Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hawk Watch at Sanibel Lighthouse

Sunday, October 23rd

Sanibel Lighthouse

Today we had the hawk watch at the Sanibel Lighthouse, sponsored by Audubon of SW Florida. It kicked-off at 8 am on a brisk, clear morning, with Vince McGrath as leader of our group of about fourteen birders.

Right off the bat, Gayle Schmidt reporting sighting a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and as we moved up the path we come up with our FOS Yellow-rumped Warbler.  But it wasn't a Myrtle race, it was a rare to south Florida Audubon's Warbler. So we started out with two western birds uncommon in Lee County. Then we found the recently reported male Pin-tailed Whydah.  No doubt an escapee, but it did put on a good show.
Audubons Warbler, photo by Stan Damen
Pin-tailed Whydah

Scissor-taled Flycatcher

Over the course of four hours we did not get big numbers of hawks, but did have a good variety - a couple of Kestrels, three Merlins, a pair of Sharp-shinned Hawks, a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, two Northern Harriers, a Broad-winged Hawk and at least three Osprey.

As for our non-raptor finds we had Baltimore Oriole, Scarlet tanager, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Yellow-throated Vireo, White-eyed Vireo, Tennessee Warblers, Blue-throated Blue Warbler, lots of Palm Warblers, a Prairie warbler, a late Cerulean Warbler, American Redstarts, Bay-breasted Warblers, Indigo Bunting , a female Painted Bunting, several Chimney Swifts and a sole Northern Rough-winged Swallow.

American White Pelicans at Ding Darling

Following the hawk watch, I headed over to Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge for a quick drive trough.  Was able to see a large number of American White Pelicans, Roseate Spoonbills, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, Willets, Short-billed Dowitchers, Pied-billed Grebes, a hand-full of Black-bellied Plovers, Least Sandpipers and Western Sandpipers. A good day to bird on Sanibel.

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