Friday, July 25, 2014

A Red-necked Stint And The Cat And Mouse

The birding community was abuzz with the discovery of a Red-necked Stint at Boca Chica Key Beach by Swedish birders Viktor Nilsson-Örtman and Håkan Örtmanat this past week.


The Least Sandpiper above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.


The Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.

With a Red-necked Stint never reported to have been observed in Florida before, and the species classified as "Code 3: Rare" by the American Birding Association, I could not resist a chance to observe this bird when I was able.


The Semipalmated Plover above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.


The Willet above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.

Michael Brothers' reported sighting of the stint on Day Two was comforting that the long drive from Fort Myers on Day Three might be worthwhile. I got on the road after work and arrived at Boca Chica Key a little after 0500. I immediately found some aggressive mosquitoes as the air was still.


The Semipalmated Plover above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.


The Least Sandpiper above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.

A handful of cars began to trickle in at about 0600 when the first signs of daylight appeared in the moderately overcast sky. Word about the Red-necked Stint was certainly circulating with a news reporter met who noted birders from Ohio having made a trip to observe the stint on Day Two only to miss the species before flying back home.


The Willet above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.


The Least Sandpiper above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.

It was an unexpected treat to be looking for the stint on Day Three with Wes Biggs and Doug Weidemann near the place the bird had first been reported and seen the previous day. I thought Wes should be booked as a standup comic while waiting for the stint to make its appearance.


Wes Biggs above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.


The Northrop F-5N Tiger II 761574 aircraft (103) flown by Lt. Cmdr Dan Hannum "Blue" above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.

Boca Chica Key Beach is immediately adjacent to NAS Key West. The Naval Air Station is undergoing some grounds keeping work which did not interfere with the use of the runways.


The Northrop F-5N Tiger II 761571 aircraft (113) above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.


The Northrop F-5N Tiger II 761531 aircraft (101) above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.

The Red-necked Stint was ultimately not seen on Day Three (18 July 2014). It happened not to be observed or at least reported the next day as well. The Red-necked Stint made a reappearance on Day Five and remained through 24 July, the day before this publication. A Red-necked Stint was observed in California and another in Connecticut on 24 July 2014.


The Northrop F-5N Tiger II 761554 aircraft (106) flown by Lt. Cmdr Rob Ceravolo "Rocko" above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.


The Boeing F/A 18-F Super Hornet aircraft (256) above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.

Another sighting may come sooner than expected with a greater scrutiny of shorebirds by those now more familiar with the stint's appearance. While I enjoyed the company of Wes and Doug, I was also entertained with the NAS Key West Navy F-5 and F/A 18 aircraft making maneuvers after the runways were cleared of potentially dangerous wading birds.


The Boeing F/A 18-F Super Hornet aircraft (256) above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.


The Boeing F/A 18-F Super Hornet aircraft (134) above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.

I am grateful to Greg Clarkson for his insight into the F/A 18 prior to my research of the aircraft highlighted here. A website recommended to occupy your spare time, if you have any, is jetphotos.net.


The Boeing F/A 18-F Super Hornet aircraft (362) above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.


The Boeing F/A 18-F Super Hornet aircraft (362) above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.

It was learned through my research of the National Air Station Key West that VFC-111 flying the older F-5N aircraft are the prey of the trainees flying the VFA-106 F/A 18-F Super Hornets. There were more aircraft overhead than I was able to photograph.


The Boeing F/A 18-F Super Hornet aircraft above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.


The Boeing F/A 18-F Super Hornet aircraft (263) above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.

With the opportunity I recommended to Wes that he add a day or more to his Dry Tortugas Birding Tours. He told me that I was the first to make the request and that he would investigate the idea.


The Boeing F/A 18-F Super Hornet aircraft (215) above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.


The Boeing F/A 18-F Super Hornet aircraft (264) above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.

I regret my inability to include a photo of the stint in this article.


The Boeing F/A 18-F Super Hornet aircraft (266) above was photographed at Boca Chica Key Beach in July 2014.

3 comments:

  1. Nice photo's. I love the pictures, an d my favorite is the Willet but the shots of the iron birds are also spectacular!
    Have a nice weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The "iron" birds were the highlight of the trip, Maria. I would advise those visiting the Keys who have an interest in aviation to make Boca Chica Key a must visit venue on their itinerary. A sunrise visit is my recommendation.

      Delete
    2. It is a long trip from the Netherlands! I'll stay there en watch all kind of birds as usual ;-)

      Delete