Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Oystercatcher

 Tuesday August 11th

American Oystercatcher


I had recently moved a bit further away from the beach, looking for a more affordable place to live.  So I have not visited the beach as much as I used to.  I've also been dipping on spotted on some of the birds you'd expect to locate. American Oystercatchers had been a nemeses bird for me these past couple of years. Just haven't seen them as often these days. Today was my FOS sighting for 2020, at Bunche Beach.  Too hot to stick around long. But did have a nice variety of birds available to enjoy.  Reddish Egrets, Red Knots, Semipalmated Plovers and Sandpipers etc.

Common Nighthawk


Yesterday was a return visit to the Everglades Ag Area.  Lots of American Avocets on the flooded cane fields as well as Long-billed Dowitchers.  Also had Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks,  Common Nighthawks, Black Terns, Gull-billed Terns, Stilted Sandpipers, Petrol Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, Black Skimmers, Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Yellowlegs, Cliff Swallows, Cave Swallows, Barn Swallows, Common Yellowthroats, a Caracara, a pair of Barn Owls and a King Rail. Lots of baby Black-necked Stilts and Common Gallinules


Stilt Sandpiper

What was missing yesterday, were Upland Sandpipers, Wilson's Phalarope or Brown-headed Cowbirds. Had hundreds of these cowbirds two weeks ago.

Lots of Common Gallinule chicks

Long-billed Dowitcher with a Stilt Sandpiper

Black-necked Stilt. Had many stilt chicks present

Common Guava growing along a canal

Crested Caracara at the Miami Canal


Wood Stork

Sleepy Orange Butterflies




Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Everglades Ag Area

Tuesday July 27th


Fall Migration is starting to kick and in late July and into August, its time to check out the flooded sugar cane fields and sod farms in the Everglades Ag Area south of Belle Glade.
 

Yesterday I made the trip from Ft Myers. 

 I'll usually make a stop at the Levee Park at Clewiston, which I found was not accessible.  This was due to renovations to this section of the Herbert Hoover Dike. The dike was constructed and reconstructed starting at a time because deadly hurricanes that drowned thousands of people almost a hundred years ago. The dike was a boon for agriculture and storm control to protect peoples lives.  But on the negative side these water control features cut off the natural flow of water into the Everglades, seriously effecting the health of the everglades ecosystem, plus issues with rising salinity in Florida Bay, which is an important nursery for fish stocks.  And because the waters from Lake O are blocked from going south, we now have them draining west through the Caloosahatchee River and to the east via the St Lucie Canal. Due to the high nutrient loading effecting Lake O being discharged through these man-made drainages system we have had a few very serious algae blooms along the east coast and into the Gulf of Mexico here at Ft Myers. These algae blooms are being studied to determine how they might be effecting the health of the people  as well as the awful and devastating fish kill.  

Salt-marsh Mallow

Next was a drove south along the Miami Canal.  Seen that it was too early to spot any of the swallow species that will arriving here soon. Was able to see a couple Common Nighthawks and a Bobwhite

Common Nighthawk

Then moved east along the Bolles Road Canal.  Again not very birdy.  Lots of rabbits though and a couple of rats too. Checked out one of the pumping stations were a Barn Owl did flew off.  Had a Gull-billed Tern up the canal. Also had an adult Purple Gallinule with a chick. The adult was running around with a dead frog.  Never saw that before

Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule Chick


Purple Gallinule with her frog


Near the intersection of State Road 880 and Brown's Farm Road, which is just south of Belle Glade is a is a Cave Swallow roost. Lots of Cave Swallow, plus Cliff Swallows and Barn Swallows.  

Some scruffy cowbirds

Didn't pick up any Upland Sandpipers at sod fields at 8 Mile Bend.  Just some Killdeers. The uppies should be be arriving soon. Will have to return in a could weeks.



Went looking for flooded fields along Brown's Farm Road. Had some success.  Had well over hundred Roseate Spoonbills at this location, a couple of Fulvous Whistling Ducks, several Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Mottled Ducks, lots of Black-necked Stilts with young, about three dozen Least Terns, a half dozen Gull-billed Terns and a lone Black Tern, Not many wading birds or sandpipers. Only spotted a couple of Pectoral Sandpipers and a few Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.  Again I suspect August will be more rewarding


Had to have been hundreds of Brown-headed Cowbirds, plus Red-winged Blackbirds, Starlings and Boat-tailed Grackles. Spotted more Barn Swallows, Common Nighthawks, both Night-herons and a couple of Laughing Gulls.









