Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Snow Geese in Ridgetown

Last Thursday (March 15th) I drove up to Ridgetown SL to check out some reported Geese that included Greater White Fronted & Snow Geese. There were probably about12 Snow Geese. I almost did not see these guys as they were in the absolute farthest corner of the SL. Upon seeing white birds, I was almost positive they were Swans, but sure enough, black primary wing extensions were seen and a new lifer was added.

Killdeer 5
Northern Shoveler 10
Ring necked Duck 10
Bufflehead  10
Canvasback 30
Redhead  30
Great Blue Heron 1
Horned Lark 2
Ring billed Gulls 20
Canada Geese 100

Life list math ... Does one good goose negate a bad one?
A while back, I saw a Barnacal Goose at Jack Miners, not in a cage, but just free roaming with some Canada Geese, it was cool to see, (and to try and find out the name of this unknown bird at the time). But due to a recent Ontbirds email by A.W.  about the validity of the recently seen Smew, I feel I will trade in the Snow Geese for the Barnacal Goose that was seen a while back. So, my life list is at 295, and the Barnacle Goose will be replaced with the Snow Goose.

Youtube, Cornell & Warblers
I also subscribe to Cornell's Youtube Channel, and could not help but to share (via embedding) this amazing video on viewing warblers.

Good Birding,

PS: Did you know that it is Groundwater Awareness Week? Read more at this link:

Lagoon Directions(from Blake Mann): Ridgetown is about 30 minutes east of Chatham. Exit 401
at Rd. 21 (#109) and head south. From the main corner in Ridgetown at Erie
St. and Main St., follow Erie St. north about 1.5 km to Mitton Line/Palmer
St. Turn left onto Mitton Line and go past fertilizer plant. Lagoons are
on the south (left) side and you will see a viewing stand. Do not enter
beyond fence.
You can also view the north ponds by driving up the laneway on the north side of Mitton and around the buildings.

Monday, March 19, 2012

More Florida March Break Birding...

I had been calling this bird a "crested caraca" instead of its proper name: "Crested Caracara" (kara-kara). I find I mis-pronounce many birds until someone corrects me out in the field. This phenomenon happened with Pileated Woodpeckers King Eider, and Surf Scoters.
Vierra Wetlands

Just days before I had planned to visit Vierra Wetlands, I had read an incredible posting from a Florida blogger named Scott Simmons about his recent trip to Vierra Wetlands. Sadly, my day was nowhere near as amazing as his. It had rained all day on my second day in Florida and the following day, the wetlands were only open to foot traffic, so I was not able to really drive the dykes as I was wishing to do. Besides seeing Least and American Bitterns, Scott had even seen a Grey Kingbird!

I must have seen 50+ species at Vierra Wetlands. Too many to list, but Loggerhead Shrike, Bald Eagle, and Glossy Ibis were noteworthy finds. I thought I saw a Black necked Stilt (at a great distance) but I think its just a Greater Yellowlegs.

Cocoa Beach Seashore
I was hoping to see a Northern Gannett, especially with some strong east winds blowing off  the ocean, but no such luck. Sandwich and Royal Terns were easily found while walking along the beach.
Note the black beak with light tip and smaller size of the Sandwich Tern

Rudy Turnstone
Brown Pelican
Royal Tern (295)
Sandwich Tern (296)

Merrit Island 

Assorted Shorebirds & Gulls
Reddish Egret
Eastern Meadowlark
Little Blue Heron

Disappointing... but I went at 6pm

Brevard Zoo

Captive Birds:
Scarlet Ibis, Maked Plover, Kingfisher (Laughing Kookaburra?)

Hal Scott Preserve
In a similar fashion to the aforementioned Blogger for Vierra, Hal Scott Preserve has a fantastic photographer on Flicker (D. Bales) who had Brown Headed Nuthatches, Bachmans' Sparrow, and Red Cockaded Woodpeckers at this location. Again, I had no such luck, but literally walked about for 30 minutes, not getting too far from the parking lot. A nice find at least was a Yellow Throated Warbler.
Yellow Rumped Warbler
Yellow throated Warbler
Pine Warbler
Eastern Bluebirds
Northern Cardinal
Shingle Creek trail (mid-Orlando)
I drove out at 7am to see this local trail on my last day in Orlando. A Florida birding Listserve posting mentioned Swallow-tailed Kites just days before I walked this trail, but the only raptors I saw were Red-shouldered Hawks.

Eastern Phoebe
Tufted Titmouse
Downy Woodpecker
Carolina Wren
Northern Mockingbird
Palm Warbler
Yellow bellied Sapsucker
White Ibis
Red shouldered Hawk
Wood stork
Cedar Waxwings

I think its been warmer in Windsor over the last week than in Florida. This is amazing weather. The fruit tries are blossoming in March!

Good Birding,

Life list Summary:
Crested Caracara (294)
Royal Tern (295)
Sandwich Tern (296)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vermilion Flycatcher at Orlando Wetlands

Vermillion Flycatcher
About two weeks before departing for a long-planned Florida trip, I had read on the Florida birding listserve that a Vermilion Flycatcher had been spotted at a place called Orlando Wetlands. I read this announcement with amazement, but caution as well, because realistically, chances were slim that it would stick around for two weeks, awaiting my arrival. Further compounding the excitement of this bird was the lack of mention on the Florida birding listserve beyond its initial posting. Sure enough though, after our plane landed in Orlando, and we headed due East to Cocoa Beach, I requested to my wife that we stop and check it out (I pre-programmed the address into our GPS) and to my utter amazement, it was still there!
Late Limpkin
While at Orlando Wetlands, I saw many other species, but I focus mainly on personal rarities. Blue Winged Teal, Common Moorehen, White Ibis, American Coot were very common and seen everywhere. Near the feeders, I swore I saw a red-ish colourful bird that could have been a Painted Bunting, but I didn't have time to follow up on it.

This common Florida bird eluded me on two prior trips.

Black bellied Whistling Duck
Sandhill Crane
Glossy Ibis... Takeoff

Common Ground-Dove - Blurry... arrrghh
It's good to be home. Florida is so beautiful, but home is where the heart is. It was cool to hear the distant call of Killdeer, and later hearing the chorus of frogs while stopping the in-laws in Windsor. Spring is here!

Good birding,

Lifer summary:
Black bellied whistling Duck - 292
Vermilion Flycatcher - 293


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