Green Birding Southwest Volusia County, January 2017

Hey, it seems that Operation: Get Back Into Birding is off to a great start in 2017! I was able to find a Bird a Day through at least the first month, I completed the January eBird Challenge with 33 checklists, and my January green list tally, at 93, is my best ever (beating out 75 in 2012, 83 in 2013, 77 in 2014, 90 in 2015, and 65 in 2016).

Here are some of my photographic highlights from green birding around southwest Volusia in January!

Great Egret
Great Egret at Gemini Springs, 06 January 2017

Limpkin
Limpkin at Gemini Springs, 06 January 2017

Orange-crowned Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler at Gemini Springs, 06 January 2017

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron missing left foot at Lake Monroe Park, 10 January 2017

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 13 January 2017

On January 15th Arthur and I brought our kayaks to Gemini Springs on the back of our bikes and kayaked along the bayou for a few hours. We saw surprising numbers of waders. I was able to add Green Heron during the trip, and we picked up a trash bag full of garbage from the waterway.

kayaking @ Gemini Springs
Kayaking at Gemini Springs, 15 January 2017

On January 17th I biked out to the Quail Lakes Powerline trails next to the power plant in northwest DeBary. I had a few targets: Florida Scrub-Jay, Red-headed Woodpecker, Eastern Towhee, Northern Bobwhite, and Common Ground-Dove. I found all of them except for Bobwhite, plus I found two bonus birds — Brown Thrasher and Eastern Bluebird — on the outing.

Florida Scrub-Jay
Florida Scrub-Jay at Quail Lakes Powerline trails, 17 January 2017

Prairie Warbler
Prairie Warbler at Gemini Springs, 20 January 2017

Unexpected birds are just the best, aren’t they? I was birding around a bushy area of Gemini Springs where Yellow-rumped Warblers are usually plentiful. I had just moments earlier thought about how I’ve rarely found anything but tons of butterbutts in this area, when suddenly I saw a sparrow. I’ve been having a hard time finding any sparrows at Gemini Springs as compared to other years, so I was pretty stoked to find a sparrow of any kind… But zoinks, this wasn’t one of the usual expected sparrows. It was a White-throated Sparrow, not super rare but new for my Florida list and an exciting, totally unexpected find.

White-throated Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow at Gemini Springs, 20 January 2017

Nine-banded Armadillo
Nine-banded Armadillo at Gemini Springs, 29 January 2017

On the 31st I biked out to a couple of small local parks, where I added Mallard and Ring-necked Duck to my green list. I also walked around Dewey Boster Park in Deltona hoping to find a two targets, White-winged Dove and Eurasian Collared-Dove. I got the -winged but not the Collared, and also added House Sparrow and European Starling.

Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher at Dewey Boster Park, 31 January 2017

