Field Season 2014 Round 2 Complete

Somehow the 2014 field season is already half over, and once again the weather and the birds are throwing a totally different suite of challenges our way.

2012 was a drought year, 2013 migration was delayed. 2014 is the year of rain, and lots of it. We’ve now had flooding on five of my ten study sites either during my field season or just before. The past two years we’ve had one night where weather kept us from surveying, this year we’ve had five already.

But that is the joy of field work, and the reason that you study ecological processes like migration over many years because there is so much variation, so many different pieces to the puzzle.

We saw our first two Virginia Rails this past round, with many more to come fingers crossed. No Yellow Rails yet, but it’s still early.

One very exciting moment was when we released one of the Sora we banded we took some video of him and he dove underwater, a behavior that many people don’t seem to believe when I tell them about it. The internet here isn’t good enough to upload the video, but here’s a picture of him after he came back up with just his head poking out of the water.


With all the flooding there has been lots of trash out in the wetlands, but these balloons aren’t flood trash, someone released them. Releasing balloons is littering, and can cause big issues for wildlife, please don’t release them.


Every individual bird has it’s own personality, and Sora are no exception, especially these guy. He was spunky and full of energy.


This fall has brought us many beautiful clouds, including these two beautiful shots

IMG_1335  IMG_1071

So we’re half way done, we’ve visited each of these sites twice, and we’re headed out to do two more visits before October 22. Peak Migration should be in the next two weeks, we’re excited to see what the season throws our way.


Season by the Numbers

Trips to the ATV repair place – 5

ATVs borrowed while others are being fixed – 4

Surveys completed = 155

Sora observed = 608

Virginia Rail observed = 2

Written on September 21, 2014