Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Review for February

Sunday March 2nd

February was a very active month for me as I traveled to several birding locations in search of as many species as possible.

Visited  Wakodahatchee Wetlands and Storm Water Treatment 1W in Palm Beach County where I had Purple Swamphens and a Purple Gallinule. Also King Rail, Swamp Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Painted Buntings, American White Pelicans,  Ruddy Ducks, Blue-winged Teal and lots of American Coots and Common Gallinules. Went to Wakodahatchee to find the neo-tropical cormorants nesting there. Dipped on the neo-tropical, but saw the many nesting. Double-crested Cormorants, Anhingas and Great Blue Herons. Large iguanas were seen in several places.

On Presidents Day I attended a guided tour at Storm Water Treatment #5 south of Clewiston. On an earlier date a stop at the Okeechobee Dike Park located in Clewiston, I located a trio of Bronzed Cowbirds mixed in with feeding flocks of Starlings and Brown headed Cowbirds.

Bronzed Cowbird
At STA 5 we started with some nice sparrow sightings including several Savannah and Swamp Sparrows, but was able to add a Grasshopper Sparrow among the many Palm Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Red-winged Blackbirds. We also added all the expected waders. One sora was heard, several Purple Swamphens and Purple Gallinule were seen. Long-billed Dowitchers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and Black-necked Stilts were seen as well. The most commonly seen birds included American Coots and Common Gallinules. Snail Kites were very common, Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Peregrine Falcons and Red-shouldered Hawks were found. Many Caspian Terns were found and a few Forster's Terns and
Black Skimmer
 Black Skimmers.  A wintering Tropical Kingbird was a star attraction. Western Kingbirds and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers occupied roosts just outside of the venue. A cassin's  and a gray kingbird were sometimes seen at the kingbird roost. Waterfowl included a many American White Pelicans, Blue-wing Teal, Northern Shovelers, Ring-necked Ducks and a few American Wigeons, Green-wing Teal, a Ruddy Duck and another star attraction in a male Cinnamon Teal.  A surprisingly low count of only two Fulvous Whistling Ducks were seen and zero Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.

On a trip up to Gainesville, made a stop at Four Mile Grade Road west of Arcadia to relocate a wintering Say's Phoebe. At another stop at Jenkins's Creek Park in Hernando County to locate the reported female Brewer's Blackbird, But missed budgies at Hernando Beach. There is speculation the they maybe extirpated there. Possible pressure from House Sparrows, House Finches and Starlings probably is the cause for there disappearance.

At Gainesville I stopped at the Magnolia Park, Gainesville-Hawthorn Trail and the LaChua Trail. Went early to Magnolia Park in hopes for lifer in a Rusty Blackbird. Found the blackbirds. The next stop offered Cedar Waxwings, Robins, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chickadees, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, White-eyed Vireos but no sparrows.  However At the LaChua Trail at Payne's Prairie sparrows were seen including Savannah, Chipping, White-crowned,
Florida Scrub Jay
White-throated, Swamp, Field and Lincoln's.
Other species included Sora, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Duck, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Wood Stork, many Great Blue Herons, American Bitterns, Barred Owl, Northern Harrier, Ospreys, Eastern Towhee and White and Glossy Ibis. Dipped on white-faced ibis, yellow-breasted chat, purple gallinule and vermilion flycatchers. Stopped at Chapman's Pond on the way home for Bonaparte's Gulls

Locally, in and around the Ft Myers area, we had lots of nice birding. On Church Road off of sr-82 we had a lot of success with Wild Turkey, Crested Caracara, Lark Sparrows, a Field Sparrow and Savannah Sparrows. Also seen here were Eastern Towhees, Swallow-tailed Kites, Painted Buntings, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Trees Swallows, Western Kingbirds and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. At nearby Lehigh Acres we had
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
White-winged doves, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Cooper's Hawk, a Merlin, American Kestrels, Eastern Towhees and Eastern Bluebirds. Also in Lehigh Acres is Harns Marsh were we located Snail Kites, Limpkins and Northern Harriers. A Dickcissel has been a star attraction at the bird feeders at the home of master birder Vince McGrath. Vince was also responsible for locating a Salt Marsh Sparrow at the Bunche Beach Salt Flats. In
Cape Coral we have a family of Florida Scrub Jays, a colony of Monk Parakeets and many Burrowing Owls. Plus a wintering Eurasian Wigeon hanging-out with a flock of Mottled and Muscovy Ducks. A good sized flock of Nanday Parakeets can be found in Ft Myers. Down in Naples I located a reported pair of nesting Rose-ringed Parakeets. At the Sanibel Causeway another star attraction has been a wintering female Common Eider. Other wintering birds there included Red-breasted MergansersCommon Loon, Black Scoters, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls and Magnificent Frigatebirds. In a search for Northern Gannets I visited Turner Beach on Captiva Island were I was lucky in located four birds busy fishing along side Brown Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants.

It was a busy month and I got to see a lot of birds. E-bird buts my count at 175.

lack-bellied Whistling-Duck
Fulvous Whistling-Duck
Muscovy Duck
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Mallard (Domestic type)
Mottled Duck
Mallard x Mottled Duck (hybrid)
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Common Eider
Black Scoter
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Northern Bobwhite
Wild Turkey
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Wood Stork
Magnificent Frigatebird
Northern Gannet
Double-crested Cormorant
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
American Bittern
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Reddish Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Swallow-tailed Kite
Snail Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
King Rail
Purple Swamphen
Purple Gallinule
Common Gallinule
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Black-necked Stilt
Black-bellied Plover
Wilson's Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Piping Plover
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Marbled Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone
Least Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
Bonaparte's Gull
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Forster's Tern
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Great Horned Owl
Burrowing Owl
Barred Owl
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Crested Caracara
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Monk Parakeet
Eastern Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Western Kingbird
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Loggerhead Shrike
White-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Blue Jay
Florida Scrub-Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Brown-headed Nuthatch
House Wren
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Waterthrush
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Bachman's Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Painted Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Bronzed Cowbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Monk Parakeet

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lark Sparrows

Monday February 17th

Lark Sparrow - Photo courtesy of Bob Pelkey

On January 24th, Thomas Wymelenberg, posted on a local birding site concerning a reliable site to find Western Kingbirds. Several of us have now made numerous trips to Church Road in Hendry County and have found it to be a birding hot spot. Not just the western kingbirds, but Scissor-tailed Flycatchers too. We have also tally many Crested Caracaras ( I had 15 on this road on my first visit ), American Kestrels, Painted Buntings, Eastern Towhees, Wild Turkeys, American Robins, Northern Waterthrush, Wood Storks, American White Pelicans ( fly over ), Northern Rough-winged Swallows. Off special note were a pair of Lark Sparrows, first located here by Vince McGrath and Photographed by Bob Pelkey. I was lucky to relocate the lark sparrows, plus Savannah Sparrows and an unexpected Field Sparrow.