Monday, January 14, 2019

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Sunday January 13th


Boat-tailed Grackles were active at this watering spot
Had to make three attempts to locate the Yellow-headed Blackbird.  Its a western bird and not very commonly seem in Florida and to have a brightly colored male hanging out thirty miles from home, I had to see it.

Last week Eary Warren with wife Jennifer and Dave & Tammy McQuade had discovered the yellow-headed blackbird in the parking lot of the Win Dixie store at corner of US 17 and Bermont Road in Charlotte County.  Eary, Jennifer, Dave and Tammy have been racking up a long list birds, as the awesome birders that they are, to start the new year and it is no surprise that Eary was going to spot this guy.


Great Egret

Arrived to day about 2:30 pm and note that the parking lot lacked any grackles.  The yellow-head has been hanging with a local flock of boat-tailed grackles.  drove behind the stores to the retention pond, where wood storks, white ibis, laughing gulls, Ring-billed Gulls and the 


The Yellow-headed Blackbird was initially very hard to find. 
As it was well concealed in the shrubbery


grackles were found. Ran into Monica Higgins who was already monitoring the grackles for our target bird. Made a quick recheck in the parking lot.  Still empty.  returned to the pond an was informed that the flock had been spooked by an eagle and the yellow-headed blackbird


was easily seen and photographed. Big oops on my part, as I ended up waiting for well past an hour for the target to reappear.  The grackles were still active, so the blackbird was still expected to be at hand.  Was joined in the wait by Margi Haas and several ladies from Sarasota.





Eventually the bird was seen deep in the foliage, preening and being very inconspicuous. Patience paid off and the Yellow-headed Blackbird finally came out into the open.  Got my pics.  Yeah..

Early Florida settlers called these birds Old Flintheads 
and found them not to be very appetizing for the pot
Wood Stork

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Crested Caracara

Wednesday January 9th

Made a run out to Church Road near Felda in Hendry County, in search of any Wild Turkeys and to check on the scissor-tailed flycatcher/ western kingbird spot.

This stretch of road from State Road 82 in northeastern Collier County to State Road 29 in Hendry County, is roughly about an eight miles of rural settings featuring orange groves, pastures and a regional solid waste dump site.

Several Crested caracaras were spotted along the road, 
attracted to the carcass of dead possum,


A pair of scissor-tailed flycatchers seen along Church Road 
in November 2018
The location noted as 1881 Church Road became a popular birding spot after reports of Western Kingbirds and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers back January of 2014. It is a very reliable location for Crested Caracaras and Wild Turkeys. The turkeys sometimes can be seen in abundance or, like today, not at all.  As for the caracaras the winter months can sometimes find concentrations of the birds, especially near road kills.




From Bob Pelkey's Blog -  March 2014 and January 2015  and February 2014 featuring an excellent review of the birds of Church Road

Tom Obrock with Hemant Kishon birding 
1881 Church Road in Feb 2014
Photo by Bob Pelkey




Brown Thrasher
Lately the flycatchers and kingbirds don't seem to be using this site.  I was lucky to spot a pair of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers back on November 3rd.  But seems no one has relocated any to date. 

 Other special sightings here include an almost bi-annual appearance of Lark Sparrows, during fall migration. Vince McGrath had first located a pair back in February 2014. Painted Buntings, Eastern Towhees, White-winged Doves and Short-tailed Hawks have been seen.










Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Franklin's Gull

Friday January 4th

Haven't had much success with finding any wintering gulls, so far. But we've had a Franklin's Gull  hanging out in the area. Was able to spot the bird at Bowditch Point Park on Ft Myers Beach . I was a bit iffy on the ID, haven't encountered one for several years.


Still on the look-out for any black-backed Gulls or other gulls and terns. Black Skimmers don't seem to be as numerous lately as well.  Not many Bonaparte's Gulls being seen winter. Been thinking that bonaparte's maybe seen on the lakes  around Lake Placid in Highlands County. Could be the recent Red Tide activity may have effected the bird life.

