It poured last night….really poured. The ground was saturated and soggy and the floor of the banding lab was covered in water. And although the heavy rain had let up by the time I arrived to open nets, there was still a persistent light drizzle coming down. So I set out ground traps and went about scooping up the water on the floor. Fifteen buckets later it was (mostly) gone.
Liz and I did a census while we waited for some action at the traps. Not much around – although there seemed to have been a small influx of juncos. But I’m not sure when they could have arrived given the conditions through the night. A few Tree Swallows worked their way along the river searching for things on the surface. Needless to say we didn’t band much, just 6 birds. It wasn’t until I had packed up and headed for my car that the clouds began to open and the temperature climb.
I picked Jeff MacLeod up around suppertime (he even treated…imagine!?). He’s staying tonight at Hill House and will be out tomorrow morning to band before heading back to Halifax. [Jeff as many of you will know, was the founder of this blog before moving away to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology at Dalhousie – kind of a waste of his considerable talents if you ask me….]
We took a stroll around the grounds – River Trail, Fox Den Trail – taking in the evening…and what a wonderful evening it was. I guess the best sighting was the first Purple Martin of the year! And what was really exciting about this bird was that it was flying to the river from the direction of the parking lot – where the Purple Martin houses are. I’ll be you anything we’ll find him (it was a male) there tomorrow.
A little later, just after the sun went down and a half moon was making itself known, a pair of beavers cruised by on the river. All along the river flats you can see evidence of their work – literally hundreds of trees/saplings, mostly Black Walnut, have been taken down.
After taking the bend on the Fox Den Trail we saw a big Wild Turkey take off from its roosting perch in a tree top. They always remind me of a lumbering Lancaster bomber when they fly.
When we got back to the Butterfly Meadow, in the area of Net 7, we picked up the peent of an American Woodcock. Patience and stealth – creeping forward every time it erupted into the air on whistling wings – allowed us to get within 20 feet of the bird. By this time the sun was well down and the moon well up….and Orion was beginning to sink in the western sky; time to head for home and get ready for tomorrow. Should be a pretty good day….as was this.
1 Mourning Dove
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 American Goldfinches