Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Apex of Spring Migration

Thursday April 25th

Chestnut-sided Warbler
Spring migration is in full swing these days and this third week of April is usually the apex of activity. So many interesting birds are stopping over for rest on Sanibel, with the Sanibel Lighthouse being our Spring Migration Hot Spot. 

Northern Parula and a Summer Tanager
at the Sanibel Lighthouse

Many of our local birders had wisely purchased annual parking passes from the Town of Sanibel, to save money, as we have had such great birding activity at the lighthouse, that parking fees at the lighthouse add up quickly as we extend our time enjoying the day.  At $5.00 an hour the fees add up quickly.. And you will be ticketed with a hefty fine if you overstay your time. Not so long ago the parking was $2.00 hour, 

Great Crested Flycatcher at Rotary Park

Hooded Warbler
Sanibel Lighthouse, Sanibel Island - April 2019

Baltimore Oriole 

Bronzed Cowbird 
Have had a couple bronzed cowbird hanging around the neighborhood. 

Common Nighthawk
Was observed at the Sanibel Lighthouse

A flock of Orchard Orioles spent some time in this Black Olive Tree on Sanibel Island
Indigo Buntings are recharging on figs

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Sanibel Lighthouse

Monday April 22nd
Cerulean Warblers are quite uncommon in our corner of Florida

Several Eastern Wood-Pewees were resting up before heading north
 on the next leg of their migration

Today marked the third day of outstanding birding at the Sanibel Lighthouse since a strong cold front followed by days unfavorable wind patterns brought in a bonanza.

I personally missed experiencing Saturday and Sunday due to work, but came straight out here following my overnight shift today. Had a great day birding with friends and spotting lots of interesting species. Added eleven new-for-the-years bird species and could have added many more if I could have hung out a few more hours. Highlights included Cerulean, Prothonotary, Yellow, Cape May, Hooded, American Redstarts and, Tennessee Warblers,  plus Scarlet Tanagers,, Eastern Kingbird,  tons of Red-eyed Videos, Yellow-throated Vireo, Gray-cheeked and Wood Thrush, Eastern Wood-Pewees and Indigo Buntings.

Another look at the
 male Cerulean Warbler

Hungry birds, working to recharge their energy so to be able to complete their long trip north, are moving around everywhere. This kind of variety is not to be taken for granted. but for now we can have a bit of fun. All told, around 28 species of warbler have spotted these past three days.  Add to that are seven species of Vireos, six species of Flycatcher, five species of Swallows, four species of thrushes plus two species each of Tanagers, Grosbeaks, Buntings, Cuckoos and Orioles. We can also add Dickcissels, Merlin, Least Terns and Northern Gannets. 

Scarlet Tanager feasting on Figs. 

Male Yellow Warbler also ding on figs
Lots of our friends were on hand here to enjoy this exceptional bounty. So many species that don't normally pass our way were visiting us  these past few days.  They wont be staying for very long, so we had to try our best to be on hand.  But it can get bit crowded at time, 

I was taking a sit down at the picnic tables near the lighthouse with master birder Vince 
McGrath and Walter Winton to get away from the crowds. Well, up popped the Cerulean Warbler in a nearby shrub and gave us a nice show for about 15 minutes. We had seen it earlier, but now it was showing well for the camera. A beautiful Yellow Warbler came in to join the show, As did a hawking Eastern Wood-Pewee, and a patrolling Prothonotary Warbler partnership with  a Cape May Warbler.  It was now time for me to go home, but I certainly will be back very soon.

This Yellow Warbler was putting on a show

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Six-mile Cypress Slough Owls

Saturday, March 30th

Six-mile Cypress Slough Preserve is a very popular place for folks to enjoy the  atmosphere of a Florida cypress swamp. This time of year, thousands of vacationing  families have joined our seasonal residents to be a part of Spring Training.  Both the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox train here and so many folks travel south to enjoy the games. Its common to see families on Six-mile's boardwalk, dressed in their teams regalia as they spend time looking for alligators and egrets before game time. So the parking lot fills fast and the boardwalk can get crowded. So its best to arrive early.

Barred Owl taking a rest atop of a cypress knee

I did arrive early because I also wanted to see if a screech-owl could be seen or heard, in or about the owl box located in the parking lot.  Its being seen there lately, sticking its head out. But today I didn't spot it.  But much better was the Barred Owl. 

 Currently, as it happened last year, as section of the boardwalk, between Pop Ash Pond and Otter Pond are closed due to a pair of Barred Owls nesting just a feet off the boardwalk. 

One of barred owls responsible for the disruption made an appearance as it sat atop a cypress knee just a few away over at Pop Ash Pond. It remained at its post for quite awhile, till finally a red-shouldered hawk began harassing it.

A pair of wood ducks would also make appearance,  coming into roost nearby.   A dark-phased Short-tailed Hawk was also seen and heard calling nearby.

A pair of Great Blue Herons nesting at Wood Duck Pond
Great Egrets, Anhingas and Great Blue Herons are nesting.  A pair of Great Blue Herons are tending to nesting duties near the Wood Duck overlook. Great Egrets and Anhingas are nesting in a rookery on Gator Pond. 

A few warbler Were present in the parking lot. Not unusual to have some of your birding in .  Ruth Parks and A couple of her friends had found a mixed flock in the parking lot. Tufted Titmice, prairie warbler, blank and white warbler, a Black-throated Green Warbler, Pine Warbler, Northern Parulas, Downy Woodpeckers and a possible black-throated blue warbler. Meg Reiser reported hearing a worm-eating warbler near the cross-over.  

Am looking forward to spring migration to heat up.