|Long Billed Curlew at Bunche Beach|
I spent the last week vacationing in Fort Myers Florida. The first few hours of my trip to Florida started with an early morning visit to Bunche Beach in Fort Myers. This little municipal preserve hosts 718 acres of natural tidal wetlands and beach [link]. I knew Bunche Beach was good, but I did not anticipate getting 3 lifers in the upcoming hour!
|Great Southern White|
|Mangrove Buckeye - Distinguished by the orange bordering of the forewing eye|
Upon arrival, I had stopped along the road and photographed a few butterfly species. Mangrove Buckeye and Great Southern White were seen. At the beach I noted many many shorebirds particularily as you walk a 100m from the main beach access point. Mainly, shorebirds seen were:
70 Western Sandpipers (lifer!)
10 Piping Plovers
2 Black Bellied Plover
7 Semipalmated Plover
1 Long billed Curlew (lifer!)
[2 Marbled Godwits *Second walk]
[2 American Oystercatchers *Second walk]
1 Redish Egret
1 Snowy Egret
1 Little Blue Heron
1 Tricoloured Heron
50 Black Skimmers
50 Royal Terns
15 Laughing Gulls
2 Brown Pelicans
1 Prairie Warbler (Life bird!)
3 Palm Warbler
1 Yellow Rumped Warbler
X Fish Crow
|Western Sandpiper - Not the best photo, but I had only taken my 55-250mm lens. Not my 400mm!!!|
I had read on a local birding listserve that Mangrove Cuckoo's were present but I did not hear or see any. I had met a few birders on the beach and asked them if Western Sandpipers were present, and they were like - Yes, they are the most abundant shorebird out there! I was all too happy to lifer that species! I started talking to another man about Bunche Beach and he mentioned some other highlights from the beach such as an overwintering Long Billed Curlew! He mentioned it was on the other end of the beach, perhaps 1km from where we were standing. Just as was about to leave, I heard the ascending call of a warbler I missed last summer in the Georgian Bay Islands.... Prairie Warbler! I pished for a minute only to realize the bird was right above me in a tree along the beach's edge!
|Prairie Warbler at Bunche Beach|
|A surprise find at Bunche Beach - A small trail from the beach edge lead me to this small pond full of Fiddler Crabs!|
|Black Skimmers & Royal Terns|
So, three life birds in the first hour of my trip. The birding gods were good to me on my first morning, but my luck would not be so great as the rest of the week continued.
Another visit later in the week to Bunche Beach resulted in views of two Marbled Godwits and two American Oystercatchers! I also had an amazing walk with my son in the low tide waters of Bunche Beach...
|Willets - attempting to mate|
I will try to limit the remainder of my trip to one more posting. Stay tuned for part two.
Western Sandpiper 339
Prairie Warbler 340
Long billed Curlew 341