the weather has been in a rut. Drizzle, light rain, fog, a NE wind and temperatures, day and night, between 46 and 49. The station was closed on Sunday; Monday and today, Wednesday, were short and disappointing banding days. Tuesday was long and disappointing.

Of course there was much activity in the Park. Extreme high water in the Lynnhaven Inlet caused by the lunar cycle and the storm offshore brought out the fish-eaters. Osprey were fishing from perches everywhere along the tidal creek which feeds White Hill Lake. Belted Kingfishers were flying, calling, perching, diving and chasing. Tri-colored (Louisiana) Herons, Great Blue Herons and White (American) Egrets were wading and foraging in pools which appear in the marshes only during high water events. (Indeed, a pair of egrets were seen feeding from the edge of Long Creek Trail near Fox Run!) And Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, Double-crested Cormorants and Common Loons were fishing in the bays and creeks.

A fine after-second-year male Eastern Towhee with brilliant red eyes showed up during one dry, damp stretch when a few of the nets were open. And the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female together with the Red-bellied Woodpecker male moved the station closer to a mid-atlantic Picidae sweep. Only the Pileated and Red-headed Woodpeckers remain to be caught during the 2008 season.

Nevertheless the breeding feathers of the Tri-color confirm that some warm, dry and sunny days lie ahead. As do the continuing songs of Northern Parula from the soggy spanish moss.

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