Common Ground-Dove
Common Ground-Dove at Dewey Boster Park, 31 January 2017

Green Birding List for January 2017
Mallard – Anas platyrhynchos
Blue-winged Teal – Anas discors
Ring-necked Duck – Aythya collaris
Hooded Merganser – Lophodytes cucullatus
Wild Turkey – Meleagris gallopavo
Pied-billed Grebe – Podilymbus podiceps
Wood Stork – Mycteria americana
Double-crested Cormorant – Phalacrocorax auritus
Anhinga – Anhinga anhinga
American Bittern – Botaurus lentiginosus
Great Blue Heron – Ardea herodias
Great Egret – Ardea alba
Snowy Egret – Egretta thula
Little Blue Heron – Egretta caerulea
Tricolored Heron – Egretta tricolor
Cattle Egret – Bubulcus ibis
Green Heron – Butorides virescens
White Ibis – Eudocimus albus
Glossy Ibis – Plegadis falcinellus
Black Vulture – Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture – Cathartes aura
Osprey – Pandion haliaetus
Northern Harrier – Circus cyaneus
Bald Eagle – Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Red-shouldered Hawk – Buteo lineatus
Red-tailed Hawk – Buteo jamaicensis
Sora – Porzana carolina
Common Gallinule – Gallinula galeata
American Coot – Fulica americana
Limpkin – Aramus guarauna
Sandhill Crane – Antigone canadensis
Killdeer – Charadrius vociferus
Spotted Sandpiper – Actitis macularius
Greater Yellowlegs – Tringa melanoleuca
Lesser Yellowlegs – Tringa flavipes
Ring-billed Gull – Larus delawarensis
Caspian Tern – Hydroprogne caspia
Forster’s Tern – Sterna forsteri
Rock Pigeon – Columba livia
Common Ground-Dove – Columbina passerina
White-winged Dove – Zenaida asiatica
Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura
Barred Owl – Strix varia
Belted Kingfisher – Megaceryle alcyon
Red-headed Woodpecker – Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Sphyrapicus varius
Downy Woodpecker – Picoides pubescens
Northern Flicker – Colaptes auratus
Pileated Woodpecker – Dryocopus pileatus
American Kestrel – Falco sparverius
Eastern Phoebe – Sayornis phoebe
White-eyed Vireo – Vireo griseus
Blue-headed Vireo – Vireo solitarius
Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata
Florida Scrub-Jay – Aphelocoma coerulescens
American Crow – Corvus brachyrhynchos
Fish Crow – Corvus ossifragus
Tree Swallow – Tachycineta bicolor
Carolina Chickadee – Poecile carolinensis
Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor
House Wren – Troglodytes aedon
Marsh Wren – Cistothorus palustris
Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – Polioptila caerulea
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Regulus calendula
Eastern Bluebird – Sialia sialis
American Robin – Turdus migratorius
Gray Catbird – Dumetella carolinensis
Brown Thrasher – Toxostoma rufum
Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos
European Starling – Sturnus vulgaris
Cedar Waxwing – Bombycilla cedrorum
Ovenbird – Seiurus aurocapilla
Orange-crowned Warbler – Oreothlypis celata
Common Yellowthroat – Geothlypis trichas
Palm Warbler – Setophaga palmarum
Pine Warbler – Setophaga pinus
Yellow-rumped Warbler – Setophaga coronata
Yellow-throated Warbler – Setophaga dominica
Prairie Warbler – Setophaga discolor
Chipping Sparrow – Spizella passerina
White-throated Sparrow – Zonotrichia albicollis
Savannah Sparrow – Passerculus sandwichensis
Swamp Sparrow – Melospiza georgiana
Eastern Towhee – Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis
Painted Bunting – Passerina ciris
Red-winged Blackbird – Agelaius phoeniceus
Common Grackle – Quiscalus quiscula
Boat-tailed Grackle – Quiscalus major
American Goldfinch – Spinus tristis
House Sparrow – Passer domesticus

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Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, Volusia Birding | 1 Comment

Little Costa Rica Birding Trip Report Part 3

Last year Arthur and I visited Costa Rica for 11 days in May. This is Part 3 of my little 3-part series. Here are Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them. Now I’ll post some highlights from our time traveling from Monteverde to the Los Quetzals National Park area.

May 13 2016
Friday the 13th we had an epic drive from Monteverde to San Gerardo de Dota. We drove along the Pacific Coast and had a few stops before arriving at our lodge well after dark. At Playa Galardonda we added Scarlet Macaw to our life list. We stopped at a ditch along the highway when we thought we saw a kingfisher — we ended up adding both Amazon Kingfisher and Ringed Kingfisher to our list. The best sighting of the day was a brief but clear and diagnostic view of an adult King Vulture flying over the car along a stretch of highway where it was unfortunately impossible to stop.

May 14 2016
Saturday morning we joined a bird walk from a local guide. The target species for this walk was the Resplendent Quetzal and we were not disappointed with great views of at least 5 individuals. We spent the rest of the day birding around the lodge’s property and hiking to a local waterfall. Over several checklists we added 31 lifers: 16 species total; 39 species; 9 species; 13 species.

