Thursday, 27 January 2011

Last Full Day in Florida...

Sadly, it was our final day today and we decided to return to Fort DeSoto Park. Paul once again indulged his love of fishing, Jenny and Satty took off on bikes, and I spent a few hours trying to find some birds to look at.
En route, we stopped briefly at a roadside pool that was positively covered with ducks. The majority were redheads, with around 300 present. Good numbers of lesser scaup, and smaller numbers of northern shoveler and ring-necked duck were also on the water. A few moorhen were around the edges.

In the park proper, I took the delightfully named Soldier's Hole trail. It was pretty quiet, and I spent a long time creeping around in search of nothing much. I came across a few cardinals, loads of yellow-rumped warblers and a couple of blue-grey gnatcatchers and common ground-doves but not much else. When I got a glimpses of the mangrove edges, there was little to be seen, but I did spy an anhinga, black-crowned night heron and a few egrets of various species. 
Walking back through the scrubby areas near the beach, I came across an eastern phoebe, several palm warblers and more cardinals. Several tree swallows buzzed over.
Offshore and around the beach there were the usual Forster's and royal terns (pictured), plus lots of laughing gulls and a few ring-billed gulls. Common loon, double-crested cormorant, red-breasted merganser, brown pelicans and such were all kicking around. Once again, many kestrels, loggerhead shrikes and mourning doves were utilizing the overhead wires and ospreys were all over the place.
After feeling somewhat deflated by the lack of exciting birds to be found in the bush, I decided to head back to the pools to go through the ducks more carefully, just in case a canvasback was lurking undetected.

I didn't locate any canvasbacks, but it was a treat to enjoy such large numbers of redhead. In a nearby tree, a red-bellied woodpecker showed well, hence the photo.
On another pool, there were good numbers of American coot and yet more moorhen. I scanned the edges for sora or other lurkers but couldn't find anything.
Well, I haven't exactly 'worked it', but my few days of leisurely Floridian birding have been great, and the opportunity for Jenny and I to hang out with Paul and Satty greater still. Who knows when that chance will repeat itself?


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