Bird calls filled the predawn sky this morning as we were opening the nets. That is always a good sign of a very busy day of banding! Despite a wind shortened day we banded 143 new birds and had 5 recaptures of 14 different species. Yellow-rumped Warblers dominated with 123 banded which will probably be the trend for the rest of the fall season. The biggest surprise was when a Virginia Rail was brought back to the banding table! Rails are marsh birds and not a group one would expect to find in a mist net in the scrub. We are surrounded by marsh but the mist net where this bird was captured was far from the marsh. It must have been migrating last night and dropped in during the darkness and was on its way to find more suitable rail-like habitat when it encountered our net. Rails are one of my favorite groups of birds. I studied Yellow Rails in graduate school so it was a real treat for me to get a rail today!