Saturday April 14, 2012.  14 new bands of 5 species; 5 recaps.  Brown Creeper was bird-of-the-day with six banded.  This was the official set-up day for the banding station and it was our best-ever!  When we arrived at 8 AM, at least 3/4 of the nets had already been set up during the previous two+ weeks when pre-season banding was going on.  So we had just the field nets, swamp trail, net #3, and the back aerial nets to set up.  When that was almost done, we couldn’t resist raising nets to try to catch a few birds for three of David Bonter’s students from Cornell –  John, Caleb and Will, who were pleased to be able to band and process a few birds.  Meanwhile, Gayle carefully unpacked one of our research packages to review instructions.  Kelly, after car problems en-route to the banding station, continued working on renovation work in the education room.  Doug and Sue worked for several hours cutting grape vine, alder, green ash and multi-flora rose that were growing too close to some of the nets.   New volunteer Susan Schantz helped put up the swamp trail nets with Jon, and Tom K.  David B, after soaking brand new nets in warm water at the house, along with help from his students and others, got all six nets of the back aerials up, much appreciating the work Andrea had done making new loops to replace the frayed original ones.  Tom K and Tom V, along with Marilyn and Betsy worked on fixing the pulleys on the 90 and the 70 aerials.   Marilyn had fun with the WD-40 can and slightly over-lubricated the pulleys!  Laura and a friend came by to help.  Pat brought a new cabinet for the education room.  Steve worked on cutting some of the high vegetation with the loppers.  Jeanne vacuumed the banding lab, wiped down the tables, and then worked with Heather outside removing debris and raking the area on the west side of the boathouse where Rodney Olsen’s students from Vermont had torn out the old chicken coop, wood pile and trash.  David brought his chain saw and cut down a few of the bigger trees in the same area.  It became an adventure, when a grapevine caught the biggest tree and wouldn’t let it fall in the desired direction!   While Ruth, David and Betsy kept the tree from falling over, Kelly sprinted over to the house to bring the tall loppers to cut the grapevine that was causing the problems, and threatening to topple the tree  into the new windows on the west side of the boathouse!  With the grapevines cut, the tree toppled in the desired direction!   Sonya, David, Kelly and Ruth helped drag that tree and everything else to a new brushpile in the field (we HAVE to rent a wood chipper!).    We were all tired at the end of the day, but very happy with everything we’d accomplished!  Bring on the birds now!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Betsy Brooks

Male Golden-crowned Kinglet. Photo by Andrea Patterson