Monday, April 18, 2011

Eastern Screech-Owl at Sanibel Lighthouse

Eastern Screech-Owl at Sanibel Lighthouse

So far, the spring migration has remanded quite slow in south Florida. But it is not a wash-out yet as there is plenty of  time left for some good sightings.   I have been active the past couple of week in search of migrants and other interesting birds.

Checked out The Sanibel Lighthouse a couple of times as this location has been good for migrants in the past. So far I can count Northern Waterthrush and Prairie Warbler, plus Indigo Buntings, Orchard Oriole, Gray Kingbird, Magnificent Frigatebirds and Eastern Screech-Owl at the lighthouse.

Mourning Dove at Sanibel Lighthouse

I also checked out  Babcock-Webb in Charlotte County.  Not for migrants but to find Bachman's Sparrows.  Spring is the best time to locate this sparrow as the males will be singing, making them much easier to find. Listen for their song and check on tree limbs about ten feet up to find the singer.  This worked, as I had not one but three Bachman's Sparrows almost immediately upon my arrival.  They were located along Trucker's Grade just past the gun range. My other targets for the day included the red-cockaded woodpecker, brown-headed nuthatch and Eastern Towhee.
Met up with several birders, both local and out-of-town visitors. As I was chatting with Susan, from Ft Myers and up-state New York and another local birder, had a Brown-headed Nuthatch arrive in the pine right next to us. Very convenient.  Even more so was the Red-cockaded Woodpecker that flew past us and settled on a nearby tree,  as were observing the nuthatch. Not bad. 
Also close by this location was an American Kestrel. I had observed this bird in the same tree all winter and as it appears that kesterals were already vacating our area to head north, that this bird maybe the Southeastern subspecies of American Kesteral. This location would be about the southern most limit to is range. Other birds located included Pine Warblers, Red-winged Black-birds, Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Towhee, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Flickers, House Wren,  Eastern Meadowlarks and Northern Bobwhite.

Another diversion from the migration milaise was to chase after western kingbirds and scissor-tailed flycatcher reported from CR-835 in Hendry County.  So after work Sunday morning I headed out to reported location and did not initially see the targets but I did find a lot of other good birds.  Like a pair of Limpkins, several Rough-winged Swallows, a feeding Snail Kite, a calling Northern Bobwhite, a couple of Palm Warblers and a couple of Savananh Sparrows. Doves, Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds were very numerous.  So were Northern Cardinals, and did hear a couple of White-eyed Vireos and saw a Swallow-tailed Kite.  Then finally a lone Western Kingbird appeared, but no scissor-tailed flycatcher
Female Snail Kite in Hendry County

Limpkin in Hendry County

Note the hooked bill, useful for extracting the snail from its shell

Baby Burrowing Owl in Cape Coral

Parent and juvenile Burrowing Owls found in Cape Coral as I was looking for owls and Monk Parakeets at Pelican Blvd ballfields

Eastern Meadowlark singing in fields in northern Cape Coral. I was here to look for  Florida Scrub Jays, were I managed to locate one.

Least Sandpiper seen at Bunche Beach today.  Still lots of shore birds present, and are now molting into breeding plumage.

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