Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wilson's Phalarope

Tuesday, September 15th

With the idea that the bird magnet at Ft DeSoto Park in Pinellas County could offer some good sightings, Bob Pelkey and I headed out early today.
Wilson's Phalarope at Siesta Key

But first was a stop at Siesta Key in Sarasota County to twitch after phalaropes. Both Wilson's and Red-necked Phalaropes had been spotted here.  Arriving at sun rise we easily found the Wilson's Phalarope, but the red-necked phalarope was a no-show. We had dipped on the Wilson's on recent visits to Palm Beach County, so there was satisfaction in finding one much closer to home.

Arrived at Ft DeSoto Park by 9:30 and headed first to the East Beach turn-around.  Here found a low tide, but the birds were thin due to para-sailing activity. Mostly saw Sanderlings, Least Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, Short-billed Dowitchers and Laughing Gulls.

A lurking Great Blue Heron in wait at the water feature
 for a small bird to snag.
Next onto the water feature behind the ranger's residence. Folks leaving the site report disappointing results, but had seen Prothonotary warbler, yellow-throated warbler, summer tanager and an early cedar waxwing. But we saw even less. Just Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers and a lurking Great Blue Heron.

Next we returned to the East Woods seeking a pair of reported Great Horned Owls. After much searching we could only hear a distance call of the owl. Again only Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers and Ospreys were seen.
A crew seen at North Woods grinding the tree stumps

Then we moved onto the North Woods and beach. Here we found that almost the entire grove of Australian pines had been removed. This was very disappointing as so much needed shade was gone as were the birds that used use these trees, including the Great Horned Owls that had been nesting in them.

And the north beach had also suffered as most of the sand was gone. We did have some birds in a back water including many Willets, Marble Godwits, Dowitchers and Foster's Terns. The lagoon was active with hundreds of Black Skimmers and Sandwich Terns. Also present were more Willets, Godwits, Dowitchers, Ruddy Turnstones, Royal Terns and few more Forster's Terns.

After lunch we checked the fishing pier were we sighted Barn, Tree and Banks Swallows, lots of Laughing Gulls, Cormorants and Brown Pelicans. Then lastly a final stop back at the water feature. The birding was now a little better than we experienced this morning. We finally had a warbler when we found a Yellow Warbler. Also seen, before rain clouds pushed us out, were a five count of Eastern Kingbirds, a few Magnificent Frigatebirds soaring over-head, a Cooper's Hawk flying low passed the fountain.  Perhaps the hawk was one of the causes for so few birds seen at this location.  Actually after over three of searching it was truly apparent that the recently seen migrants had moved on without a fresh wave to replenish the transient population.


A flotilla of Brown Pelicans

Laughing Gull

Rock Pigeons were seen using the beach
A young Sandwich Tern

Royal Tern

Snowy Plover at Siesta Key

Short-billed Dowitcher

Black-bellied Plover with breakfast

Reddish Egret
Ruddy Turnstone

Monday, September 14, 2015

Slow Start to Fall Migration

Monday September 14th

Bobolinks seen today at Harns Marsh in Lehigh Acres
Finally, after a very slow start this September with the fall bird migration, action seems to be picking up. We're just now getting nice samplings of migrants passing through Lee County. Blackburnian and Chestnut-sided Warblers are finally here. So are Bobolinks, Summer Tanagers, Eastern Wood-Pewees and Thrushes. More to come!!

White-eyed Vireo seen today at Six-Mile Cypress Preserve
White-eyed Vireo
Eastern Wood-Pewee seen today at Six-Mile Cypress Preserve
Barred Owl seen today at the Grand Father tree at Six-Mile Cypress Preserve