Friday, April 29, 2016

Fort De Soto Park Spring Migration: Pt I

A trek to Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County is especially rewarding during migration season.


The Common Loon above (image 1) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.

Fort De Soto is a magnet for birds. In fact there have been 337 species sighted at the park and reported to eBird as of this writing. Ron Smith has noted that a Western Grebe was observed and photographed by Marvin Waas in late 1954 which was the first and last time the species was seen in Pinellas County. This sighting occurred about eight years before Fort De Soto Park opened to the public.


The sunrise above (image 2) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Brown-headed Cowbird above (image 3) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Short-billed Dowitcher above (image 4) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Least Sandpiper above (image 5) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Willet above (image 6) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Willet above (image 7) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Willet above (image 8) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Piping Plover above (image 9) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Dunlin above (image 10) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.

Tom Obrock and I made a mid April journey to Fort De Soto Park to enjoy the semi-annual migratory spectacle. We had discussed alternate venues to visit in the event Fort De Soto was quiet, but they were not necessary as there was good bird activity resulting in a full day's effort (including the four hour commute).


The Semipalmated Plover with Piping Plover above (image 11) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Semipalmated Plover above (image 12) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Black-bellied Plover above (image 13) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Forster's Tern above (image 14) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Forster's Tern above (image 15) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Nanday Parakeet above (image 16) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Nanday Parakeet above (image 17) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Nanday Parakeet above (image 18) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Nanday Parakeet above (image 19) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.

At the East Beach Turnaround there was some entertaining action as a pair of Willet seemed to be at odds with one another while a Piping Plover showed dominance over a Semipalmated Plover. While about a dozen Nanday Parakeet were observed at the entrance to the park, they would later congregate into a flock of 30 at East Beach. It was interesting to observe European Starling showing dominance over Nanday Parakeet here.


The Nanday Parakeet above (image 20) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The European Starling with Nanday Parakeet above (image 21) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The European Starling with Nanday Parakeet above (image 22) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Nanday Parakeet above (image 23) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Nanday Parakeet above (image 24) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Nanday Parakeet above (image 25) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Nanday Parakeet above (image 26) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Nanday Parakeet above (image 27) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Nanday Parakeet above (image 28) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.

A large flock of Cedar Waxwing was also active at mid-morning near the Bay Pier. They were making very quick work of the Mulberries that were in various stages of ripeness. A few warblers species were observed along the southern end of Mullet Key with a lone Hooded Warbler making a very brief appearance.


The Fish Crow above (image 29) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Black-and-white Warbler above (image 30) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Summer Tanager above (image 31) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Cedar Waxwing above (image 32) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Cedar Waxwing above (image 33) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.

Always reluctant to leave a productive area, our next stop at Fort De Soto Park would be North Beach.


The Cedar Waxwing above (image 34) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.


The Red-eyed Vireo above (image 35) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.

Please be sure to be reminded about this weekly Southwest Florida Wildlife Blog with the email gadget located at the top of the page.


The Red-eyed Vireo above (image 36) was photographed at Fort De Soto Park in April 2016.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Government Road At Alligator Alley

In late March there began eBird Florida Rare Bird Alerts from Government Road in Broward County for White-tailed Kite which is a species I have had great difficulty in observing at close range successfully.


The Common Grackle above (image 1) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

Government Road, which is more appropriately named Snake Road due to its curvaceous design, can lead one north from Alligator Alley (I-75) at mile marker 49 and the Miccosukee Service Plaza. It is this road where the White-tailed Kite had been seen and reported to eBird by Steven Kaplan, Nick DeCesare, Mark Berney, Nancy Price and David Hall prior to my visit in early April. David Hall's photography of the White-tailed Kites from 3 April is nothing less than extraordinary.


The Eastern Meadowlark above (image 2) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Cattle Egret above (image 3) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Brown Thrasher above (image 4) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

Patches of fog burned off quickly after sunrise. My primary observation point (looking west) was at the tank structures on the east side of Snake Road less than a few miles from Alligator Alley. The facility handles petroleum crude oil as indicated by the Department of Transportation warning on the trucks that came and went from the site.


The Tree Swallow above (image 5) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Barn Swallow above (image 6) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Red-shouldered Hawk with prey above (image 7) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Wood Stork above (image 8) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

There had previously been speculation as to what the tanks contain. This landmark is on the opposite side of the road where the White-tailed Kites had most recently been reported. There was a significant amount of other traffic on the highway that made the environment less than ideal for observations. I was surprised by the number of vehicles passing at a much higher speed than the limit.


The Wood Stork above (image 9) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Brown Thrasher above (image 10) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Black-crowned Night-Heron above (image 11) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Black-crowned Night-Heron above (image 12) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

A pair of Swallow-tailed Kites made a flyover from west to east very late in the morning. Earlier a Northern Harrier was observed soaring at a great distance to the west. Its photograph is diagnostic. There were a number of bird calls heard that I could not identify which otherwise would have been helpful in creating a more accurate list for the morning beyond the 30 species seen.


The Eastern Meadowlark with Red-winged Blackbird above (image 13) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Eastern Meadowlark above (image 14) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Anhinga above (image 15) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Wood Stork above (image 16) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

It was rewarding to find that Eastern Meadowlark is dominant over Red-winged Blackbird. Image #2 reminds me why I will never use the lens extender again (last time, I promise). I drove as far as the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation before heading back home to yet again have White-tailed Kites elude me.


The Great Egret above (image 17) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Wood Stork above (image 18) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Swallow-tailed Kite above (image 19) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.


The Turkey Vulture above (image 20) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.

Please be sure to be reminded about this weekly Southwest Florida Wildlife Blog with the email gadget located at the top of the page.


The Swallow-tailed Kite above (image 21) was photographed at Snake Road in April 2016.