Resplendent Quetzal
Male Resplendent Quetzal

exploring
Exploring Los Quetzals National Park

Rufous-collared Sparrow
Rufous-collared Sparrow at Los Quetzals National Park

May 15 2016
We remained on Savegre property on this gloomy day. In the morning we walked around and looked for birds along a steep and buggy trail. In the afternoon there were torrential rains so we stayed inside. Late in the day we had another short bird outing for the last time on the trip. The following day we picked up huge packed lunches from the lodge to take with us to the airport for our flight back home.

Flame-colored Tanager
Flame-colored Tanager at Savegre

Black-faced Solitaire
Black-faced Solitaires at Savegre

Costa Rica Lifers May 13-15 2016

Scarlet Macaw Playa Galardonada 13-May-16
Costa Rican Swift Playa Galardonada 13-May-16
Cherrie’s Tanager Playa Hermosa NWR 13-May-16
Gray-breasted Martin Playa Hermosa NWR 13-May-16
Northern Jacana Playa Hermosa NWR 13-May-16
Pinnated Bittern Playa Hermosa NWR 13-May-16
King Vulture CR-Puntarenas King Vulture stop 13-May-16
Amazon Kingfisher CR-Puntarenas-Aguirre-Highway 34 13-May-16
Ringed Kingfisher CR-Puntarenas-Aguirre-Highway 34 13-May-16
Sooty Thrush San Gerardo de Dota 13-May-16
Sooty-capped Chlorospingus Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Collared Redstart Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Yellow-winged Vireo Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Mountain Elaenia Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Acorn Woodpecker Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Resplendent Quetzal Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Spotted Wood-Quail Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Yellow-thighed Finch Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Chestnut-capped Brushfinch Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Slaty Flowerpiercer Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Spangle-cheeked Tanager Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Black-cheeked Warbler Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Flame-throated Warbler Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Black-faced Solitaire Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Ochraceous Wren Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Brown-capped Vireo Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Dark Pewee Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Paltry Tyrannulet Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Spot-crowned Woodcreeper Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Sulphur-winged Parakeet Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Stripe-tailed Hummingbird Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Volcano Hummingbird Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
White-throated Mountain-gem Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Fiery-throated Hummingbird Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Magnificent Hummingbird Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Ruddy Pigeon Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Band-tailed Pigeon Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Flame-colored Tanager Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Torrent Tyrannulet Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Collared Trogon Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 14-May-16
Barred Becard Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 15-May-16
Ruddy Treerunner Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 15-May-16
Streak-breasted Treehunter Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 15-May-16
Red-headed Barbet Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 15-May-16
White-collared Swift Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve and Spa 15-May-16
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Little Costa Rica Birding Trip Report Part 2

Last year Arthur and I visited Costa Rica for 11 days in May. This is Part 2 of my little 3-part series. Here’s Part 1 if you missed it. Read on for some highlights from our time around Monteverde.

May 10 2016
Tuesday morning we had a guided bird walk arranged by the hotel. During the hike we saw 36 species; we ended up with 20 lifers for the day. We had lunch at a nearby well-known birding hotspot, Stella’s, but it was practically devoid of birds during our visit.

Costa Rica walkies
Exploring around our Monteverde hotel

May 11 2016
The Monteverde area is well-known for zip-lining and hanging bridges. On May 11th we visited Selvatura Adventure Park for a self-guided walk around the hanging bridges and a nice long visit to their famous hummingbird garden. We added 14 lifers at Selvatura, including 4 species of hummingbird. Bird lists: hanging bridges walk; hummingbird garden.

Costa Rica hanging bridges
Hanging bridge at Selvatura Adventure Park

hummies everywhere omg
Hummingbird garden at Selvatura Adventure Park

Green-crowned Brilliant
Green-crowned Brilliant iPhone picture taken at Selvatura Adventure Park

May 12 2016
Thursday we took it easy and had a morning walk at a local preserve, Curi Canchi. Here we recorded 24 species, including 5 lifers.

