Eleven Birders enjoyed perfect weather, along with very cooperative birds at the Orlando Wetlands Park on Wednesday, 2/5 and tallied 57 species. Before the trip started, Eileen, Jim and Ken looked for the Yellow-breasted Chat with no success but did manage to find a Great-crested Flycatcher! Other highlight birds were the many Purple Gallinules, 5 Black-crowned Night Herons, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, many Roseate Spoonbills on the cypress dome, Black-neck Stilts, and an amazing sight of 4 Painted Buntings in an Elm tree enjoying its seeds, a long look at a flying A. Bittern and our tram drivers Randy & Mary put us on a Peregrine Falcon to add to our take for the day!
On Thursday, the group birded Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and enjoyed another great day with 64 species seen, including the Cinnamon Teal. Some other highlights were 11 Duck species, including Hooded Mergansers, Redhead, Canvasback, and Pintail, Spotted Sandpiper, Great Black-backed Gull, White Pelicans, an abundance of Roseate Spoonbills, a pair of Magnificent Frigatebirds, and 5 Scrub Jays at the entrance of the Canaveral National Seashore and Northern Gannets over the Ocean.
We really had an interesting start at W. Gator road with the Roseate Spoonbills, and hundreds of mating Horseshoe Crabs on the shore with birds lined up along the shore also, including ~200 Sanderlings that kept showing us their murmuration skills also! We had a surprise visit from Laura Lee Thompson, who started the Space Coast Birding Festival, and she gave us a great insight into how this beach area is the most productive in Florida for the Horseshoe Crabs. Total species for the combined trips came out at 90!
Another great pair of annual trips, our 10th of leading it, with our friends from Citrus and Hernando Audubon. Jim and Eileen
Sixteen eager birders came out on a gray, overcast morning, but all were ready to see what species Apopka had in store. What beginning specie could have been more appropriate than the Gray-headed Swamphen. Birds were everywhere. I think that this year has been one of the most active. There were American Coots in all the ponds and numbered in the thousands. Anhingas, Cormorants, and Great Blue, Green, & Little Blue, Tri-colored Herons, and Snowy, Great, & Cattle Egrets. Yellow, Orange-crowned, Palm, & Yellow-rumped Warblers. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Wrens. Sharp-shinned, Red-shouldered, Red-tailed & Cooper's Hawks. Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mottled, Canvasback, Ring-necked, Black-bellied & Fulvous Whistling Ducks. Nothing like having all your ducks in a row.. The Fulvous were in great numbers as well as the Black-bellied. We watched as this juvenile Bald Eagle snatched a coot out of a pond. The American Bittern devoured a large snake and stretched his neck to get it down. Soras, Wilson Snipe and even 2 American White Pelicans. The Common Yellowthroat was happy to pose as was the Painted Bunting. The best way to make a gray day sunny. 66 species counted All photos by Fred Hileman
If it’s McKethan Lake in January or February, it will be cold. At 8:00 AM it was 29 degrees. Nonetheless, eight hardy birders went afield (and in cars). We had a great time and a couple of us took off a layer or two before it was over. The first highlight at McKethan Lake occurred right in front of us over the water near the shore at the picnic area. A mature Bald Eagle circled low and dived close to the surface several times over the same spot on the lake. After it gave up and flew to a treetop perch on the other side, a Pied-billed Grebe surfaced near that spot. Then the woods trail leading from the parking area produced again. Two Red-headed Woodpeckers were seen and one photographed and included here. This was a first by my recollection. Some other notable species seen at McKethan were Hermit Thrush, Black and White Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, and American Woodstork.
After McKethan Lake was finished seven of us traveled a few miles to Big Pine. We picked up two more Red-headed Woodpeckers. One posed at the top of a snag for a good while. In all, 40 species were tallied. Karen Bender, a new member, took the group photo. Rey Wells
Our first trip as leaders turned out to be a beautiful, partly sunny day with 20 enthusiastic birders ready for discovery. We chose to travel to three major sites where parking was available: museum, cemetery, and a nearby bottlebrush tree, but distributed maps of Cedar Key if people wanted to visit more sites on their own. Most of the birds were at the museum grounds including warblers (black-throated green, black-throated blue, Northern Parula, hooded, and Cape May), 3 species of doves, and nesting osprey. Mike spotted a pair of brown thrashers and Effie photographed a gray cheeked thrush, a first for many of us. Effie also got a shot of a dickcissel that often flocks with house sparrows, but is more common in the tall grass prairies of the midwest. Our visit to the nearby 20 foot bottlebrush tree presented many hummers, indigo buntings, orchard orioles, the first dickcissel feeding on the ground, and a clapper rail in the reeds at the end of the road. We wanted to thank Cedar Key Audubon members, Libby and Dale, who accompanied us on two pre walks and showed us some new places to observe including the spot to find a loon (at the end of the beach pier) and that great bottlebrush tree. When I returned home, I called Elaine Roche to hear what she found at the shore locations and airport strip: lesser scaup, semipalmated plover, sanderling, white pelican, royal tern, black skimmer, and an immature bald eagle. While driving past Inglis, she spotted a swallowtail kite, stopped the car, and then saw a small group of Mississippi kites. What a great find. Thanks, Elaine, for your persistence. Thanks also to our visitors from Atlanta, Vermont, and Texas and the CCAS members who helped them find those flitting warblers. Altogether we saw approximately 62 species thanks to the 20 pairs of eyes that joined us. What a great first leader trip. Thanks to you all. Fred and Carol Kirk
Eileen and I supported the smallest CCAS Bird Trip on record-based on the Wx forecast, I'm sure, no one appeared! We were quite concerned too but, would you believe, it was Blue Skies into the early afternoon and didn't start raining until 5:30!
