Monday April 26th
Following this morning thundershowers my daughters and I headed to Ft DeSoto Park hoping for some increase in migrant activity. These kind of storm fronts can bring down migrating birds needing to find safe haven and DeSoto may have been impacted. The word was that the park has been slow on migrant activity most of the month, but we did find a good variety with this weather event. No fall-out but a good day for birding.
Did not get on scene till 12:30 pm, with the first stop at the East Beach turn-around. A good variety of shorebirds were around including Common Terns, Royal Terns, Sandwich Terns, Least Terns, Willets, Short-Billed Dowitchers, Dunlins, Black-Bellied Plovers, Semipalmated Plovers, Sanderlings, Laughing Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Barn Swallows, Ruddy Turnstune and a lone Least sandpiper.
We headed then to the East Beach Woods which was fairly busy with migrants and birders. We quickly found Black-and-White Warblers, a beautiful male Chestnut-Sided Warbler and a female American Redstart. Several Rose-Brested Grosbeaks were busy at a small mulberry tree and several Summer Tanagers, a Scarlet Tanger and Blue-Headed Vireo present as well. Several birders came in off the Privet Trail telling about ovenbirds, kentucky warbler and a bay-brested warbler that were seen. Also several people were commenting on a reported warbling vireo and a blue-wing warbler. Dipped on all of these.
Katie and I entered the Privet Trail, were Katie immediately spotted a beautiful male Indigo Bunting. we also found more Summer Tanagers and a Northern Waterthrush exploring water puddles. Several small brown birds were a bit difficult to id, but I believe that they are female Indigo Buntings.
We moved onto the Mulberry Grove were only a Gray Catbird was seen, however another birder put me onto a beautiful male Black-Throated Green Warbler and a pair of Yellow warblers in a live oak inside the ranger resident's yard. As we were watching, a male Blackburian Warbler joined in with the other warblers in the tree. As I have never seen a blackburian warbler before I had a LIFER.
Great Horned Owl
Next Katie and I checked out the nesting Great Honed Owl at the North Beach Woods. The parent owl gave great views and the owlet could be seen but it did not stand up.
Before heading for home we rechecked the East Beach Woods. Ran into three members of the Caloosa Bird Club, whom I had gone on a birding trip back on March first. They had a great list for the day including the blue-winged wabler and swainsen's warbler. We reentered the Privet Trail with very little to add, but several Eastern Kingbirds and what I believe is an Eastern Wood Pewee. There was some questioning that the bird was a willow flycatcher. As we were exiting, another birder told us about locating the blue-winged, a bay-brested warbler and a pale, female cerulean warbler, just around on the adjacent trail. Too tempting. We set out, but I had to get back to car before the search was ended. So I said fairwell and we headed for home. I am cureous if the bird club folks located the cerulean.
On trip up to the park we had spotted a Roseate Spoonbill, Magnificent Frigatebird and a couple of Swallow-Tailed Kites. Some hoped for birds we can add to the dip-list included any baltimore orioles, blackpoll warblers, cape may warblers, black-hooded parrots and gray kingbird.
My List (58) - Mottled Duck, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Magnificent Frigatebird, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Osprey, Swallow-tailed Kite, Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Least Tern, Common Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black Skimmer, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Blue-headed Vireo, Blue Jay, Fish Crow, Barn Swallow, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Boat-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird