Thursday, September 29, 2011

Twenty Warblers

September 29th
Six-Mile Cypress and other locations.

The past spring migration was a bust for most of the birders of south Florida, but so far the fall migration has much betterMost of my personal successes are with warblers.  No tanagers, orioles, thrushes etc, yet.

This final week has been a strange one with getting some good birds, but also dealing with some other strange things. Such as having my computer die and with some annoying health issues. But I got in several visits to Six-mile Cypress Preserve this week just the same.  This past Sunday I ran into Vince McGrath and Stan Daman.  Vince is a phenomenal birder.  He can sense them before anyone else has a clue. With Vince's guidance we reaped Blue-winged Warbler, a female Cerulean Warbler ( a Lifer for Stan and myself), American Redstart, Yellowthroated Warbler, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, a Yellow Warbler, a Black-and-White Warbler and a Tennessee Warbler.  Was able to add a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird and lots of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Tufted Titmice.  Also Vince picked-up a barely audible calling Barred Owl as we were leaving.

Yellow-throated Warbler - 2010

A few day's earlier I had run into Walt Winton at the same location.  I just caught the tale end of a nice mixed flock he was watching. I only managed a black-and-white and a Northern Parula before the flock moved away. Did get on a female Blackburian Warbler later.

Yesterday, I was there around 9am and was able to add Magnolia Warblers along with northern parula, ovenbird, northern waterthrush, yellowthroated warbler and a female American redstart. A surprise was a small bird I phissed-in near the pavilion.  Turned out to be a Traill's Flycatcher  (willow/alder flycatcher). Also can add a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird as well.
Palm Warbler - 2010

Palm Warblers are showing up now. Had  six of them on the 14th at Ft DeSoto and 5 more this morning at Sanibel Lighthouse. On both of these occasions the palms were the only warblers seen.  As for the the rest of this month's warblers I can add a Hooded, Prairie, Prothonotary, and Worm-eating at Calossahatchee Preserves on the first and a visit to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary on the 7th we had a FOS Common Yellowthroat, northern waterthrush, northern parula, American redstarts, worm-eating, Pine, Prairie, black-and-white, prothonotary and Yellowthroated Warblers.

Back on the 4th, at Six-Mile Cypress, I had a blue-winged Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, northern parula, yellowthroated warbler, black-and-white warbler and pine warbler.

Was back at Six-Mile Cypress again this afternoon, but it was very quite.  Saw no warblers at all.  The only salvation to the visit was seeing my first Short-tailed Hawk since July of last year, soaring over the slough.  It was a white-morphed and probably the same one reported from here earlier.

My List Count for September is 129 birds and October has the promise for even higher numbers.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ten Warbler Day at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Wednesday, September 7th

Zebra Longwing
Arrived at Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary at about 9:30am with the goal of finding any currant migrants.   Dick Brewer's blog had mentioned some interesting sightings including a kentucky warbler and the staff mentioned more sightings including FOS eastern phoebe, a hooded warbler and a blue-winged warbler.

My count for the day began with sightings of Crested Caracara and Black-belled Whistling Duck along Oil Well Road. At the Blair Center at Corkscrew checked out the butterfly garden for any hummers.  Did not sight an, but as I was later departing got looks at a couple of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. On the boardwalk, had a nice mixed flock at the bunting house including White-eyed Vireos, Carolina Wrens, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Tufted Titmice, a Prairie Warbler, a Northern Parula, a Yellow-throated Wabler and a Pine Warbler.  Also had a trio of Great Crested Flycatchers, Blue Jay, Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Cardinals.

Was able to add more gnatcatchers, carolina wrens, tufted titmice and great crested flycatchers, a Red-eyed Vireo, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker Red-shouldered Hawk, a Northern Waterthrush and a FOS Common Yellowthroat. Near the overlook, staff pointed out another very nice mixed flock including  a couple of Worm-eating Warblers, Northern Parula, Prothonotary Warblers, and Black-and-White Warblers. Later heard a distant call of a Barred Owl.  Not a bad day.

Little Blue Heron

Boardwalk at Bird Rookery Swamp

 One of the staff at Corkscrew told me about a close by, new access point to CREW property called Bird Rookery Swamp Trail.  It is located on Shady Hollow Boulevard, off of Immokalee Road.  did checked it out on my way home.  Not very birdy at the time, but the brushy fields next to the trail head would be promising later for buntings and sparrows.

Wild Hibiscus

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crested Caracara a Visit out to Glades County

Tuesday, September 6th

Juvenile and adult Crested Caracara roosting in scrub oak
Following work on Tuesday morning I headed out to Glades County to look for Crested caracara, Sandhill Cranes, Scrub Jays and wild turkeys.  Along cr-74, much of the terrain is cattle country. Open grassland with patches of live oak groves and scrub oak.  This scrub oak is the home for  Florida Scrub Jays.  Located two. One acted as sentry for the family group as it sat atop a tree as the others feed and rest.  Also found roosting in the scrub oak were a few Crested Caracara. All together I counted five of the caracaras along this road. Was also able to add a couple of Eastern Meadowlarks, eleven American Crows, seven Sandhill Cranes and a Red-shouldered Hawk. But no turkeys

Headed back through Alva along North River Road, were I was able to pick-up a lone White-winged Dove resting a wire with several Mourning and Eurasian Collared Doves. The property behind this location appeared to have pens with several deer inside. At the western end of this road, near the Franklin Locks Campground is another property, who's owners are maintaining  a variety of livestock including Llamas, donkeys, horses, cattle and several zebras.  Kinda cool.