Franklin's Gull seen at Bodwitch Point
Spent the morning birding both ends of Ft Myers Beach.. First at Bowditch Point Park then to the south end at Carlos Point. Carlos Point did support the expected shorebirds and seabirds.  The Gulls and Terns were limited to Laughing and Ring-billed Gulls, plus Royal and Sandwich Terns.  A small flock of Black Skimmers did fly past.  Did seen but one skimmer last month.

Scoped the waters for ducks, loons and grebes.  Some Common Loons were seen, but no other sea ducks or grebes.

A Young Herring Gull

Great Blue Heron



Brown Pelican

Willit

Common Loons

Wilson's Plover

Snowy Plover



Thursday, January 3, 2019

Smooth-billed Ani

Wednesday January 2nd



On my second attempt to catch-up with the Smooth-billed Ani that is hanging out around an area called the Ani Pond at Ding Darling's Bailey Track, got to see the bird. Special thanks to Ed Combs for his locating the bird for all of to see.

The Smooth-billed Ani is now considered a rare bird in Florida as it has been pretty much extirpated through out the Florida. This was a species that made its appearance in the early 20th Century here in Florid.a. Having arrived on its own from the Caribbean and Cuba.  Its numbers grew and became a very commonly seen bird. Several experienced birders I know have commented on how it was easily seen on Sanibel at one time.  But for some unknown reason the population has died out,  No doubt the influx of a number of recent sightings of vagrants  around Florida are probably the result of recent weather patterns.  Nice to see though.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Year Review - 2018

December 31st

2018 has  come to an end and a new year is on the calendar.

We measure the year with a calendar  and we measure quantity by counting. And we use these two measurements to create our bird lists.  

My annual list for 2018 came too 277 species, all seen in Florida. No travel outside of Florida this past year and had a big reduction in birding field trips in general.


Did make my first pelagic trip out of Cape Canaveral since 2014. The weather and the seas were rough, but we did get a mixed bag of success observing many of the expected species ( high count on Wilson's  Storm-petrels) , but dipped on other expected species like arctic terns and jaegers.  A couple of pilot whales were seen and the Marine Center personnel returned a couple of wayward hawksbill turtles to the floating Sargassum beds.  A pair on common eiders were seen at the dock

In January I made my annual trip to Northern Florida and  the Panhandle. Had some great observations  and ran into Dave and Tammy McQuade up in Gainesville. We would bird together for the next couple of days. Got Lifers in Sprague's Pipit in Apalachicola and White-face Ibis at St Markers.  Other good finds included a Ruff in Gainesville and Winter Wrens at Caverns State Park.  A pair of Whooping Cranes in Lake Wales. Lots of great waterfowl sightings as well, such as the Snow Geese and Ross' Geese in Tallahassee.


Another highlight was the arrival of Upland Sandpipers making a stop over in Cape Coral in April.



2018 Bird List and Gallery




1    Blue-winged Teal



2    Mottled Duck


A Mottled x Mallard hybrid. 
True Mottled Ducks are becoming genetically affected by these hybridizations

