Thursday, September 21, 2017

Harn's Marsh

Thursday September 21st

Needed to get my daily birding done, but so many venues are closed to the public. Ended up
spending an hour at Harn's Marsh.

Greetings from a Boat-tailed Grackle
It has dried some and the waters are still high, but there were birds.

Had my FOS Palm Warbler and pair of Tree Swallows. A Gray-headed Swamphen heard calling, but saw no water fowl. Had some Moorhens, Sandhill Cranes, Pied-billed Grebe, Belted Kingfisher and Waders

White Ibis

A Turkey Vulture

Sandhill Crane

Little Blue Heron

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Storm

Sunday September 17th 

Not My Car
Hurricane Irma made direct contact  on SW Florida, with the eye of the storm passing right through my neighborhood. The resulting damage in our communities came from flooding, storm surge and high winds. It could have been far worse if Irma hadn't lost strength as it made landfall. The once powerful catagory 5 storm had slowed to a still strong catagory 3.

After the winds had died down we could assess our troubles. The scope of Irma's path of destruction through Florida left millions of people without electrical power.  Ours was out for a week. No air conditioning, no not water, no hot food, no laundry, very limited communications., Limited access to groceries, water and fuel. So many folks lost homes and business, moreso from the flooding, than from the wind. We never lost our water service, but without electrical power or a generator, those on private wells did not fare as well. Another problem seen with the lose of power was that the waste water lift stations were unable to pump waste water to the WW plants and the backing up of the sewer lines was an added issue. But everyday the problems were being chiseled away and normalcy has been returning. The thousands of residents that fled out of the path of the storm are returning as well.

Birding venues, such as Six-Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, are closed because of the extreme damage. So many trees were stripped of foliage, limbs ripped away and mighty trees have toppled. The beach venues opened more quickly after the flooded abated. But the timing of the damage to  birding migrant hotspots is almost as frustrating as having been thrown off the electrical grid.

Was able to check out Bunche Beach shortly after the storm and found many of our expected species. Had hoped that a pelagic species or two were to seen. Maybe next time.

Our Juvenile Wilson's Phalarope
Photo courtesy of Dave McQuade

One very nice surprise was finding a juvenile Wilson's Phalarope in a flooded field off of Alico Road in San Carlos Park. This is a very rare find in Lee County

Ruddy Turnstone Seen At Bunche Beach
The Mute Swans at Coconut Point Mall in Estero survived the storm

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Lull Before The Storm

Friday September 8th

Hurricane Irma is bearing down on Florida. This is totally up-ending life in
Foster's Tern
paradise. Runs on gas and hurricane supplies. Even saw a long line of cars for folks trying to drop their pets off for boarding. Businesses are closed, storm shutters and plywood are decorating homes everywhere and residents are heading north out of the state by the thousands.  So with all of this action going on, I went birding.

Spent two hours at Bunche Beach.  Tried Six-mile Cypress Slough Preserve first but it was closed.

Black-bellied Plover

The beach was empty of people, just a few strollers. Ran into Meg Rousher though. The tide was low, the water was calm and lots of birds were present. Started with a FOS Peregrine Falcon flying by. Lots of wading birds - Reddish Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, Yellow-crowned Night-herons, White Ibis, Snowy and Greater Egrets, Tri-colored, little Blue and Great Blue Herons. Add to this Least, Forster's, Caspian and Sandwich Terns, Brown Pelicans, Cormorants, Laughing Gulls, Mottled Ducks, a Belted Kingbird, Piping, Semipalmated Wilson's and Black-bellied Plovers, Western, Spotted and Least Sandpipers, Willets, Short-billed Dowitchers Marbled Godwits and Sanderlings.

What will happen to them?


A Banded Piping Plover

Least Sandpiper

Western Sandpiper

A Young Least Tern

This pair of Black-bellied Plover were inseparable

Reddish Egret

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Carlos Point

Tuesday September 2nd

Reddish Egret
While Hurricane Harvey was tearing up Texas, we had our own rain soaking event. Much of the low lying areas in Cape Coral and Island Park have been flooded for days. The flooding has shut down access to Six-mile Cypress Slough, which is are local hot spot to encounter fall migrants. Other local sights to watch is include Rotary Park in cape Coral and Kiwanis Park in Port Charlotte

One effect of recent storm action

Was able to access the beach though and I chose to visit Carlos Point on Ft Myers Beach which did offer some good birding.  Didn't see any of the Least Terns and Black Skimmers that had been using Carlos Point as a nesting colony.  But did encounter lots of American Oystercatchers, a Whimbrel, Marbled Godwits, Willets, Black Bellied Plovers, Wilson's Plovers, Semipalmated Plovers, Sanderlings, Snowy Plovers  and Western Sandpipers


Fosters Tern

Black Bellied Plover

American Oystercatcher


A Spider Crab washed up on the beach.
Note the fly checking it out

Snowy Plover

Royal Tern


Marbled Godwit

Whimbrel and a Sanderling