Lesson's Motmot
Lesson’s Motmot at our hotel

Costa Rica Lifers May 10-12 2016

Yellow-crowned Euphonia Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
White-eared Ground-Sparrow Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Grayish Saltator Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Rufous-capped Warbler Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Rufous-and-white Wren Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Blue-and-white Swallow Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Three-wattled Bellbird Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Ruddy Woodcreeper Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
White-fronted Parrot Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Brown-hooded Parrot Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Emerald Toucanet Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Orange-bellied Trogon Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Steely-vented Hummingbird Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Violet Sabrewing Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Canivet’s Emerald Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Masked Tityra Hotel El Bosque 10-May-16
Common Chlorospingus Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Black-and-yellow Tanager Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Silver-throated Tanager Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Slate-throated Redstart Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Costa Rican Warbler Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Slaty-backed Nightingale-Thrush Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Tufted Flycatcher Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Black Guan Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Purple-throated Mountain-gem Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Green-crowned Brilliant Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Lesser Violetear Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Green Hermit Monteverde–Selvatura Park 11-May-16
Elegant Euphonia Curi-Cancha Refugio de Vida Silvestre 12-May-16
White-naped Brushfinch Curi-Cancha Refugio de Vida Silvestre 12-May-16
Golden-crowned Warbler Curi-Cancha Refugio de Vida Silvestre 12-May-16
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Curi-Cancha Refugio de Vida Silvestre 12-May-16
Black-crested Coquette Curi-Cancha Refugio de Vida Silvestre 12-May-16
Black-breasted Wood-Quail Hotel El Bosque 12-May-16
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Little Costa Rica Birding Trip Report Part 1

Last year Arthur and I visited Costa Rica for 11 days in May. We flew into San Jose on May 6th and rented a car for our trip. We stayed in three different locations for casual birding and exploring on our own: Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge in the shadow of the Arenal Volcano in Fortuna; Hotel El Bosque in Monteverde; and Savegre Hotel Natural Reserve & Spa inside the Los Quetzales National Park. Here I’ll post some highlights from our time around Fortuna.

May 7 2016
In the morning of our first full day we had a guided birding walk arranged by the lodge. We hiked around the lodge’s property and picked up a modest list of 25 species, 22 (!!) of which were lifers. That afternoon we went to a local park, Ecocentro Danaus, where we had a guided walk and explored on our own. Here we picked up 24 species, 15 of which were lifers. Besides birds we saw a 2-toed Sloth with baby, Spectacled Caimans, and an Agouti with a baby. Later in the afternoon we walked to La Fortuna Waterfall and had a dip in the cool fresh water. That evening we took a night hike on the lodge’s grounds and saw lots of interesting snakes, frogs, and insects. I recorded highlights on an eBird list with no birds, including Fer-de-lance, Loquacious Tree Frog, and a baby Hognose Pit Viper.

Collared Aracari
Collared Aracari at Ecocentro Danaus

May 8 2016
Sunday morning we birded a bit at our lodge and then headed to a famous local birding site, Arenal Observatory Lodge. I tried to book this hotel for our trip but they were full. Luckily day visitors can explore the grounds for birding. Here we walked the trails and picked up 14 lifers over several hours and checklists: 16+1 species total; 10 species; 17 species; 3 species; 4 species.

Arenal volcano
View of Arenal volcano from the Observatory Lodge

Passerini's Tanager
Passerini’s Tanager at Arenal Observatory Lodge

Blue-throated Goldentail
Blue-throated Goldentail at Arenal Observatory Lodge

May 9 2016
We started the morning with a little bit of birding around the lodge before packing up and heading to Monteverde. On the way we stopped at a big cat wildlife rescue center, Centro de Rescate Las Pumas, where we saw 5 species, including 3 lifers. On the drive we picked up several other lifers, including our first Keel-billed Toucan. We arrived at our hotel late in the afternoon and signed up for that evening’s night hike. This time we did manage to find a few birds.

