Monday, April 15, 2013

Birding Big Day and Breeders

This past Saturday, April 13th, Andy Bankert, Craig Bateman, Matt Gould and I ran a big day in Florida. We ended the day with 195 species (196 if you count feral Mallard), which breaks the previous big day record by a full 10 species. We had some silly misses like Western Sandpiper and Northern Flicker, but also some nice surprises like White-faced Ibis and Cerulean Warbler.

I left my camera in the car for most of the route. However, while at St. Marks, we drove by the White-faced Ibis that Andy had staked out earlier in the week. I snapped a few pics to document the bird. It appears to be a juvenile with a blood-red eye.

White-faced Ibis
 Of course, we missed Yellow-breasted Chat since they weren't on territory yet. Then, today, we had multiple birds at Tall Timbers singing. I guess that is the way it goes.

There will be a much bigger, detailed write-up of the big day coming soon. It was my first big-day and everyone had a great time doing it! I'm actually pretty sad it is over.

Speaking of Tall Timbers, we still have some great wintering sparrows around that really helped our big day. Lincoln's have taken a liking to the feeding station we set up behind our bunk house. Our high count is 4 Lincoln's at the same time.

Yesterday, another visitor dropped in. This Clay-colored Sparrow is pretty snazzy looking, and a nice change from the still wintering Chipping Sparrows. It was still present today.

Clay-colored Sparrow
Almost all of the local breeders are back on territory now, except Acadian Flycatcher. I caught up with a few of them today.

Blue Grosbeak
Summer Tanager
I had mentioned Yellow-billed Cuckoos in an earlier post. They have been very vocal lately. This one posed nicely in the canopy.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Another bird that just showed up at Tall Timbers today was this Kentucky Warbler, first seen by Matt on his plot. It was singing away, making it somewhat easy to locate. This is truly a striking bird! I only wish the picture did him a little more justice.

Kentucky Warbler
I still have a few local breeders to catch up with including Chimney Swift, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Louisiana Waterthrush and Orchard Oriole to name a few. If the weather looks good, I may zip down to St. George Island this weekend to see what migrants have dropped in. There are still so many birds to photograph in Florida before I leave in a few short weeks!

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