Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Lake Apopka Restoration Area.

Thursday, December 11th
Day Five - North Florida trip

This morning would be the last stop for Bob Pelkey and myself in search of interesting birds. Today we entered the north shore access point to the Lake Apopka Restoration Area near Zellwood with a nice list of birds we hoped to locate this morning starting withe the groove-billed anis, Our list also included Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Ash-throated Flycatchers, Least Flycatchers White-crowned Sparrow and Yellow breasted Chat (one of my nemesis birds).

We arrived right at sun rise on a chilly morning. We gave it a few minutes before setting out hoping to sight or here any owls and to see if the rising sun would warm things up. No owls. So we started out to walked the Loop Trail were the anis have been regularly seen.

The Groove-billed Anis is found in very small numbers in northern Florida as wintering birds from Texas. Elsewhere it tends to be a non-migratory species in Mexico, Central and South America.  The Smooth-billed Ani is endemic to Cuba and the Caribbean with a few sights reported yearly in Florida.  At one time it was actually a very common invasive breeder in Florida, but in recent years the species has almost become extirpated from Florida.

So both ani species are coveted by birders in Florida. As was evident by a small group of birders who congregated at the staked out site. We meet Mark and his wife from North Carolina,, a lady from New Jersey, Dave Goodwin and his friend Rex, and Robert Sattelmeyer from Georgia
Bobcat seen near parking area

Bob and I were successful in finding a trio of Least Flycatchers and spotting a flock of distant Fulvous Whistling Ducks and several Swamp Sparrows but dipped on the chat and the ash-throated flycatchers. Yes we did get a tick on the Groove-billed Ani, but a very unrewarding glimpse. About 9:30 as we were all spread-out on the staked-out portion of the Loop Trail, I heard the distinctive call of the bird and observed a fleeting glimpse as it disappear into some brush along the canal. After about an hour Bob managed to also get a glimpse as it changed location. We theorized that it was resting out of sight waiting for the insects they dine on to become active on the chilly morning.  By 11;30 we elected to move on and head for home and joined with a few folks who had already given-up.
Groove-billed Ani photographed at LARA by Robert Sattelmeyer

Later research revealed that a very patient Robert Sattelmeyer was rewarded with outstanding views of both birds at 12:30.  Robert was kind enough to allow me to post a couple of his photos from the day.

Groove-billed Ani photographed at LARA by Robert Sattelmeyer

Bird List for the trip ( I had only one lifer in the Winter Wren seen at Florida Caverns, Bob had many more)
(122) Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Muscovy, Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Wood Stork, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Clapper Rail, Sora, Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Lesser Yellowlegs, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Dunlin, Least Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Long-billed Dowitcher, Wilson's Snipe, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Rock Pigeon, Common Ground-Dove, Mourning Dove, Groove-billed Ani, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Tree Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown-headed Nuthatch, House Wren, Winter Wren, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Nelson's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Pine Siskin

1 comment:

  1. Bob Blanchard has noted the value of extra observation time when I see him, Tom. We did that I think. The Bobcat made the miss of the Ani less of a disappointment.