Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hermit Thrush

Ft DeSoto to Lake County
January 21st- Day #3
Double-Crested Cormorant

Laughing Gull at Egmont Key pier
Ft DeSoto Park
Left home at 10am for day three of my birding vacation. The late start was unavoidable and the day's weather was awful. Arrived at Ft DeSoto Park about noon and found conditions very windy, but no storms yet. The winds attracted a couple of dozen wind-surfing enthusiasts, who took over the east beach. I had counted on east beach as a possible site for diving birds, shore birds and perhaps a caspian tern or a black-backed gull. Only got Sanderlings, Dunlins and a lone Ring-billed Gull. Moved onto the Egmont Key pier which was not very birdy and people as well, due to the weather. Only about four Double-Crested Cormorants, a few Laughing Gulls and a lone Common Loon.

But was fortunate to watch a flyby juvenile Northern Gannet. This was surprise as this species is not found here, but with the heavy winds and that juvenile birds are known to wonder beyond their normally established range it was possible. I am very confident on this sighting and this would also be a life bird.
Checked out North Beach, which was wind swept and devoid of birds as well. But I was able to find a a few American Oystercatchers and a juvenile Herring Gulls clustered with Royal Terns and Ring-billed Gulls in a secluded spot out of the wind. Had a pair of Red-Brested Mergansers fly in just as I was heading out.
My list - Red-breasted Merganser, Common Loon, Northern Gannet, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Egret, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Black Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Sanderling, Dunlin, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Royal Tern, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Loggerhead Shrike, Fish Crow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Robin, Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird
Ft DeSoto Brochure-Map

Prior to arriving at Ft DeSoto, Checked out the Tierra Verde pond for waterfowl and the pond was loaded. Mostly found Redheads and Ring-necked Ducks, plus Pied-billed Grebes, Ruddy Ducks, American Wigeons, Lesser Scaups and Northern Shovelers.
My list - American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Egret, Osprey, American Coot, Ring-billed Gull

Lake County
My late start got me to Ranch Road east of Astulta in Lake County a bit late to find the resident say's phoebe, because of the pending nightfall and a prior local rainstorm the bird was probably at roost. So took a stab at the western kingbirds, sparrows and a possible ash-throated flycatcher on Lust Road in Apopka. But it too was bird-free. But did find a pair of Western Kingbirds and hundreds of American Robins at the nearby Hopper Farm roost site.
With it getting dark I lastly took a shot at owls at the North Shore - Lake Apopka restoration parking lot. Did get a pair of Hermit Thrushs and as I was checking them out, noticed not ten feet away but separated by a fence was a bobcat. We both did a quick retreat. Observed the cat a couple more times and it seems that it was not intimidated by my presence. Did get a brief look at a low flying Great Horned Owl.
Lake Apopka Restoration Area map


My list - Great Blue Heron, Wood Stork, Sandhill Crane, Great Horned Owl, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, Western Kingbird, American Robin

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