Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Carolina Chickadees - Pinellas County

Carolina Chickadees - Pinellas County
Monday, August 30th

As it was nearing the end of the month and my list of warblers was very modest, I elected to chase the migrants being reported up in Pinellas County (St Petersburg) area. A weather 'low' had grounded migrants  for several days and reports of some really good vireo and warblers lists, for this time of year, were turning up on the birding message boards.  On the down side was the fact that I could not get up there till yesterday, a day or to late, as the weather had cleared up.

I first checked the Tierra Verde neighborhood as I was nearing the Ft DeSoto County Park. The most interesting birds here was a trio of Nanday Parakeets busy preening each other. Also seen were several Wood Storks, A lone Roseate Spoonbill, several White Ibis, Brown Pelicans, Laughing Gulls and Double-crested Cormorants. The usual wire birds were on hand Mourning Doves, Fish Crows, Rock Pigeons, Grackles and a lone Brown-headed Cowbird. On the Tierre Verde ponds only a couple of Pied-billed Grebes.

White Ibis at Ft DeSoto

Lots of spider webs but few birds
Ft DeSoto County Park - I was too late for the warblers. Could not find a single one. Just a lone Eastern Wood-Pewee, several Northern Cardinals, a single Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.  There were several  Osprey, a few White Ibis, and Mourning Doves. The beaches had a few Black-bellied Plovers, Wilson's Plovers, Semipalmated Plovers and a Piping Plover. Lots of Laughing Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Black Skimmers, Willets, Sanderlings, Ruddy Turnstones and Short-billed Dowitchers were also present. I was looking for the hundreds of Red knots reported but did not spot any. Same with the common terns. Did find Royal, Least, Sandwich and Forster's Terns. Was also hoping for Caspian terns and the long-billed curlew, but missed them too.  Ran out of time here as I had a lunch appointment with my daughter, who had recently moved to the bay area.

Blue Jay
Gray Squirrel

Boardwalk at John Chestnut
John H Chestnut County Park - Continued birding in Pinellas County following lunch. I checked out a new location for me called John Chestnut Park in Palm Harbor. The birding was much better but still lacked the many of the more interesting migrant warblers. Quickly found a mixed flock of warblers and vireos consisting of mostly local common warblers - Black-and-Whites, Northern Parulas, Yellow and Yellow-throated Warblers. Had also found a Red-eyed Vireo and several Yellow-throated Vireos. There were Moorhens and a Least Tern on the lake and Blue Jays and begging gray squirrels on the boardwalk. Seems to me that someone is feeding the animals here. On the boardwalk were more parula, Carolina Wren, several more cardinals, a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks and Tufted Titmice.  Back out in the live oaks was a tree loaded with Carolina Chickadees, a first for the year for me, more yellow, parulas and yellow-throated warblers and more titmice.  Here popped up a Pileated Woodpecker, plus a Red-bellied and a Downy Woodpeckers.
Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

On the way out of the park I was surprised to find a couple of pair of white-tailed deer. This ended a good birding visit here. Absent for the day were swallows. Only say a couple of Barn Swallows at Chestnut for the whole day.

White-tailed Deer in the park

Small buck in velvet

Florida White-tailed Deer
My List for today (49)

Pied-billed Grebe, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, Common Moorhen, Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Piping Plover, Killdeer, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Least Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black Skimmer, Mourning Dove, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, Gray Kingbird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Barn Swallow, Fish Crow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Northern Cardinal, European Starling, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird

My August List - (128)

