Friday, February 22, 2019

Looking For Flycatchers

Friday February 22nd

A Young Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Elected to drive out to Hendry County this morning in pursuit of wintering flycatchers. Was looking for Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Western Kingbirds.  The known, more local, locations for finding these birds haven't been very fruitful this year.  But the spot near STA-5, SR-835 and Deer Fence  Canal Road in Hendry County, has been reliable.

So I routed a trip through Lehigh Acres, Felda, Immokalee, Deer Fence Canal Road, Clewiston, LaBelle and home. First stop was the Red-headed Woodpecker site at Wellington Ave, in Lehigh for Bobwhite (FOS), Red-headed Woodpecker and White-winged Dove. Then out to Church Road in Felda.

Western Kingbird

Savannah Sparrow
Just before reaching Church Road along SR-82, had to stop to check out the American White Pelicans sitting on the mud flats at a road side pond. Was more interested the flock of terns sitting out there with the pelicans. They all turned out to Royal Terns.  

Church Road, in Felda,  was very interesting today as Blue Grosbeaks, Mockingbirds, American Goldfinch, Cardinals, American Kestrels and Savannah Sparrows were sunning themselves atop the pepper bushes, along a side road.. No Crested Caracaras seen on this stretch of road, but the flycatcher pasture did host a young Scissor-tail Flycatcher and a lone Western Kingbird, along with a large flock of  Wild Turkeys. Surprised to find the flycatchers at this spot today, as this location had become less reliable this winter
Probably a Krider's Red-tailed Hawk
Probably a Krider's Red-tailed Hawk
From Felda, proceeded out toward the Deer Fence Canal area. On the drive over, several Crested Caracaras were seen along with Red-shouldered Hawks, American Kestrels, Belted Kingfishes, Sandhill Cranes, a Snail Kite, Limpkins and Eastern Meadowlarks.  

At the Flycatcher Site, I didn't spot any today. 

Now heading north, passing by cattle pastures, orange groves and sugar cane fields toward Clewiston, made a side trip down Blumberg Road. Blumberg Road is the access to the northern entrance of STA-5.  Had no plans to go that far, but this can usually, in winter, be a good location for raptors. So I did see patrolling Northern Harriers, more American Kestrels and a pair of Red-tailed Hawks.  One of which is probably the Kriders race of the Eastern red-tailed Hawk subspecies. Will continue doing research on exactly what this is.  Don't see many of them in Florida. 

A young Herring Gull

One final stop for the day is at the Levee Park in Clewiston. Lots of Brown-headed Cowbirds, Laughing Gulls, Ring-billed Gulls and a young Herring Gull

Misses today included American Robins, neither of the whistling ducks, and any Swallow-tailed Kites.

Todays Bird List ( 60 ) - Mottled Duck, Northern Bobwhite, Wild Turkey, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, 

Blue Grosbeak
Common Ground Dove, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Limpkin, Sandhill Crane,  Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Royal Tern, Wood Stork,  Anhinga, Double-crested Cormorant, American White Pelican, Brown pelican, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Tri-colored Heron, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Snail Kite, Northern Harrier,  Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Crested Caracara, Eastern Phoebe, western Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, Fish Crow, Tree Swallow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, American Goldfinch, Savannah Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, eastern Meadowlark, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Cardinal and Blue Grosbeak.

Red-shouldered Hawk

White-winged Dove

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Western Kingbird

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Florida Brown Water Snakes

Saturday February 2nd

Florida Brown Water Snake
 Arrived about 7:30 this morning at Harns Marsh in Lehigh look for interesting birds. Walked the four plus miles around the perimeter of the main cell, collecting counts for my monthly  birding report for the Lee County Bird Patrol, a volunteer group of birders working for Lee County Parks and Recs.

The water levels had risen significantly due to recent rains. Any changes in water levels does effect what you will see at the marsh. Started out this morning  with the call of a Green Heron. His bird has been doing a cackle that is very similar to a King Rail. The rail, sora, least bittern, hooded mergansers and purple gallinule were not seen or heard today but I did manage a long list.

 Ron Bishop, who I ran into toward the conclusion of the walk, put me onto an American Bittern. He also had spotted a nest of Florida Brown Snakes sunning on the stone works at the water control works south of the parking area. The species is new to me but Ron correctly identified the water snakes in the field

Nesting Sandhill Crane

Lots of Sandhill Cranes.  One flock of these birds were being quite fussy with each others.  The feathers were actually flying. At least two Sandhill nests were seen.  

Perhaps the higher water level, creating more open water in the marsh, was attractive to the pair of Snail Kites seen. Dark-phased Short-tailed Kites were soaring above Harns today as well.

Male Snail Kite
Ring-necked, Muscovy and Mottled Ducks were seen, plus Blue winged Teal, Common Gallinules, American Coots, Limpkins, Swamphens, Anhingas and a few White & Glossy Ibis. The usual Waders were here - Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, Great Egrets, a couple of Snowy Egrets, Cattle Egrets and Tricolored Herons

Loggerhead Shrike

Glossy Ibis

Tricolored Heron

American Coot

Sandhill Crane

Great Egret

Eastern Phoebe