Monday, November 30, 2015

Ponce de Leon City Park- Punta Gorda, Florida.

Monday, November 30th

Drove the forty-five minutes north up to Punta Gorda in Charlotte, County to look for wintering ducks.  Primarily for Hooded Mergansers, Black Scoters and Common Loons. Not much was seen till checking along the Peace River at Ponce de Leon City Park.

Didn't see any scaups, scoters or loons, but saw a count of seventeen Hooded Mergansers, a pair of Horned Grebes, a fly-by pair of Buffleheads. Ring-billed Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Great Blue Heron, Spotted Sandpipers, Double-crested Cormorants and Forster's Terns

Also located at this park is the

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Estero Preserve State Park - Winkler Point

Sunday, November 15th

Black-bellied Plover
Arrived at about 8 AM. Some good reports have been coming out about this venue, however it can be challenging to hike in here. Lots of mud, standing water and biting insects. I didn't identify any of the marsh wrens, sedge wrens, nelson's sparrows, saltmarsh sparrows or clapper rails, but did see large numbers of American Avocets, Black-bellied Plovers, American Wigeons and an American Bittern. Least Sandpiper, American Robins, some Flickers and lots of Palm & Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Lesser Yellowlegs

American Avocet
Northern Flicker

Loggerhead Shrike

A Visit to the Celery Fields and Big Cypress

Tuesday, November 17

Today, with Bob Pelkey behind the wheel, we had planned a stop at the Celery Fields in Sarasota. Then the reports came out about the Mountain Bluebird being seen at the Oasis Visitor Center at Big Cypress Preserve. So a stop was planned for there as well.

Mountain Bluebird

We arrived in early afternoon and easily spotted the Mountain Bluebird. It was sitting on its spot on a fence near the parking lot. Very unusual to have this western bird in the Everglades. The bird is reported to be a juvenile female and is a lifer for me. Hasn't been reported here since about the 20th.

Some other species seen at the visitor center.

American Alligator

Tricolored Heron

Great Blue Heron

Snowy Egret

Great Egret

American Crow

The Celery Fields - Sarasota

Bob and I arrived at dawn and spent the morning mostly around the south cell. Soras could be heard calling and Marsh Wrens heard babbling. Least Bittern was hiding in the flag weed and Purple Gallinule were active as well. Rosette Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis and Wood Storks were flying over head. Limpkins were calling and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were just hanging around. Calling Nanday Parakeets and a flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds too.
Loggerhead Shrike

Savannah Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow


Marsh Wren

From here traveled about a mile up Palmer Road to Palmer Lake were we added Northern Shovelers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Glossy Ibis, Laughing Gulls, Forster's Terns Long-billed Dowitchers and a Crested Caracara


Monday, November 9th

Having never visited this part of the U.S. before, I hadn't ever seen any Javelinas. This family group came into the bird feeding station at Hugh Ramsey Park, during quite periods to feed on spilled seed.


Other creatures would visit the feeders too including this Fox Squirrel and Cottontail Rabbits
Fox Squirrel

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Trip Report - RGVBF - Hugh Ramsey Park

Monday, November 9th
Day 6

Curved-billed Thrush
Hugh Ramsey Park - Harlingen

Before leaving Harlingen, Texas today, stopped at Hugh Ramsey Park for a few pictures.

A Javalina or Collared Peccary
Buff-bellied Hummingbird

White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee

Green Jay

White-winged Dove

Black-crested Titmouse

Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler

Plain Chachalaca
Great-tailed Grackle

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Trip Report - RGVBF - Sabal Palms Sanctuary

Sunday, November 8th
Day 5 
Green Jay

Sabal Palms Sanctuary, Brownsville, Texas

Sabal Palm Feeder Webcam
Sabal Palm Sanctuary 
Photos of Sabal Palm Grove

The restored 1892 Rabb Plantation House,
now Center for the Sanctuary

Today's field trip wraps-up my activities as a part of the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival. I had looked forward to today, as I had been following the feeding station webcam at Sabal Palm for months prior to my visit. Green Jays, White-tipped Doves and Black-crested Titmice were frequent visitors. Golden-fronted Woodpecker, White-winged Doves and Mourning Doves as well. More interesting were spotting a Clay-colored Thrush, Hooded Oriole and suspected Olive Sparrows. 

