Friday, August 18, 2017

Back to the Ag Fields

Lesser Yellowlegs and Black Tern

Friday August 17th

Least Sandpiper

Returned yesterday to the Everglades Ag Fields. Again the most productive flooded area was at Browns Farm Road. Present here were several Black Terns, lots of Black-necked Stilts, Pectoral Sandpipers, American Avocets, Western, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, Plus Lesser Yellowlegs, Roseate Spoonbills, lots of Wood Storks and a FOS Belted Kingfisher.

Black-necked Stilt

The nearby Six Bend Sod Farm was much more active than on my last visit. Lots of Pectoral Sandpipers and Killdeer, plus far to the back of the property were a pair of Upland Sandpipers.  Couldn't of spotted them without a scoop.

Dipped on any whistling ducks or gull-billed terns, but get fifty-eight species for the day -
Wood Stork

Mottled Duck, Wood Stork, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret , Snowy egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Limpkin, Roseate Spoonbill, Black Vulture, Snail Kite, Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, Crested Caracara, Common gallinule, Black-necked Stilt, Sandhill Crane, American Avocet, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Upland Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Laughing Gull, Black Tern, Gray kingbird, Fish Crow, Rock Pigeon, Common Ground-Dove, Mourning Dove, Eurasian collared Dove, Great Horned Owl, Common Nighthawk, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Purple Martin, Bank Swallow, Barn Swallow, Northern Mockingbird, Common Myna, Eastern Meadowlark, Red-winged Blackbird, Boat-tailed Grackle,  Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird and House Sparrow

Black-necked Stilt

Juvy Black-necked Stilt

Bank Swallow
Barn Swallow

Counted twenty-two Black Terns resting here

Black Tern

Distant look at a pair of American Avocets

Black-necked Stilt

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Common Nighthawk seen at the Ag Fields

Gray Kingbird found in Belle Glade

A poor photo of a Common Myna
seen at shopping center in Belle Glade.

Pectoral Sandpiper

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Lots of Pectorals

Sunday August 13th

Pectoral Sandpiper

Lesser Yellowlegs
Don't have to to travel very far to look for migrating shorebirds.  Still need to head over to the Ag Fields again and soon, for Upland Sandpipers or even the mega rare Ruff currently being seen. But in a nearby wet field, located along Treeline Avenue and adjacent to the Terminal Access Drive, we've had a large number of foraging Pectoral Sandpipers. Stilt Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Plovers, Western and Least Sandpipers have also been present.

A scope can be very useful here.

Parking at this location can be a problem, as there are few spots to safely pull over. Avoid using the median as the property is adjacent to the Ft Myers International Airport it is closely monitored by the Port Authority Police. You will be ticketed.

A Lesser Yellowlegs

Semipalmated Plover

Western Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Stilt Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Friday, August 4, 2017

Piping Plovers Have Returned

Friday August 4th

Piping Plover

Yesterday I headed out to Bunche Beach on a low tide to look for Piping Plovers. They should be returning here from there breeding grounds in the Mid-West. The plovers who winter in our area have been tracked from nesting areas around Lake Michigan and from along the Missouri River, leaving here in May and returning in early August.

Not a great many shore birds were present on the mud flats, but a nice variety. Did find my FOS Piping Plovers. 

Other Birds of the Day

Red Knot

Snowy Plover

Western Sandpiper

Wilson's Plover

Short-billed Dowitcher

Spotted Sandpiper

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Ag Fields

Monday July 31st

Gull-billed Tern
Today, Tropical Storm Emily has formed in the Gulf and is dumping rain on us. But yesterday I drove out to the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Belle Glade in Palm Beach County. The Ag Fields is an area south of Lake Okeechobee known for growing sugar cane, rice and sod farms. In late Fall the Ag Fields hosts migrating shore birds, terns, swallows and grass peeps.

The purposeful flooding of finished cane fields to kill off the nematodes that damage the sugar cane,  can be a mecca for these migrating birds. It is early yet to make these trips to the area, but there were birds to be seen.  Not a lot of birds yet though. Give it a couple of weeks.
Pectoral Sandpiper

What was found, at the only flooded fields encountered, at the junction of Rt 880 and Browns Farm Road, were several family groups of Black-necked Stilts, several Gull-billed Terns, Least Terns, Lesser Yellowlegs, Dowitchers (not sure if they were short-billed or long-billed), Pectoral, Spotted and Least Sandpipers, Killdeer and a few Laughing Gulls. It shouldn't be long till numbers  and variety increase. Will be looking for Black Terns, White Pelicans, Wilson's Phalaropes, Stilt Sandpipers and Avocets and tons of waders.
Gull-billed Tern

The sod fields were devoid of activity.  The Upland Sandpipers have been here this early in the past, but they'll probably show by mid-August.

Other interesting sightings on the day included numbers of Barn Swallows with a few Cliff and Bank Swallows, Purple Martins, a lone Tree Swallow, Bobwhites, Meadowlarks, Common Nighthawks and Brown-headed Cowbirds.

Best sighting of the day was a Barn Owl flying along Boles Canal, and the most interesting sighting was spotting a pair of Common Mynas at the parking lot at the BK restaurant in Belle Glade.

Hopeful, Ill be able to return in two or three weeks.

Barn Swallow

Spotted Sandpiper

Black-necked Stilt

Black-necked Stilt Chick

Northern Bobwhite

A very young Red-tailed Hawk

A young Red-shouldered Hawk

Least Tern

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tropical Kingbird

Sunday July 23rd

Tropical Kingbird in Sarasota
Today I ran up to Sarasota to look for the breeding Tropical Kingbird. As in past years it was located behind the shops at St Armands Circle.

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks
are becoming quite common

But my first stop of the day was at the Celery Fields off of Fruitville Road in Sarasota.  Arrived at dawn.  Found the expected species including Barn Swallows, Purple Gallinules, Black-belled Whistling-Ducks, Purple Martins, Nanday Parakeets and Red-shouldered Hawks.

Then onto St Armands Circle. Started out with large flock of foraging Fish Crows. Gray Kingbirds were calling and after some searching I did locate the Tropical Kingbird.  Other sightings included Chimney Swifts, Eurasian-collared Doves and House Finch.

Tropical Kingbird

Gray Kingbird

House Finch

Went onto check the beach (access #5) on Siesta Key, but not much to really see there. So I added an extra stop to head north to Anna Maria Island to look for any Blue-Crowned Parakeets.  Which I did find. A small flock was observed in the parking lot of the Manatee County Beach Park.

Blue-crowned Parakeet

Least Sandpiper