Sunday, July 26, 2020

Carlos Point

Monday, July 13th


Returned to Carlos Point on Fort Myers Beach to check out the seabird nesting colonies. Lots of birds present today. Lots of Least Terns still active here and the Black Skimmers seemed to have had a
successful nesting season. Yet numbers of unattended skimmer eggs could be seem.  Spoke with a young lady monitoring the sight for Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, who shared that the eggs had  been washed out their nests by resent rain storms. 

Lots of Willets and a few Marbled Godwits, plus a young Herring Gull. Added Royal and Sandwich Terns, Laughing Gulls and Ruddy Turnstones. Snowy, Wilsons, Semipalmated and Black-bellied Plovers.  Too early for Piping Plovers arriving from nesting up north. Just a few Sanderlings.  Had oystercatchers or whimbrels as my targets for the day. Will have to try again later.


Some other interesting observations included a green iguana that dashed off as came into the green zone at the foot of the Big Carlos Pass Bridge. Needed to park on the opposite side of the bridge and walk across as there is no parking available otherwise. But besides the lizard, I photographed a kind of moth in the same area, I hadn't ever seen before.  Learned that its called a White-tipped Black. 

The Turtle Time people has also mark off four sea turtle nests in the area I visited. I don't think they were present on my prior visit last month.  Probably Loggerhead Turtles. Would love to experience a hatching some day.


Often encounter Bottlenose Dolphins at any beach in the Florida, including today. But was also surprised by a couple of Manatees grazing in the Big Carlos Pass. Always nice to see the Sea Cows.




 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Hathaway Park

Sunday June 7th

View along Shell Creek
The dock has been better days

Had visited Hathaway Park, which is along Shell Creek in Charlotte County, last year.  Returned recently with the purpose of looking for anything interesting.  June is our weakest time of the year for birding, so  expanding the scope of our observations beyond just birds can be satisfying. 

Crested Coralroot Orchid
























 
As for the birds, found a few of the expected summer residents including Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Swallow-tailed Kite, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Carolina Wren, Pine Warbler, Cardinals and Northern Parula.
 
Echo Moth caterpillars on a coontie plant

Other observations included several brightly colored Echo Moth caterpillars on a coontie plant. Plus a few interesting mushrooms popping up after recent rains, plus an orchid called a Crested Coralroot Orchid
 


Made a lot of other flora observations as well. 
 
Southern Bee Blossom
Southern Bee Blossom


American Beautyberry

Pignut Hickory

Yellow Star Grass



Florida Alicia


Blackroot


Red Bay


Southern Bogbottom

Tarflower


Florida Blueheart

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Harns Marsh

Saturday June 6th

White Checkered-Skipper
The water levels at Harns Marsh were still low on my visit, but recent rains have begun and are going to fill up the wetlands and canals very soon.  These current conditions are concentrating Limpkins on the shallow lake.  Counted over forty Limpkins, plus a half dozen Roseate Spoonbills and Little Blue Herons.  Only a few of the other expected waders were seen - Tricolored and Great Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets and only one White Ibis. 


Snail Kite

Didn't notice any roosting Swallow-tailed Kites, but as we move into summer this should be a good location when then start to congregate prior to their migration south.

Snail Kites are also much harder to locate at Harns Marsh. Was able to have numerous sightings here in the past, but they have spread out these days.  Did seen a female roosting in a tree along Sunshine Parkway just before the Able Canal bridge.

No Purple Gallinules either.  They have become rare lately, perhaps because of the increase of the Gray-headed Swamphens. Not unusual to have 10 or more Swamphen counts.

Gray-headed Swamphen

Most unusual find was a land snail called a Ghost Bulimulus.  This is an invasive species having arrived here from Argentina.

Ghost Bulimulus


So what's blooming here today - Southern Bee Blossoms, Marsh Fleabane, Marsh Pink, Black Jack and Trailing Daisy