An interesting visitor to Sabal Palms from the far west was a, now confirmed, Pacific-sloped Flycatcher. Our group lead by local Master Birder, David Benn and Estero Llano Grande State Park Superintendent, Javier de Leon did not see the flycatcher, but lots of good birds were seen

White-tipped Dove
First stop after visiting the Rabb Plantation House was the feeder station. The webcam was currently off-line due to a resent lightening strike, but we got the see the White-tipped Doves, Green Jays a Plain Chachalaca and Black-crested Titmice.
Green Jay at feeders

We then walked the muddy and buggy trails and had a nice warbler day with sightings of Black-and-White, Orange-crowned, Nashville, Northern Parula Pine, Yellow-throated and Magnolia. The Magnolia was especially exciting to the local birders. In Florida we expect them in spring and fall migrations, but are uncommon in  migration through Texas. A verdin was seen by most of the group while we observed a mixed flock.  I just couldn't spot it and missed getting a lifer, but I did get to see a lifer in sightings of Olive Sparrows. 

Ruddy Duck
Other sightings included Carolina wrens, a House wren, Long-billed Thrasher, White-eyed Vireo, Couch's Kingbird Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Buff-bellied Hummingbirds, a over-flying Franklin's Gull, several Broad-winged Hawks soaring southward, a pair of Gray Hawks, Harris's Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers. We also had a large flock of Greater White-fronted Geese pass over head.

A Least Grebe

Least Grebe
A stop at a blind over-looking a pond was quite rewarding.  The high-light was watching a Pied-billed Grebe as it incapacitated a Gulf Coast Ribbon Snake and spent a long time to swallow such big prey.

Green Kingfisher
We also observed other Pied-billed Grebes, Least Grebes, a lone Ruddy Duck, a pair of Blue-winged Teal and a Green Kingfisher.

A Pied-billed Grebe consuming a ribbon snake

Dixieland Park - Harlingen

In the afternoon, I checked-out Dixieland Park in Harlingen, were interesting water fowl are sometimes reported. Found that a lot of birds could be seen along the lake within the fenced-off wastewater plant property at the back of the park.  Probably around a hundred Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were lounging on the shore. Plus we had several Laughing Gulls, Double-crested Cormorants, Rock Pigeons, American Coots, Pied-billed Grebes, Forster's Terns, a pair of American White Pelicans, an Anhinga, a Green Kingfisher, a Spotted Sandpiper and a pair of Mottled Ducks. Started with three Black-necked Stilts, then were joined by an addition two dozen more.

The park also hosted a flock of Great-tailed Grackles, a pair of Vermilion Flycatchers, a pair of calling Tropical Kingbirds, Northern Mockingbirds and a Starlings. I also watched several Black-tailed Jack Rabbits lounging in the grass behind the wastewater plant.  I hadn't see jack rabbits before and was really surprised by their large size.
Double-crested Cormorants

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Black-necked Stilt

Cormorant with a resting pelican

Today's Bird List - (58)

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Greater White-fronted Goose, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Ruddy Duck, Plain Chachalaca, Pied-billed Grebe, Least Grebe, Double-crested Cormorants, Anhinga, Great White Pelican, Turkey Vulture, Cooper's Hawk, Harris's Hawk, Gray Hawk, Broad-winged, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Black-necked Stilt, Spotted Sandpiper, Laughing Gull, Franklin's Gull, Forster's Tern, Rock Pigeon, White-tipped Dove, Mourning Dove, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Green Kingfisher, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Crested Caracara, Eastern Phoebe, Vermilion Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Tropical Kingbird, Couch's Kingbird, White-eyed Vireo, Green Jay, Black-crested Titmouse,  House Wren, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird, Long-billed Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, Eurasian Starling, Black-and-White Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Pine Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Olive Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Great-tailed Grackle