3    Ring-necked Duck



4    Hooded Merganser




5    Pied-billed Grebe



6    Wood Stork




7    Double-Crested Cormorant



8    Anhinga








9    Great Blue Heron





10    Great Egret






11   Snowy Egret
The Franklin Locks, Alva, Florida - Dec 2018

Sweetwater Wetlands, Gainesville, Florida - January 2018


12   Little Blue Heron





13   Tricolored Heron




14   Cattle Egret






15   Black-Crowned Night-Heron



16   White Ibis




17   Glossy Ibis




18   Black Vulture




19   Turkey Vulture




20   Osprey



21   Bald Eagle



22   Red-Shouldered Hawk





23   Gray-Headed Swamphen






24   Common Gallinule

Lake Apopka - May 2018


25   American Coot



26   Limpkin








27   Sandhill Crane







28   Killdeer




29   Greater Yellowlegs





30   Mourning Dove




31   Belted Kingfisher



32   Red-Bellied Woodpecker




33   Pileated Woodpecker



34   American Kestrel



35   Eastern Phoebe



36   Great Crested Flycatcher




37   Blue Jay



38   Fish Crow




39   House Wren


40   American Robin


41   Gray Catbird





42   Northern Mockingbird



43   Palm Warbler


44  Savannah Sparrow



45   Red-winged Blackbird




46   Common Grackle




47   Boat-tailed Grackle





48   White-Winged Dove




49   Northern Cardinal



50   Indigo Bunting







51   Painted Bunting






52   American Goldfinch






53   House Sparrow




54   Crested Caracara




55   Muscovy Duck




56   Black-Bellied Whistling Duck

57   Northern Shoveler

58   Northern Harrier

59   Snail Kite


60   Purple Gallinule




61   Wilson's Snipe

62   Eurasian Collared Dove


63   Common Ground-Dove

64   Loggerhead Shrike
Seen near Ava Maria, Collier County on a cold January morning



65   Tree Swallow

66   Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher



67   Yellow-Rumped Warbler



68   Green Heron



69    Green-Winged Teal




70   Lesser Scaup

Seen at Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel Island 



71   Red-Breasted Merganser
A pair of Red Breasted Mergansers were seen diving for prey
 along the shoreline on Ft Myers Beach -
6 March 2018

72   Willet






73   Lesser Yellowlegs



74   Ring-billed Gull



75   American Crow

An American Crow seen at Everglades National Park



76   Rock Pigeon



77   Short-tailed Hawk


78   Red-tailed Hawk

79   Common Yellowthroat



80   Brown Pelican





81   Laughing Gull





82   Royal Gull






83   Surf Scoter


84   Common Loon


85   Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron





86   Black-Bellied Plover








87   Wilson's Plover

Piping Plover seen in March at Bunche Beach Preserve






88   Piping Plover





89   Sanderling









90   Ruddy Turnstone




91   Dunlin





92   Least Sandpiper




93   Western Sandpiper



94   Spotted Sandpiper



95  Herring Gull



96   European Starling



97   Black-Necked Stilt



98   American Avocet



99   Long-billed Dowitcher


100  Eastern Meadowlark




101  Greater Scaup



102  American Oystercatcher



103  Brown-headed Cowbird


Florida Scrub Jay seen at Oscar Scherer State Park


104  Burrowing Owl





105  Florida Scrub Jay





Florida Scrub Jay seen in Lehigh Acres



106  Monk Parakeet



107  Tufted Titmouse




106 Eastern Bluebird



109 Stilt Sandpiper


110 American Bittern

111 Carolina Chickadee

112  Ruby-crowned Kinglet

113  Chipping Sparrow

114  Eastern Towhee



115  Bufflehead


116  Ruddy Duck

117  Horned Grebe

118  Cooper's Hawk
This Cooper's Hawk landed on the boardwalk railing
 at Sweetwater Wetlands in Gainesville


119  Sora


120  Ruff
A female Ruff, a Eurasian species, seen at Sweetwater Wetlands in Gainesville

121  Forster's Tern

122  White-throated Sparrow

123  Swamp Sparrow

124  Snow Goose

125  Ross's Goose
Rare to Florida, Ross's Geese , in the company of Snow Geese, seen near Tallahassee

126  Wood Duck
Wood Ducks seen at Six-mile Cypress Slough Preserve


127  Canvasback
A Canvasback Duck seen at St Marks NWR in January

A Redhead Duck seen at St Marks NWR in January
128  Redhead

129  Barred Owl
One of a nesting pair of Barred Owls at Six-mile Cypress Slough Preserve - March

130  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


131  Northern Flicker

132  Cedar Waxwing





133 American Wigeon

134 Mallard

135 Northern Pintail


136  Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye seen at St Marks NWR

137  American White Pelican




138 Downy Woodpecker


139  White-eyed Vireo

140  Blue-headed Vireo





141  Brown-headed Nuthatch

142  Sedge Wren

143  Carolina Wren




144  Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird observed at St Marks NWR

145  White-faced Ibis

146  Rosette Spoonbill



147  Canada Goose


148  Sprague's Pipit

149  Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker see at Florida Caverns State Park in January 

