Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Migration Begins - Sanibel Lighthouse

Tuesday, April 10th

Pileated Woodpeckers are nesting at the lighthouse
Spring migration has begun here in beautiful Southwest Florida. We are not located on one of the major spring migration routes through the state, but sometimes we can have a real good day.  Last spring most of the migrants had favorable winds and just shot right past us to points north. It's possible that we'll have a repeat this season, but usually our best results are at the Sanibel Lighthouse. A couple of years ago I visited  day as large numbers of birds did stop here with the telephone wires packed with exhausted Purple Martins and Barn Swallows.
Exhausted purple martins in 2010

Great Crested Flycatcher
Today I stopped by in the afternoon and found zero migrants after a two hour search. But on Easter Sunday we did have a few good hits. We had plenty of eyes as several birders were on hand including several friends like Dr Jose Padilla, Vince McGrath, Wes, Gary Lee and others like Don and Lillian Stokes. Best bird was a continuing Blue-winged Warbler first reported by the Stokes a few days ago.  We also had Black-and White Warbler, Palm Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, White-eyed Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Pine Warbler, Northern Parula, Coopers Hawk, Cliff Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Fish Crow, Cedar Waxwings, Gray Catbirds and a late Common Loon.

Young gator looking for a safe place to grow up
April is also the time that the local reptile population starts becoming active as the temps rise and the wetlands dry up.  Snakes and lizards are more active, turtles are looking for nesting sites and the larger gators are forcing the smaller gators to look for new digs as the ponds shrink. Just last night I found a displaced yearling baby gator wandering the property at work.  In years past much larger  gators had managed to enter the property.  So we are bit more cautious when working about the property at night this time of year..

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