Sunday, 11 December 2011

Brit Birder Returns To Florida

Spent most of Saturday in transit between Victoria and Fort Myers, Florida. We arrived in darkness and were met by my brother Paul and his wife Satty, who had flown in from the UK the day before.
We headed out to Boca Grande, just to the north of Sanibel Island, where we would be staying for the week. After a few well-earned ales we hit the hay in the early hours.
This morning, I awoke and took in my immediate surroundings. The house backs onto a canal, and is flanked by mangroves. Reasonably interesting! The first bird I heard was a palm warbler, which eventually showed as it made its way through the waterside vegetation.
Within seconds an Eastern phoebe flew in and showed brilliantly, flycatching from the top of a nearby mangrove. Turkey vultures soon appeared overhead and several brown pelicans and double-crested cormorants were seen in the distance. A couple more palm warblers came by, as did a yellow-rumped warbler.

After a leisurely breakfast we strolled into 'town' - a small collection of stores and restaurants - and then on to the beach and back. Birds encountered along the way included American kestrel, Cooper's hawk, mourning dove, common ground dove, red-bellied woodpecker, common loon, willet (pictured), Forster's tern, laughing gull and ringed-billed gull.
Later we took a drive out to the nearest supermarket, passing through some great habitat en route. We saw more pelicans, cormorants, gulls and terns and such, plus added black vulture, white ibis, great-blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, tri-coloured heron, black-crowned night-heron, wood stork, osprey, common grackle and boat-tailed grackle to the trip list.
Maybe I'll get chance to get out into some really good areas for some 'real' birding in the next few days, but given that that's not the sole purpose of this pre-Christmas getaway, I may just have to take what I can get!
I do have plans to get in the Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area where there is a relatively healthy population of red-cockaded woodpecker, but whether I'll be able to locate any at this time of year is up for debate. Oh well, I can only give it a go, and hope that I bump into any of the 4 potential ticks that occur in the large preserve...!

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