This monster of a woodpecker was a an exciting bird to band – a first for FBS! As I emerged from some dense pines en route to net 7 this Pileated Woodpecker began to struggle its way out of the net before I quickly corralled it into my hands. It left twelve small puncture wounds on my fingers before I could free its tangled feet and put him into a carrying bag – a very swift and powerful avian hammerhead! Seabrooke was delighted to receive it back at the station, it was the first she’d had in-the-hand for banding.
The rest of the morning was very much a continuation of the last visit on July 14 – dreadfully quiet! A total of seven birds were captured during the visit, one less than the previous record low of 8 at Blue Lakes on July 14 of this year! The site is so contrastingly empty of birds compared to our first few visits in June. The once common Yellow-throated Vireos, Chestnut-sided and Black-throated Blue Warblers, Veerys and Ovenbirds are all gone and the area is not attracting many dispersing birds of any kind. We remain undeterred by this curious development as it is vitally important to monitor both the highs and the lows.
Our last visit to Blue Lakes in 2010 will be held in early August, which should coincide with the peak of post-breeding dispersal for the region. Perhaps our first season at the station will end with a final flourish? Either way, we’ve had some fantastic birds there and will have better breeding seasons to look forward to….