|Great Horned Owl|
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The End of the Trip
The last two days of our epic Florida trip (2/1 and 2/2) were used to add to the year list and nail down some lifers. On 2/1 we birded around Fort De Soto. A Great Horned Owl has built a nest low in a pine and was a crowd pleaser.
We had a nice selection of shorebirds but most were far out due to tide conditions. Still, we managed to find a Marbled Godwit and a couple American Oystercatchers. They were too far for photographs, although I have a few Oystercatcher photos on my phone I may upload later.
On our way out of the park, we scored some Nanday Parakeets, recent additions to the ABA checklist. The picture isn’t great as they were along a busy road and stopping for more than a few minutes could have been detrimental.
We drove over to Edward Medard Park where Snail Kites recently bred. No Snail Kites could be found, but near the parking area we had Blue-headed and White-eyed Vireo.
Our final stop before heading toward Tallahassee was near Hernando Beach. This spot contains most of, if not all of the remaining “countable” Budgerigar population. I fully realize this species may soon be subtracted from the ABA List, but we were close enough that it would be silly not to try. We found 8 birds sitting communally in a homeowners front yard.
On 2/2 we birded St. Marks NWR hoping for more ducks and perhaps a Snow Goose. It was here we had our first Carolina Chickadees of the trip. They were singing away, a much different song than Black-capped. Also, the Black-capped Chickadee range doesn’t extend at all into Florida, to help avoid confusion.
Northern Harriers were busy hunting the marshes. This one landed and made some harsh calls, frightening the poor coots nearby.
There were large blackbird flocks around the refuge, but we failed to find any Rusty Blackbirds that had been reported. Red-winged Blackbirds were singing, though.
We found a loaded duck flock containing a few new species for the trip. American Wigeon, Canvasback and Northern Shoveler all winter at the refuge.
It was time to drop my dad off at the Tallahassee Airport, thus ending another epic adventure. While I didn’t have to move in for a while yet, I ventured over to a private residence allowing birders to view their female Broad-billed Hummingbird. Not too long after I arrived, the bird made an appearance.
After such a long, successful birding trip with my dad (170+ species!), it was nice to move into my new home at Tall Timbers Research Station and relax. I’ll soon be caught up with all my birding photos from this year. There is still so much to post about! Keep checking back.
Posted by David Pavlik at 10:20 AM