This morning at 6am, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after a good night's sleep, I headed over to Opossum Creek Retreat for my first "field trip" - Birding by Butt. Now that's my kind of birding. Sitting on the porch, sipping coffee and watching the birds fly in. There was a nice long walk through the woods once the rain let up. And we watched Bill Hilton, Jr. of Operation Rubythroat (headquartered in South Carolina) trap and band hummingbirds. He put teeny, tiny bands on teeny, tiny hummingbird legs. Quite impressive.
In the mist nets he caught goldfinches, indigo bunting, chipping sparrow and most impressively, a palm warbler. Here are male (left) and female (right) goldfinches caught at the same time and ready for banding.
After banding them all, he released them and I got to hold and release a female goldfinch. That's a first for me - holding a live, wild bird in my hand. She was so tiny, so intense, so beautiful. It was a special, special moment that I will never forget. Bill says we shouldn't get emotionally attached to wild birds - too late! I'm attached.
Me and the female goldfinch sharing a moment before her release. Look at the goofy grin on my face!
Birding was good for my first day and in the rain - 38 species and 3 life birds (in bold):
Blue gray gnatcatchers (on the nest)
Black and white warbler
Black throated blue warbler
White breasted nuthatch
Yellow throated vireo
Red eyed vireo
Red shouldered hawk
Yellow rumped warbler
Yellow throated warbler
More tomorrow - plus more pictures!