Even though the migrants were thin, we managed to tally around 60 species. We had quite a neat late afternoon when we had a group of Hooded, Black and White, and Prothonotary Warblers in a canal full of mangroves at the Arrowhead Picnic Area. We did see a Summer Tanager and Indigo Bunting there also. We then went to the East Beach trail and Eileen spotted the young Great Horned Owl that had been reported there-the final ending to the day! For me the Highlight was seeing a nice group of A. Avocets dressed in full breeding attire! These Beauts were way across the lagoon and holding the camera in the heavy winds was a challenge! Along with the Avocets, we had several Tern species-Black Skimmers, Royal, Least, Sandwich, along with several Gull species in the protected area of the North Beach. Two other neat birds there were the Reddish Egret and several Marbled Godwits. As always, many peeps and shorebirds on the East Beach turnaround loop that were sharing it with the Kite Boarders. And it was neat seeing the Black- hooded Parakeets, Swallow-tailed Kites, M. Frigatebirds, Northern Gannets and Great-crested Flycatchers flying around.
Twenty participants enjoyed a beautiful evening for the Sunset Boat Tour, leaving the dock at Crystal River Preserve State Park. Park Volunteer and Citrus Audubon member Holly Alexander provided the group on the boat tour of the refuge with interesting history and facts while pointing out numerous Eagle and Osprey nest. Some of the nest were occupied, while a few nearby trees held mature birds we enjoyed viewing and photographing. A most wonderful evening with a stunning sunset was enjoyed by all. Kathy Lemmer
Sixteen birders had a very enjoyable and productive morning at Inglis Island
and managed to tally around 60 species! The "Bird of the Day" honor had to be split between a Summer Tanager and Prothonotary Warbler which were very cooperative.
Starting off the trip in the large open area just inside the gate, a very active male American Kestrel provided great views as it flew from tree to tree and several Yellow-throated Warblers were also flying back and forth between trees, possibly feeding a youngster which was seen inside one of the trees. Another cooperative bird was an Anhinga drying out at the Dam and seemed to enjoy showing off its "courting" turquoise eye make-up.
On Friday March 22, twenty five arrived to a beautiful morning for birding. We headed straight out to the Temple Mound at the Crystal River and climbed to the top to enjoy the wonderful view and to spot several birds. Afterward we explored both the open field and wooded area of Mullet Hole and the Crystal Cove Trail which led us again to the Crystal River. Everyone seemed to enjoy the beautiful scenery with coves, ponds and trails through the woods that this area has to offer. Kathy Lemmer Bald eagle Osprey Brown Pelican Anhinga Yellow-crowned Night Heron Great Egret Red-bellied Woodpecker Red-winged Blackbird Red-shouldered Hawk Pileated Woodpecker Common Grackle Mockingbird Cardinal Ground Dove Gray Catbird Eastern Bluebird Palm Warbler Northern Parula Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Bufflehead Chickadee Titmouse Hermit thrush TV/BV
Twenty folks joined our CCAS Trip at Potts Preserve for a rewarding and
adventurous bird walk. The group tallied 34 species, including two special appearances-a pair of Swallow-tailed Kites soaring low over the trees and several Yellow-throated Vireos along the 2 1/2 mile trek.
Also, five species of warblers were seen, including the Yellow-throated and the Black and White and the Woodpecker "Grand Slam" was achieved, with the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker heard at the boat ramp.
The bonus adventure for some was the crossing of the slightly challenging boardwalk across a very wet cypress slough!
Nine chilly birders began our annual car caravan through Half Moon Preserve. Fortunately the morning warmed up a bit, remaining brisk and sunny- perfect for lots of bird activity. We drove the main road stopping occasionally along the way. At McKinney Rd we began our walk through beautiful oak hammock to the boardwalk. Mills Creek meanders below- a very pretty sight with purple Iris in bloom, a Belted Kingfisher flying across, and the hoot of a Barred Owl in the distance. Oh, and a Wild Turkey briefly seen along the way ! The 34 species seen are posted on ebird. Eileen Riccio