Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Spring Migration is Winding Down

Wednesday May 7th

Black-bellied Plover molting into summer colors
We are the point were the spring migration is winding down. Many of our wintering shore birds are heading north to there breeding grounds are far north as the arctic. Our piping plovers, based on the banded birds we've seen, are heading back to the Midwestern states to breed along the Lake Michigan shoreline and along the Missouri River. Many of the shore birds still here are sported their breeding colors, which is a nice improvement over their drab winter molts

Dunlin at Bunch Beach

Sanderling in breeding splendor

Some shore birds are still passing through our area from, South America, on the way to breed. Such as an unexpected sighting of Upland Sandpipers. We don't usually encounter the species locally, but just yesterday Dr Padilla reported  resighting an uplands, first seen by Keith Laakkonen on Monday on Big Hickory Island near Lovers Key State Park in Bonita Beach. I twitched after it and dipped, but it was seen by several birders.
Upland Sandpiper - photo posted by Keith Laakkonen

Another migrant I dipped on were bobolinks.  For the past three years they could be found at Harns Marsh in Lehigh Acres on or about May 1st. This year I visited the marsh eight days in a row in search of the birds. But they were a total no-show. A few were seen earlier at Ding Darling on Sanibel Island.  Reports on ebird noted that the Celery Fields up in Sarasota was the place to seek them out this year. Just as my records showed May 1st as a good date, they also show that on or around September 30th they should be passing us on there way south to Argentina. Will have to try again later.

Scarlet Tanager seen at Six-Mile
A few neotropical migrants are still passing through. Found a Scarlet Tanager at Six-mile Cypress Preserve the other day. A couple of days ago I found a trio of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds frequenting the butterfly garden at Bowman Park on Ft Myers Beach along with a having a Yellow-billed Cuckoo pop-up.There is still time to find a few more migrants at our local hotspots.  But the action is definitely shifting to the north. 

Northern Rough-winged Swallows have arrived

Great Crested Flycatchers have become very numerous these days

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