After Alva, I found a juvenile and adult Red-headed Woodpecker and another pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers at Caloosahatchee Regional Park. These woodpeckers are not too common this far south in Florida.

Sweetgum at Calooshatchee Creeks

Wild Coffee at Caloosahatchee Creeks
I lastly was interested in re-visiting Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve to see if any more migrants were on hand. Turned out to be a waste of time as the rains moved. Did not find any warblers at all, just Red-bellied, Downy and Pileated Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, White-eyed Vireo and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Blue-winged Warbler at Six-Mile Cypress Preserve

Sunday, September 4th,

While taking a break from mowing the lawn, to cool off, I checked on some birding sights on the Internet. Well I found a report that Walt Winton had  hits on twelve different warblers, including blackburian yesterday at nearby Six-Mile Cypress Preserve. So off I headed to Six-mile Cypress and the rest of the yard will have to wait till later.

Got there about noon and had a Blue-winged Warbler almost immediately. It was part of a mixed flocked that included Red-eyed Vireo, Great Crested flycatchers, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied woodpecker, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Black-and White Warbler, Pine Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Wren, Blue Jays and a Northern Parula. The rest of the visit was fairly quite after this flock moved on. Was able to later add a couple of Yellow-throated Warblers and Red-shouldered Hawks. Certainly not as good as Walt's visit yesterday, but  for me the blue-winged warbler was a first sighting in Florida.  Had only see it once before, a couple of years ago in Illinois.

Gray Kingbird

While grabbing lunch at a drive-through restaurant in Ft Myers, I noticed a bird acting very flycatcher like on the telephone lines. Turned out to be a pair of Gray Kingbirds.  Not bad. This species should be leaving the area soon to return to Caribbean. Swallow-tailed kites are already gone and common nighthawks will be gone very soon.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hooded Warbler - Fall Migration

Thursday, September 1st

It's nice to see that migration is happening and new birds are arriving from up north. Spent the better part of today birding sights in Lee County. Was able to tally 76 birds including a few first-of-season. Yesterday I had planned on following up on the good reports in Pinellas County ( lots of cerulean warblers, plus blue winged and golden-winged warblers), but last minute issues cancelled the day. But today was very satisfying and a lot less mileage on the car.

Semipalmated Sandpiper
 Bunche Beach
Started the day with a stop at Bunche Beach, arriving about 8:30am. The tide was low, the weather was comfortable and the birding was just as good as we found this past Sunday. Was able to add a pair of Black Terns and another pair of Forster's Terns in the company of several Sandwich Terns and a couple of Royal Terns.  The count on the Black Skimmers resting on the mud flats have to be about 150 birds.  A lone American Oystercatcher paced the distance of the flats in the company of many Semipalmated Plovers, Sanderlings, Marbled Godwits, Willets, Black-bellied Plovers, Short-billed Dowitchers and Semipalmated Sandpipers. Only located a sole Least Sandpiper, but did find two Spotted Sandpipers, several Wilson's Plovers and just one Piping Plover.
The waders included a Reddish Egret, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, a Roseate Spoonbill and a pair of White Ibis.  Three Ospreys worked the water for a meal and Barn Swallows worked the beach.

Trail at Caloosahatchee Creeks
Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve.
Got Caloosahatchee Creeks about 11am and birded the trails and ignored the picnic area, which was so fruitful last week. The birding started out slowly till I came to a spot were I first located a Yellow-throated Warbler and quickly added a FOS male Hooded Warbler, an Eastern Wood-Pewee, a female Northern Parula, a Red-eyed Vireo ( finally) and a Great Crested Flycatcher. Later came on another mixed flock and hit on a Prairie Warbler, FOS Worm Eating Warbler, a FOS Prothonotary Warbler, a bright male American Redstart, a Pileated Woodpecker and a pair of calling White-eyed Vireos.Other birds found included Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, Blue Jays ( one was really trying to mimic a hawk), American Crow and Northern Mockingbirds.

Alva and the Franklin Locks
Next  headed east toward Alva in hopes of adding carcara, wild turkey and white-winged doves. Did get a Red-headed Woodpecker near Alva. At the locks was able to add a pair of Limpkin and several exotics in House Sparrows, Rock Pigeons and Eurasian Collared Doves.

Harn's Marsh
Arrived about 2pm and found that it was not very birdy today. Even grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds were very low in numbers. Was greeted by a Bald Eagle roosting alongside the lake. Two of the Florida specialities found here were very quite.  Only found three Limpkins and one male Snail Kite. Saw only one Common Gallinule and the about similar numbers for Great Egret, Little Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Little Blue Heron, Tricolred Heron, White Ibis, etc. Did find the Sandhill Crane family and the only ducks were present were several Mottled Ducks. Also found a Spotted Sandpiper.  Originally tryed to turn it into a solitary sandpiper, but the dancing gave it away.  Barn and Bank Swallows showed up as I was heading back to the car.

Eastern Kingbird
South Lee County - Domestic and Lee Streets.
The ponds on Domestic Street can be very active in the winter months with various ducks and coots, but currently only an Anhinga was present.  Recently the pastures along Lee Street had been active with two burrowing owl families. But today they were not to be located.  What was located were about a hundred Mourning Doves, a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk and a trio of Eastern Kingbirds.  Finally a flock of about a dozen Purple Martins arrived.  Have not seen this many martins at one time for a while.

Was a good day.  Got some good birds with the migrants arriving.