150  Hermit Thrush

151  Winter Wren

152  Golden-crowned Kinglet

153  Black-and-White Warbler



154 Orange-crowned Warbler

155  Black Skimmer



156  Fulvous Whistling Duck

157  Vermilion Flycatcher



158  Ash-throated Flycatcher


159  Reddish Egret

A radio monitored White-morphed Reddish Egret,
a Bunche Beach resident,
making a meal of a 
needle fish



160  Semipalmated Plover



161  Merlin


162  White-crowned Sparrow


163  Northern Gannet


164  Glaucous Gull



165  Great Black-backed Gull


Greater Black-backed Gull seen on Ft Myers Beach




166  Sandwich Tern



167  Whooping Crane




168  Pine Warbler



169 Yellow-throated Warbler




170  Great Horned Owl




171 Red-cockaded Woodpecker



172  Prairie Warbler



173 Bachman's Sparrow


174 Nanday Parakeet



175 Snowy Plover 

Snowy Plover seen on Ft Myers Beach



176 Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon consuming its kill


177 Lesser Black-backed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull seen on Ft Myers Beach


178 Black-throated Green Warbler




179 Baltimore Oriole


180 Red Knot


181  Giant Wood-rail
An escapee on Sanibel Island


182  Northern Parula

183  Marbled Godwit

184  Short-billed Dowitcher
Seen on Bunche Beach in May



185 White-winged Scoter



186  Saltmarsh Sparrow

187 Least Bittern

188 Northern Bobwhite


189  Grasshopper Sparrow


190  Scissor tailed Flycatcher


191  Swainson's Hawk

192 Broadwinged Hawk

193 Barn Owl

194  Ruby-throated Hummingbird



195  Common Myna

196  Tropical Kingbird
Tropical Kingbird seen at Lucky Hammock 

197 Magnificent Frigatebird

198 Brown Thrasher



199 Swallow-tailed Kite


200 Purple Martin






201 Bronzed Cowbird


202 Blue Grosbeak

203 Caspian Tern


204 Chucks-Will-Widow


205 Lincoln's Sparrow

206 Whip-poor-Will

207 Bonaparte's Gull

208 Northern Waterthrush


209 King Rail

210 Eastern Screech Owl


211 Barn Swallow



212 Louisiana Waterthrush


213 Yellow-breasted Chat




214 Ovenbird

215 Common Tern


216 Yellow-throated Vireo

217 Wild Turkey



218 Hooded Warbler

219 Gray Kingbird


220 Red-eyed Vireo

221 Solitary Sandpiper
Seen at Six-mile Cypress Slough Preserve in April


222 Yellow-billed Cuckoo



223 Black-billed Cuckoo

224 Eastern Kingbird


225 Summer Tanager



226 Prothonotary Warbler

227 Tennessee Warbler

228 Yellow Warbler

229 Orchard Oriole

230 American Redstart


231 Veery


232 Upland Sandpiper


233 Rose-breasted Grosbeck

234 Scarlet Tanager

235 Wood Thrush


236 Swainson's Thrush

237 Least Tern


238 Common Nighthawk


239 Hairy Woodpecker


240 Blackpoll Warbler




241 Black-throated Blue Warbler




242 Bobolink

243 Semipalmated Sandpiper



244 House Crow


245 Cape May Warbler



246 Worm-eating Warbler

247 Chimney Swift

248 Northern Rough-winged Swallow

249 Magnolia Warbler

250 Black-capped Petrel

251 Wilson's Storm-Petrel

252 Audubon's Shearwater

253 Sooty Tern

254 Bridled Tern

255 Black Tern


256 Common Eider


257 Cliff Swallow

258 Bank Swallow

259 Pectoral Sandpiper


260 Egyptian Goose

261 Mangrove Cuckoo

263 Cave Swallow

264 Gull-billed Tern

264 House Finch


265 Whimbrel

266 Eastern Wood-Pewee



267 Least Flycatcher

268  Acadian Flycatcher

269 Bay-breasted Warbler

270 Chestnut-sided Warbler

271 Golden-winged Warbler

272 Lark Sparrow


273 Blackburnian Warbler


274 Marsh Wren

275 Gadwall

276 Black Scoter

277 Sharp-shinned Hawk