My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Unwanted Visitor at the SWAT site!

Juv Downy Woodpecker

A very light colored juvenile Downy Woodpecker

We had a wonderful day banding birds over at the SWAT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station today. We had a family visit who has been camping here in the park for a very long time, two couples from buffalo make it down, Young Naturalist C (who was the Banding Assistant for the day) and her sister Young Naturalist E visit the banding station. But, you ask, “who was the unwanted visitor??”!! I will get to it . . . . I promise!!

Banding Group

Our Group Banding

We had a wonderful day with 33 individual birds caught. We captured 14 different species but only able to band 13 species because my permit doesn’t allow me to band Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. We had 9 individuals recaptured from our previous weeks, 21 individuals who had bands placed on their legs and 2 individuals who we had to release without a band on their leg. I am sad to report that we did have a casualty in net 7 with the unwanted visitor . . . . see video below!!

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Something didn’t seem right when I approached net 7. The Gray Catbird on the bottom trammel was very tangled and not how I normally see very tangled birds! If you remember the video of me removing the Catbird (from a few days ago) . . . . well . . . . this bird was not behaving (at all) this way. I quickly started removing the bird and I just started wondering, “how will I explain to 4 kids and 6 adults that the rare . . . . unexpected . . . . just happened”?? Then (as you can see in my video above) the unwanted visitor (a Longtail Weasel) started putting on a show for us. We were all standing where its prey was located and it wanted what was in my hand. The group started taking pictures and then it left the area because it finally realized that I was not going to give it up. We were now behind schedule and quickly closed the net up (so it didn’t get any other experiences in finding birds in the nets and keep all other birds in the area safe). This really puts a damper on the great day we were having.

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird being released!

Mr. and Mrs. Magnolia Warbler

Mr. and Mrs. Magnolia Warbler

After banding Young Naturalist C and I joined up with an insect class who was having a field trip here in Allegany State Park. I was asked to try to find and point out some butterflies to the group. One of my favorite butterfly locations was very dry in the number of butterflies out and about (except the Red Admirals). Sorry everyone! We still had a great time, as you can see from the photos!

RTPI group

The RTPI group looking at aquatic insects.

damselfly species

A Damselfly species on my butterfly net.

Tiny Dusky

Isn’t this a tiny Dusky Salamander?? That is my thumb with it!!

Taking a day off from work to enjoy nature can really be exhausting sometimes! It will be nice going back to work tomorrow and do my normal scheduled things I am always doing!! Thanks everyone for your kind Blogaversary comments!

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16 responses

  1. Great story and pictures, again. As always, I enjoy seeing the bird close-ups … one learns such a lot from seeing them so clearly. Really impressed with all the banding activity.

    16 July 2007 at 10:29 pm

  2. What a cheeky weasel! How on earth did you spot that salamander speck?

    16 July 2007 at 10:50 pm

  3. Darn weasels. I ask, too, how did you see that salamander?

    You had a great day and everyone looked busy and happy. Now, back to work! Tee-hee…

    16 July 2007 at 11:02 pm

  4. Wow…. what a cute weasel, and awesome sighting. I would love to finally see one. And I never say such things about mammals…

    Your itty bitty sally is indeedy a dusky. Don’t ask me which species 😛

    I like the maggie pair too. Good stuff.

    ~ Nick

    16 July 2007 at 11:04 pm

  5. Grace

    There are a whole family of those “darn weasels.” We saw 5 at the evening bird walk on the 6th.

    16 July 2007 at 11:20 pm

  6. Do you think the weasel thought it was easy pickings and showed up? And will it return for more?

    16 July 2007 at 11:26 pm

  7. Oh, to be able to hold a hummingbird! Those warblers are precious, what beautiful color.

    So the expression….”that little weasel.” Too bad for the casualty.

    16 July 2007 at 11:45 pm

  8. So sorry about the casualty. The warblers and the hummer are beautiful and the weasel is… well… weasely? :c)

    17 July 2007 at 6:52 am

  9. What a wonderful experience this must be for you and these kids, it’s great they get the chance to participate. Great images as well, the weasel story is crazy and the salamander is pretty amazing as well.

    17 July 2007 at 8:46 am

  10. Even though the weasel was a pain for you, it is cute. Wow, that salamander is teeny – very cool find Tom!

    17 July 2007 at 4:42 pm

  11. Those magnolia warblers are gorgeous. Wow. We don’t get to see those here. It’s very sad about the casualty, but how interesting to see the weasel behave like that. We see river otters very often here, and I just learned the other day that they are in the same family as weasels. I love these things we find out on the internets.

    17 July 2007 at 5:11 pm

  12. Wow-Great Magnolia Warblers Pic-I wanted to ask you since you do banding.-How often do young Downies have copper color on their heads instead of red?-I have had Downies with copper instead of red on the head in our yard.

    17 July 2007 at 6:10 pm

  13. winterwoman

    Re the insect class… Hey! So that’s what my boss is up to on Mondays this summer!

    Re the magnolia warblers picture – wow Tom! This is one of my favorites now!

    18 July 2007 at 7:18 am

  14. Another great day of banding. I know it’s sad that the weasel got a bird, but it is kind of amazing to see one, too. Nice video of the experience!

    18 July 2007 at 9:30 am

  15. Amazing weasel footage, a bit brazen, if you ask me. And the bird, probably!

    19 July 2007 at 8:24 pm

  16. Here is another page that I fell behind in my comments! SORRY

    @ Shutterbug – thanks and it is great to see the detail in each feather!
    @ Lynne – ugg, weasel! I was turning rocks looking for another species of salamander!
    @ mary – I have salamander eyes!! LOL Was a good day and blogging during work time?? Hmm
    @ Nick – was a great sighting but wasn’t happy about its killing a bird in the net! Grrr! isn’t that dusky cute?? Glad you didn’t ask me! LOL
    @ Grace – could have been but those would have been a little further away than where this one was!
    @ KGMom – I hope not, there is a great deal of time inbetween banding sessions that it doesn’t learn any kind of consistency in it! I did close the net right away and if anything, it probably confused the weasel! The fact that it never got the prey helps that it will not be always searching the spot! Well so I think, if it does return I will have to no longer use that one net lane and need to move the net!
    @ Linda – took the shot just before it flew away! Thanks and ya it wasn’t good for a casualty!
    @ Jayne – I wish it didn’t happen but we try to make improvements so it never happens again!
    @ Bernie – thanks and love having them along! Thanks and it was fun seeing that Salamander!
    @ Pam – it was cute for sure and I could have watched it all day! but, was banding and had to move on!
    @ Robin – thanks and they are great birds! That is very typical behavior of the Weasel! Not sure how close they are to the Otters but someway related!
    @ Larry – thanks and not sure if I have seen one with “copper” coloring! I wonder what they were or had done to not get the red pigment. Did you get any photos?
    @Jen – LOL, what a great way to spend her Mondays!!
    @ Marty – thanks and they do eat just about anything they can!
    @ Trixie – thanks and you are probably 100% right!

    20 July 2007 at 11:29 am

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