Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Migration I

Friday April 12th
April is when Spring Migration kicks-in here in South Florida. We do experience some movement in March like with shore birds such as a few Pectoral Sandpipers.  But April is the time to be checking any migrant traps. Weather plays a big part in what kind of activity we may experience. If the winds and weather are favorable for the birds they will fly past us and may come down in more northerly parts of the state. But sometimes weather conditions force them to down in our vicinity. Back around April 22nd last year we had such conditions and were able to enjoy a very nice variety of neotropic birds in our backyards.
Least Terns have begun to arrive and should begin nesting on Ft Myers Beach soon. But aside from a nice wave of migrants around the 7th we haven't had too much action yet. I personally missed that wave, due to making a living, but made it out to Sanibel Lighthouse to check on any stranglers, yesterday.  Nope. It was very quite. Stopped at Bunch Beach on the way home were I did add my FOS Least Terns and Semipalmated Sandpipers
So today I checked out Ft DeSoto in Pinellas County to see if any stranglers remained. Bird sighting reports and weather conditions did not seem too favorable for me today, but logistics pretty much narrowed me down to this date.  So off I went.
Made a quick stop at The Celery Fields in Sarasota on the drive up. Here I was able to find several Limpkins and Cormorants. Also had Black-belled Whistling Ducks, a few late Blue-winged Teal, a Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, Swamp Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Rosette Spoonbill, Sora (heard), Marsh Wrens (heard) and Anhingas.
At the Tierra Verdi Ponds north of Ft DeSoto Park the duck population has shrunk down to a lone Lesser Scaup, a lone Redhead and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers.

Spent five hour birding at Ft DeSoto Park.  I wasn't alone as a large number of disappointed birders, many from out-of-state were busy trying to find birds. I personally only located three warblers. A Prothonotary at the mulberry trees in the company of a couple of Orchard Orioles, plus several Gray Catbirds and Starlings. My other warblers were a pair of Palm Warblers at the North Woods Picnic area. Just yesterday hooded warblers and tanagers were still here, but they had to have taken advantage of the strong southerly winds were we experiencing. A fresh wave of birds should move in this weekend because of a strong cold front moving in which should block their progress.

We did have plenty of sea and shore birds at hand. Counted a minnium of ten Magnificent Frighetbirds, large numers of Willets, Marbled Godwits, Dunlins, Short-billed Dowitchers etc. The Long-billed Curlew
Long billed Curlew and Willet at Ft Desoto in 2012
Dead Shrike caught in a tangle of fishing line.
was entertaining as it seemed to have some kind of issue with one particular godwit. Also had several Least Terns, Sandwich Terns, Royal Terns, Brown Pelicans, American Oystercatchers, Reddish Egrets included a white-morphed bird and Laughing Gulls in breeding colors. A trio of American Avocets in breeding colors was also observed near the entrance to the park. Counted twenty-two Nanday Parakeets in flight as well.

Gave a little help to a ranger who was collecting a sick pelican at the fishing pier,  He was talking the bird to be checked out.  But sadly just after leaving the pier I noticed a dead Loggerhead Shrike hanging from a knot of fishing line I suspect they brought it in for a nearby nest. Another shrike, which I presumed was its mate was sitting very close by.
Well after leaving the park I was not done yet. Headed over to Cockroach Bay Preserve hoping to find a gull-billed tern, eastern kingbird or a gray kingbird. Missed on them but find  several Rosette Spoonbills, White, Glossy Ibis, Blue-winged Teal, Black-necked Stilts, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, a Solitary Sandpipers and Long-billed Dowithers (grapefruit backs).
As my trip was wrapping up I made final stops in Cape Coral for the Florida Scrub Jays, Eastern Meadowlarks and Burrowing Owls at the Festival Park area and more Burrowing Owls and Monk Parakeets at the Pelican Boulevard baseball fields. A Cooper's Hawk was added too.
Bird List for Today (90) -
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Red-breasted Merganser, Muscovy, Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Stork, Magnificent Frigatebird, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Brown Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Reddish Egret (white-morphed), Cattle Egret, Green Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Osprey, Cooper's Hawk, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Swallow-tailed Kite, Sora, Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Limpkin, Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Sanderling, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, Long-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Least Tern, Forster's Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black Skimmer, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Burrowing Owl, Red-bellied Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Nanday Parakeet, Monk Parakeet, Loggerhead Shrike, Florida Scrub-Jay, Fish Crow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Barn Swallow, House Wren, Marsh Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Prothonotary Warbler, Palm Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole