Thursday July 4th
I have set a birding goal of finding at least 300 species in Florida before the end of the year. To accomplish this goal, a birder in Florida will need to travel to various corners of the state. I had envisioned trekking up to the Tallahassee area in search for several species that nest in the panhandle, such as Kentucky and Hooded Warblers, Summer Tanagers, White-breasted Nuthatch, Mississippi Kite, Yellow-breasted Chat (one of my nemesis birds), Yellow-throated Vireo and Acadian Flycatcher. Was going to use the Fourth of July weekend for the overnight trip, but reality required a change in plans. Instead the trip was limited to a day trip up to the Gainesville area. Were many of the species are being reported.
Was on the road by 5 AM and made my first stop for birds on a rural road near Plant City to check-out a pond on Bethlehem Road. My brief stop found a pair of Canada Geese, Chimney Swifts, Moorhens, White Ibis and a Sandhill Crane. The Canadians were my 250th species for the year. Seems that it was a good start.
|One of many gators found along the La Chua Trail|
By 10 am I reached the LA Chua Trail at Payne's Prairie Preserve south of Gainesville. Mississippi Kites are regularly seen here and recent reports of Blue Grosbeak, Yellow-breasted Chat and Whooping Crane were also targets for the day. But on my visit none of the above were located. I did add Carolina Chickadee, Indigo Buntings and Least Bitterns.
By noon I had reached a new venue for me. Gum Root Park in eastern Gainesville. Again, resent reports named Acadian Flycatchers, Yellow-throated Vireos and Summer Tanagers. And again I strike out on the target species. But I did add Whited and Red-eyed Vireos and a Pileated Woodpecker.
Had a bit of time left before meeting family in Tampa for dinner so I made an added stop at Power Line Road, which borders Hernando and Pasco County. This is an excellent spot for Swallow-tailed and Mississippi Kites. Before reaching Power Line Road I came upon nesting Barn Swallows using an underpass under I-75 at Micanopy.
|Mississippi Kite seen in 2012|
Photo by Bob Pelkey
So I explored Power Line Road for about an hour hoping to sight a Mississippi Kite, but again would dip on a targeted species. This proved to be the theme of the day. Did find, FOS for me, Eastern Kingbirds which were #251 for the year. Also added several American Kestrels. At time of the year the wintering Kestrels had returned north, except for a sub-species called Southeastern American Kestrels, which are Florida's resident kestrels. Other species seen here included several Swallow-tailed Kites, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Eastern Bluebirds, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Eastern Meadowlarks and Cattle Egrets.
It was a long day, dipped on almost all of my targets, but I did find several good birds for this trip. I'll need to try again soon.
Day Total (51) -
Canada Goose, Mottled Duck, Anhinga, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Swallow-tailed Kite, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Common Gallinule, Sandhill Crane, Mourning Dove, Rock Pigeon, Chimney Swift, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, White-eyed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Northern Parula, Eastern Towhee, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Boat-tailed Grackle, Common Grackle, House Sparrow