Sunday, March 19, 2017

Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area

Sunday March 19th

White-tailed Deer
The Babcock-Webb property is basically mesic pine flatwoods which hosts three bird species of concern including the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatches and Bachman's Sparrow. Of these three birds the Bachman's can be the most difficult to spot due to its more secretive manners.  However, from March into May the males will post itself on a low limb and sing its heart out. This is why I had traveled to this spot today, to look for some Bachman's.

I arrived at dawn and was rewarded with a pair of Bachman's in song. Couldn't get a photograph as they still proved hard to locate. Also singing this morning were a number of Eastern Towhees, Pine Warblers, Northern Cardinals, Eastern Meadowlarks and Northern Bobwhites.

Eastern Bluebird

Green Heron

Pine Warbler


This Limpkin has collected a fresh-water muscle

Pine Warbler
 Within the first hour I had been successfully in finding the Big Three, but was able to add, a Great Horned Owl, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Common Yellow-throat, Mockingbirds, House Wrens, Palm Warblers, Limpkins, Great Egrets, Eastern Bluebirds, Anhingas, Osprey, Pileated Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Grey Catbirds, Eastern Phoebes, a Great Crested Flycatcher, Northern Flickers, Wilson's Snipe and Tree Swallows.

An Eastern Towhee

Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler

Red-winged Blackbird showing-off his chevrons

This section at, Babcock-Webb, had recently been subjected
to a cleansing prescribed-burn

Great Crested Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher

A Gator laying in wait

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Reddish Egerts at Bunche Beach

Saturday, March 11th

Reddish Egret - White Form
Stopped by at day break for a quite visit.  The tide was quit low and the beach was attracting a great many birding enthusiasts.  Lots of bins, scopes and cameras.

Reddish Egret

Note the tracking radio antenna attached to this birds back

Counted four Reddish Egrets today - two were the normal reddish phase and the others were the white phase included one toting a tracking radio.


Other shore birds present included lots of Sanderlings, Dunlin, Least and Western Sandpipers, Black-bellied Plovers, Semipalmated Plovers and a few Piping Plovers.

Spotted Sandpiper

Not very many gulls or terns at the time. Mostly Laughing Gulls with a few Black Skimmers, Ring-billed Gulls and Royal Terns

Western Sandpiper

Additionally seen were a couple of Spotted Sandpipers and Yellow-crowned Night-herons

Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Swallow-tailed Kites are Back

Sunday, March 5th

Currently my weekend starts at 6 AM on Sunday morning, which I kicked-off today with some birding in  Lehigh Acres.

Swallow-tailed Kite
As I was driving away from the plant, was able to spot my first Swallow-tailed Kite of the day, as it was foraging along side of the road. I always look forward to the return of the Kites after there long flight South America. They will be arriving in the American Southeast to begin their nesting season, and will be heading back to were wintering homes starting at the end of July.

Along the way to Lehigh, I made a small detour through some back roads at the airport to look for Wood Ducks ( found ten, but no pics), but came across this roosting Swallow-tailed Kite.  Saw an addition three kettling further down the road. That was five for the day.

Gray-headed Swamphen
By 8:45 I had reached my destination at Harns Marsh.  The water level has been falling and the wading bird numbers are on the rise. Large numbers of Great Egrets, Wood Storks, Tricolored Herons and more.  There were also a large number of birders on hand.  Most folks from out-of-state enjoying our Florida winter.

Still have a lot of waterfowl present. Not a great variety - Ring-necked Ducks, American Coots, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal and Mottled Ducks.

Only spotted a single female Snail Kite, but lots of Limpkins. We also found  a few Pied-billed Grebes, Anhingas, Cormorants, Grackles, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Killdeer, Common Gallinules, Grey-headed Swamphens, Wilson's Snipe, Sandhill Crane, Tree Swallows, Savannah Sparrows and Robins.

Roseate Spoonbill

Misses included Northern Harrier and Purple Gallinule.

From here, checked out the Florida Scrub Jay spot on 47th Street West, were an individual jay was quite accommodating.

Checked a couple of Red-headed Woodpecker spots in the area, but came up empty. Then up to Alva to see what was happening at the Whites' feeders. Found the their yard much busier with birders than birds. Now its time to head home.

Florida Scrub Jay in Lehigh Acres

Green-winged Duck

Purse Crab

Saturday March 4th

 Today I checked out Bunche Beach, arriving at day break, having just left work. Made a brief check at the Mangrove Cuckoo spot. Not seeing or hearing anything moved onto the beach. The tide was at a low stage and a nice mix of shore birds,waders, gulls and terns were present.

Purse Crab

Spotted a very large live Whelk and a very tiny crab I've never encountered before. A google search helped in identifying the crab as a Mottled Purse Crab. A very strange looking creature

The face of a Purse Crab

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Tuesday February 28th

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Yesterday I got too late of a start to beat the terrible traffic on Ft Myers Beach.  So today, I was able to leave home on a more timely basis and was on Ft Myers Beach by 8 am.  My first stop was at Bowditch Point Park, located at the northern tip of the island. Found the location wanting of my target birds - black-backed gulls, oystercatchers or even a possible bonaparte's gull.
Osprey at Bowditch Point

So moved onto Carlos Point at the southern end of the island. Here I quickly spotted a few Snowy and Wilson's Plovers. Eventually I saw a young Lesser Black-backed Gull, which was joined by an adult. Nice.

American Oystercatcher

Lesser Black-backed Gull
A juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull

Palm Warbler at Carlos Point

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Visit to Lakes Regional Park

Monday February 27th

Got a late start today to do a little birding. Tried to venture onto Ft Myers Beach in search of any Black-backed Gulls. Hadn't seen any yet in the new year. But the large numbers of folks visiting from up North, here to enjoy our weather, it was impossible. Turned around and re-crossed the Matanzas Bridge were I noticed that the shrimping fleet was in. From here I ended up in Lakes Park.

Lakes Regional Park is a very nice park operated by Lee County with a wide variety activities available.  Besides birding opportunities,  we find picnic shelters, lodge ( friends of ours held their wedding reception here), gardens. an amphitheater, trails for walkers and cyclists, (and birders), fishing, a water park, swimming beach, volleyball courts, cycle and kayak rentals,  miniature train rides and museum, a summer camp, a weekly farmers market and scheduled events.

The Railroad Museum maintains this 1909 Steam Engine

Our family enjoyed this park from the time we first moved to Lee County in 1987. Prior to the devastation created here by Hurricane Charlie in 2004, the park was well shaded by towering Australian Pines. The redevelopment included the removal of much of the surviving  Australian Pines, as they are considered to be a noxious invasive plant. Native trees and shrubs have been planted and are now starting to show some maturity.

Anhinga with the catch of the day
As for the birds, at least ten species of  birds used the spoil islands as rookeries. White Ibis, anhingas, cormorants, cattle egrets, tricolored and more species will nest on the islands.  Ospreys nest throughout the park and many more species can be found.  About eight years ago my daughters and I spotted the Scarlet Ibis that was once roosting here.

Lee County Bird Patrol ( I am also a volunteer) leads monthly guided tours.
Common Gallinules

Great Blue Heron