  1. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
  2. Muscovy Duck
  3. Mottled Duck
  4. Wild Turkey
  5. Northern Bobwhite
  6. Pied-billed Grebe
  7. Brown Pelican
  8. Double-crested Cormorant
  9. Anhinga
  10. Magnificent Frigatebird
  11. Great Blue Heron
  12. Great Egret
  13. Snowy Egret
  14. Little Blue Heron
  15. Tricolored Heron
  16. Reddish Egret
  17. Cattle Egret
  18. Green Heron
  19. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  20. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
  21. White Ibis
  22. Glossy Ibis
  23. Roseate Spoonbill
  24. Wood Stork
  25. Black Vulture
  26. Turkey Vulture
  27. Osprey
  28. Swallow-tailed Kite
  29. Snail Kite
  30. Bald Eagle
  31. Cooper's Hawk
  32. Red-shouldered Hawk
  33. Red-tailed Hawk
  34. Crested Caracara
  35. King Rail
  36. Common Moorhen
  37. Limpkin
  38. Sandhill Crane
  39. Black-bellied Plover
  40. Snowy Plover
  41. Wilson's Plover
  42. Semipalmated Plover
  43. Piping Plover
  44. Killdeer
  45. American Oystercatcher
  46. Black-necked Stilt
  47. American Avocet
  48. Spotted Sandpiper
  49. Solitary Sandpiper
  50. Greater Yellowlegs
  51. Willet
  52. Lesser Yellowlegs
  53. Upland Sandpiper
  54. Marbled Godwit
  55. Ruddy Turnstone
  56. Sanderling
  57. Western Sandpiper
  58. Least Sandpiper
  59. Pectoral Sandpiper
  60. Short-billed Dowitcher
  61. Long-billed Dowitcher
  62. Laughing Gull
  63. Least Tern
  64. Gull-billed Tern
  65. Black Tern
  66. Forster's Tern
  67. Royal Tern
  68. Sandwich Tern
  69. Black Skimmer
  70. Rock Pigeon
  71. Eurasian Collared-Dove
  72. White-winged Dove
  73. Mourning Dove
  74. Common Ground-Dove
  75. Monk Parakeet
  76. Nanday Parakeet
  77. Burrowing Owl
  78. Barred Owl
  79. Common Nighthawk
  80. Chimney Swift
  81. Belted Kingfisher
  82. Red-headed Woodpecker
  83. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  84. Downy Woodpecker
  85. Hairy Woodpecker
  86. Red-cockaded Woodpecker
  87. Northern Flicker
  88. Pileated Woodpecker
  89. Eastern Wood-Pewee
  90. Great Crested Flycatcher
  91. Eastern Kingbird
  92. Gray Kingbird
  93. Loggerhead Shrike
  94. White-eyed Vireo
  95. Yellow-throated Vireo
  96. Red-eyed Vireo
  97. Blue Jay
  98. Florida Scrub-Jay
  99. American Crow
  100. Fish Crow
  101. Purple Martin
  102. Bank Swallow
  103. Barn Swallow
  104. Carolina Chickadee
  105. Tufted Titmouse
  106. Brown-headed Nuthatch
  107. Carolina Wren
  108. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  109. Eastern Bluebird
  110. Northern Mockingbird
  111. European Starling
  112. Northern Parula
  113. Yellow Warbler
  114. Yellow-throated Warbler
  115. Pine Warbler
  116. Black-and-white Warbler
  117. American Redstart
  118. Prothonotary Warbler
  119. Eastern Towhee
  120. Bachman's Sparrow
  121. Northern Cardinal
  122. Red-winged Blackbird
  123. Eastern Meadowlark
  124. Common Grackle
  125. Boat-tailed Grackle
  126. Brown-headed Cowbird
  127. Orchard Oriole
  128. House Sparrow
  129. Scarlet Ibis x White Ibis hybrid









Friday, August 27, 2010

Yellow-throated Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo at Six-mile Cypress Slough

More and more reports are coming in about migrants coming into Florida. In the Fort Myers area we are often by-passed by the great numbers and variety of warblers, thrushes. etc that invade the more noted migrant traps like the Tampa Bay area and Dade County.  But we do manage to locate few good ones. 

This afternoon I checked out Six-mile Cypress Slough and had a few hits.  Not very birdy but I did find a Prothonotary Warbler, an American Redstart and a Yellow-throated Vireo, plus the usual local Carolina Wrens and Tufted Titmice. On a visit last week meet a photographer who claimed to have seen hummingbirds and a barred owl, but I could not find them then or today.

Below are a few pics from other recent birding trips

Good Morning!!!

Burrowing Owl at Cape Coral Library - 8/27/2010

Monk Parakeet at Cape Coral - 8/27/2010

Purple Martin in Cape Coral, Florida - 8/27/2010

Black-bellied Plover at Bunche Beach - 8/25/2010

Black Skimmers and terns at rest at Bunche Beach - 8/25/2010

Ruddy Turnstone at Bunche Beach - 8/25/2010

Short-billed Dowitchers at Bunche Beach - 8/25/2010

Short-billed Dowitchers at Bunche Beach - 8/25/2010

Marbled Godwit at Bunche Beach - 8/25/2010

Pair of Marbled Godwits with a Sanderling and a Piping Plover at Bunche Beach - 8/25/2010

Least Tern at Bunche Beach - 8/25/2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Pink Ibis

August 23rd

Got a heads-up on a pink ibis in the Bonita Springs area. Headed directly over to the sight.  But the birds had moved and were found a few blocks over.  The individually is more pinkish, but obviously a scarlet-white ibis hybrid.  It seemed to be puffed up to dry off following a mornings rain.

