What a fantastic morning.!!!! Birds, birds, birds and more birds. Many species of Herons, Egrets, Gulls, Terns, Doves,Woodpeckers, Eastern & Gray Kingbirds, Vireos, Purple Martins, Swallows,13 species of Warbler including Black-throated Green, Prairie, , Blackpoll, Chestnut-sided, Cerulean, Tennessee, Northern Waterthrush, Summer & Scarlet Tanagers, Blue & Red-breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Oriole, Buntings and more. Did we have birds? Well, yes we did. The Great Horned Owl chicks along with a parent posed for our cameras. We even heard a Chuck-Wills-Widow calling. Total species for the group of twenty participants was a whopping 90.. The entire list can be seen on this ebird link.
Just a quick edit to Fred's post above. We had such a large group that we split off several times, and thus some of us saw birds that others didn't, even when we were all in the same spot! After combining the checklists, we ended the day with a WHOPPING 101 Species, which is the highest count we have had on a field trip since we started using eBird to track them, and a total of 18 Warbler species! The combined checklist can be see at this LINK. What an amazing day birding!
It was a great time, and a beautiful day for birding, in the Citrus Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest on Saturday! I was joined by four out of state birders and two birders from Hernando Audubon. We began the morning at Red-cockaded Woodpecker Cluster #9 where we had a great show from six Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, a singing Summer Tanager, and a Bachman's Sparrow who was taking a dew bath not more than three feet in front of us. After spending over an hour at this site, we headed to Stage Pond. The highlight for all at this spot was undoubtedly the family of Sandhill Cranes. Watching the baby stumbling through the reeds trying to keep up with its parents gave everyone in the group a few laughs. Next up was the Holder Mine area with highlights including an up close view of a pair of Swallow-tailed Kites and an unusual sighting, for this site, of four Wood Ducks. Next was the forest road next to the landfill where three Florida Scrub Jays made a brief appearance, and Eagles, Gulls, Vultures and other birds were rummaging through the trash. After the landfill, The Mansfield Pond area was next. This site gave great views of a singing Acadian Flycatcher and a Hairy Woodpecker, both of which are unusual sightings in this area, and an early Magnolia Warbler . The day was ended with a total of 57 species. Follow this LINK to see the complete checklist for the day.
On Saturday 01/17/14, we enjoyed a beautiful morning of birding along the Withlacoochee State Forest's scrub restoration area, which included a great view overlooking the Citrus County Landfill. There were at least seventeen Bald Eagles, which included various stages of plumage from juvenile to adult. Unfortunately, we missed the family of Florida Scrub Jays that live here, possibly due to hunters that were in the area before the trip begun. Other highlights of the morning were a Northern Bob-white, and great views of Herring Gulls in various plumage. The complete checklist can be viewed HERE.
Thanks to all our volunteers this year, we had another successful Christmas Bird Count!
Preliminary results show 142 count day species, 3 count week additions, 3 count day species whose observations need verification to be included in the count, and 4 species that are questionable but requests for additional information have been sent out. That gives us a possible total 152 species and a total count of 16,594 birds.
This year’s count was held three weeks earlier than last year so comparing results directly may not be as accurate as we would like it to be. Total birds observed was down by 1447 individuals. We missed 11 count day species, but added 12 new species.