Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Migration at Sanibel Lighthouse

Monday April 23rd

The past two days the spring migration birding along the Florida Gulf Coast has been awesome. All the migrant traps along the coast have hosted many of the warblers, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks etc. that have usually just fly past us.  But weather conditions brought them in on Saturday night and the projected winds for tomorrow should carry them away.

Sunday I had some time to bird and was not sure if we want any fall-out from the weather. I had already a had a couple of unsatisfying attempts on Sanibel Island in the past week, which can get expensive to make extensive visits, with all of the tolls and parking fees. So I first tried Bunche Beach for any interesting pelagics that may have blown in. Found a very high tide and heavy surf and few birds. My best find was an FOS Semipalmated Sandpiper and a Marbled Godwit. Next tryed Six-mile Cypress Slough Preserve which was also very quite save for a Scarlet tanager that showed up just as I was leaving.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Sanibel Lighthouse. Photo by Dr Jose Padilla-Lopez
Called Dr Jose to report my find, but he and about every other local birder were at the Sanibel Lighthouse and at Ding Darling Refuge. He reported an awesome assortment of birds were on-hand. I was there in about 20 minutes. To bad my camera was out-of-order as there several photo opportunities such as a male Summer Tanager posing right off the trail.  Would have been a great shot. Indigo Buntings were everywhere and lots of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, Orchard Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers and FOS Eastern Kingbirds. Other sights included a Gray-cheeked Thrush, Swainsen's Thrush, Northern Waterthrushs, Black-and-White Warblers, American Redstart, a Blue Grosbeak, Tennessee Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Dickcissel, a Black-throated Green Warbler, a female Painted Bunting ( the males have already left), Barn Swallows and Chimney Swifts.

Additional species witnessed by other birders on Sunday and Monday included  a scissor-tailed flycatcher, verry, wood thrush, yellow-billed cuckoos, bank swallows, northern rough-winged swallows, ruby-throated hummingbirds, cedar waxwings, blue-winged warblers, ovenbird, magnolia warbler, yellow warbler, black-throated blue warbler, hooded warbler and Lincoln sparrow.

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