Pink Ibis are seen locally but not often and can vary in their coloration.  A bright red bird has been seen as well as these much paler hybrids. The white ibis is a very numerous local bird.  They are actually yard birds here.  But the scarlet ibis is a non-native species from Venezuela and the Trinidad and Tobago Islands.  So like so many exotics here in Florida, the parent(s) were probably escapees.

Also during the drive over and back found a pair of Gray Kingbirds and a Coopers Hawk.

Found the flock

Flock located in a Bonita Spring, Florida neighborhood

A Pink Ibis - Scarlet x White Ibis hybrid

Appears to be drying its feathers after the rains

With the flock - Obvious difference in coloration

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Short-billed Dowitcher and Other Birds

Short-billed Dowitcher with Greater Yellowlegs at wetland area behind rest-stop in I-75 exit 131

Greater Yellowlegs at rest stop area

Wild hog rooting alongside boardwalk at Six-mile Cypress Slough

Brown Pelicans at Bunche Beach

A Wilson's Plover at Bunche Beach

Green Heron at Bunche Beach

Reddish Egret at Bunche Beach

Willet at Bunche Beach

Laughing Gull at Bunche Beach

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Upland Plovers - Everglades Ag Area

Upland Plovers - Everglades Ag Area
August 16th

Common Nighthawk - at least three dozen found on wires in Ag Area
  Used my only day off this week to re-bird the Everglades Agricultural Area in Palm Beach County today.    I had searched the area about three weeks ago with little success, but August is supposed to be the prime time to search for migrating shorebirds.  My targets for today were upland sandpipers and american avocets. However I was handicapped with a lack of a viewing scope. This is a must for viewing here.

Started out from home before dawn with my intention to be on-site by nine o'clock. Following sunrise my first good birds of the day were a trio of Black-necked Stilts working the flooded areas in a road construction area east of LaBelle on Rt 80. About twenty miles further came across a family of four Crested Caracara sitting in a snag with one of the adults feeding a juvenile. Cool!!

CLEWISTON -  Checked out Griffin Road, which is in the sugar cane fields west of Clewiston. Came up with a pair of Eastern Kingbirds, several Barn Swallows and a couple of resting Common Nighthawks. Seemed to be hundreds of Red-winged Blackbirds in the cane.
   Absent from when I came through the Clewiston area three weeks ago there the dozens of swallow-tailed kites, but now the skies are clear.  None to be seen. Guess they are already in South America.
 Spent a few minutes looking for the common mynas that are supposed be found around the McDonald's shopping center area. None seen today, just a lot of Boat-tailed Grackles, Rock Pigeons, House Sparrows and Fish Crows.  The usual urban bird crowd.

CEDAR GROVE - A stand of cypress, known as the cedar stand is located at the western end of CR-827 and the Miami Canal. The grove is noted as a reliable barn owl roost. Being one of my nemesis birds I had to give the grove another visit.  The eight mile road is a narrow lane strip atop an elevated roadway with steep embankments descending on both sides of the road to parallel canals, within the cane fields
.  Many red-winged blackbirds and grackles were active along the road, passed a snag that was home to several Green Herons, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a King Rail, LIFER, standing in the road.  It quickly moved into concealment.  I had heard king rails several times before, but it was my first sighting. Cool!!
   The barn owls status as a nemesis bird held up as I could not locate any today. Besides the this tree stand, barn owl nest boxes are seen all around this area.  In the cane fields and peoples yards. Suppose they help keep down the vermin. Other birds seen though were a Red-Shouldered Hawk, more resting nighthawks, and barn swallows.  A Yellow Warbler could be heard within the grove and as I was exiting the area had a brief glimpse of another one.

