Saturday, January 2, 2010

Gannets and Loons

Common Loon on a pond in San Carlos Park

Was very interested to see if I could relocate the common loon I had found on December 31st. Left work about 7am with the weather clear, breezy and about 43degrees and headed directly to Domestic Avenue to check out the ponds. No ducks, a pied-billed grebe and only one coot located, but the loon was easily found and was very active, including calling that eerie loon call.
My next option was to head home for some much needed sleep or to make a quick trip to Bunche Beach to look for red-breasted mergansers or white pelicans. With the successful locate in mind I choose to go to the beach.

Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society on a bird walk at Bunche Beach with Sanibel Lighhouse visiable across the bay.

Upon arrival I located a Spotted Sandpiper on the exposed mud below the bridge and ran into a birding group from Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society here for a bird walk event on the beach. The weather was still cold and breezy, but unfortunately the tide was extremely low. These factors all contributed to poor birding. I was invited to join up with the Audubon group which offered up some excellent opportunties. Because we quickly had a couple of Bald Eagles, another Common Loon and several first year Northern Gannets and at least one older gannet. These gannets were a complete suprise. Certianly a good way to start out the year. Before leaving we also had a single American White Pelican, a couple Piping Plover, a Semipalmated Plover, a couple more Spotted Sandpipers and a couple of Yellow-Crowned Nightherons. Really not a bad morning.


  1. Not a bad morning and a great start to the year indeed, Tom. I'm glad to hear of your experience with the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society group allowing you to join them (as tired as you must have been). A similar photograph I took at Bunche Beach of a troop of wildlife enthusiasts (still in shorts) participating in Ding Darling Days 2009 reminds me of the lack of accommodation. I was told bluntly that I couldn't join them (it wasn't my intention) as it was a scheduled event that had to be signed up for. I suspect the reasoning was due to their perhaps entering DDNWR and Wildlife Drive later that morning while it was closed to the public. I heard on the radio this morning that the temperature of the Gulf of Mexico has reached that of the Atlantic. It will be interesting to see any adverse effect on the fish and the shore and wading birds that feed upon them in the remainder of the year. I've also been meaning to express to you that it's my belief that birding is best at Bunche Beach at a low tide although we certainly have a lot more territory to cover under those circumstances.

  2. Hey Bob, Thanks for your compliments and comments. Just wish to some day have your photograph skills. Yes low tide can be good, but if you can arrive on a rising tide, it pushes and congregates the feeding birds closer to shore for better viewing. Thanks