The SOD FARM - Next was to head over to CR-880 and Brown's Farm Road to look for shorebirds. The sod fields noted in a posting on the Tropical Audubon Society message board from the yesterday had thirty-six upland sandpipers , plus a long list of other species and I easily located the site. It is along CR-880 just east from the Brown Farm's Road intersection. Had arrived about 9:30 am and found the fields to be very active with Wood Storks, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, White and Glossy Ibis, many Killdeer and Laughing Gulls. Needed a scope here to improve my evaluation of the birds.  One bird I could not make out was any upland sandpipers. After about a half hour I chose to check out Brown's farm Road and would recheck the sod field afterward.
   Brown's Farm Road was a disappointment.  Found few flooded fields and only managed a couple of Killdeer and a lone Lesser Yellowlegs. Common Nighthawks were seen on the wires, more red-winged blackbirds were active as were boat-tailed grackles and barn swallows.  Turkey and Black Vultures were soaring as the day was heating up.
  A small green single prop airplane was actively buzzing the fields, probably dusting, which does not help with birding.
  Arriving back at the sod fields, found all of the birds were gone. Probably due to the airplane's flight.  However, I did find three of my target sandpipers.  Why the Upland Sandpipers were present when everything else had left was an interesting question.  They probably just arrived or returned. Way too far for my camera to get a photograph, but in the picture below of the field three small brown dots can be seen.
Sod field where three Upland Sandpipers were located.
BLUMBERG ROAD - With having located a king rail and having my best looks ever of upland sandpipers I started for for home, as I did have to prep (nap) for work tonight.
   However, just before reaching clewiston , I elected to check the Blumberg Road area by heading south from US 27 to CR-835 on a hunch that I could find an avocet in the area of Stormwater Treatment Area #5 (STA5).  This is also when I finally found a couple of Swallow-tailed Kites soaring over the road.  They were my only sitings and could have been my final looks at the kites for the season.
   Along Blumberg Road, I finally found a flooded field containing shorebirds. Wood storks, egrets, herons Black-Necked Stilts, white and glossy ibis, many Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, plus several Western and Least Sandpipers. My viewing was limited to a side road I was using, which was not posted, but was probably private so I did not stay long.
   But several miles further up the road I came across what I had been searching for.  An extensively flooded fields containing a great many wetlands birds.  Again I really needed a scope, but I did the best I could.  Found great egrets, snowy egrets, Tricolored Herons, and about forty Roseate Spoonbills.  Also seen were a pair of Gull-billed Terns and three Black Terns resting together on a log. There were many more yellowlegs, white ibis, glossy ibis and black-necked stilts. Had alone Belted Kingfisher and an Osprey. Was able to id a single Pectoral Sandpiper and several dowitchers, which had at least a few Long-billed Dowitchers based on their call.  Was surprised to finally find a pair of American Avocets.
   Headed to the end of the road at the gate to STA5 were a Snail Kite is perched atop a pole just inside the property dining on an apple snail.  Cool!!  From here, headed for home and was able to spot another snail kite above marsh in Collier County, plus a couple of Limpkins and alone Black-bellied Whistling Duck along CR-833.  Turned out to be a good trip.
My list - (53) Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Common Moorhen, Limpkin, Wood Stork, King Rail, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Marbled Godwit, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Red-shouldered Hawk, Snail Kite, Swallow-tailed Kite, Crested Caracara, Laughing Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Black Tern, Chimney Swift, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Fish Crow, Belted Kingfisher, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Common Nighthawk, Eastern Kingbird, Barn Swallow, Yellow Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Boat-tailed Grackle, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow, European Starling

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Few Reptiles

Some recently seen reptiles

Cuban Anole, a non-native invading lizard

Common House Geckos, these lizards are found crawling on the walls of most of the buildings at the plant

Common House Geckos, is a non-native invader

Florida Red-bellied Turtle at Six-Mile Cypress Slough

A Scarlet Kingsnake

Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper
August 15th

   After work this morning I elected to search for warblers at Six-Mile Cypress Slough.  Arrived about 8:30am and found the place to be very quite. Basically had several active Carolina Wrens and that was about it for the visit.  But I was not really disappointed as I had found my First-of-Season Solitary Sandpiper when I checked the flooded fields behind the Rest Stop area at exit 131 on I-75. on my way to Six-Mile Cypress. The solitary sandpiper was in the company of a lone Western Sandpiper, a couple of Glossy Ibis and about seven Killdeer.
Solitary Sandpiper

Western Sandpiper