on the road in Costa Rica
On the road to Monteverde

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron at Las Pumas

Costa Rica Lifers May 7-9 2016

Black-cowled Oriole Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Melodious Blackbird Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Red-throated Ant-Tanager Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Rufous-collared Sparrow Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Buff-throated Saltator Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
White-collared Seedeater Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Thick-billed Seed-Finch Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Palm Tanager Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Blue-gray Tanager Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Passerini’s Tanager Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Clay-colored Thrush Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
White-collared Manakin Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Social Flycatcher Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Long-tailed Tyrant Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Red-lored Parrot Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Laughing Falcon Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Black-cheeked Woodpecker Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Yellow-throated Toucan Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Red-billed Pigeon Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Gray Hawk Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Gray-headed Chachalaca Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 7-May-16
Yellow-throated Euphonia Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Variable Seedeater Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Dusky-capped Flycatcher Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Common Tody-Flycatcher Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Golden-olive Woodpecker Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Collared Aracari Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Broad-billed Motmot Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Scaly-breasted Hummingbird Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Stripe-throated Hermit Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Long-billed Hermit Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
White-tipped Dove Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Ruddy Ground-Dove Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Russet-naped Wood-Rail Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Boat-billed Heron Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Great Curassow Eco Centro Danaus 7-May-16
Bronzed Cowbird Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 8-May-16
Yellow-faced Grassquit Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge 8-May-16
Montezuma Oropendola Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
Buff-rumped Warbler Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
Streaked Flycatcher Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
Barred Parakeet Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
Crested Guan Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
Cabanis’s Wren Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
Blue-throated Goldentail Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
Brown Violetear Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
White-necked Jacobin Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
Boat-billed Flycatcher Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
Black-striped Sparrow Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
Red-legged Honeycreeper Arenal Observatory Lodge 8-May-16
White-throated Magpie-Jay Highway from Fortuna to Cañas 9-May-16
Hoffmann’s Woodpecker Centro de Rescate Las Pumas 9-May-16
Groove-billed Ani Centro de Rescate Las Pumas 9-May-16
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron Centro de Rescate Las Pumas 9-May-16
Rufous-naped Wren Highway from Cañas to Monteverde 9-May-16
Keel-billed Toucan Highway from Cañas to Monteverde 9-May-16
Turquoise-browed Motmot Highway from Cañas to Monteverde 9-May-16
Cinnamon Hummingbird Highway from Cañas to Monteverde 9-May-16
Inca Dove Highway from Cañas to Monteverde 9-May-16
Lesson’s Motmot Hotel El Bosque 9-May-16
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Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, Second Half 2016

Here’s my year-end update for my sad Green Birding effort for 2016. My previous post covered January through June, so here’s what happened in July and beyond.

In July I added a few lists incidental to bike rides, where I ticked Eurasian Collared-Dove in Sanford (a new county for my green listing). At home I added a handful of birds as well. On July 23rd I joined West Volusia Runners for a group run at Beck Ranch Park. I ran towards the Lake Monroe Conservation Area bridge where I thought I saw a Purple Gallinule out on the water. It was one of the many times I wished it was practical to carry a pair of binoculars on a run — though this would not have been for my green list as I had driven to Beck Ranch. A few days later I biked out to the bridge (about 26 miles round-trip) and confirmed my suspicion, excited to add Purple Gallinule to my all-time green list.

baby softshell!
Baby Florida Softshell Turtle on the East Regional Rail Trail, July 15 2016

Black Vultures on carcass
Black Vultures on the carcass of a cow at Lake Monroe Conservation Area, July 25 2016

Purple Gallinule
Purple Gallinule at Lake Monroe Conservation Area (WOO HOO), July 25 2016

August wasn’t very birdy (or I guess it wasn’t very birdingy) but I saw some herps while out on the trails.

Ring-necked Snake
Ring-necked Snake on the Spring-to-Spring Trail, August 1 2016

Scarlet Kingsnake
Scarlet Kingsnake on the East Regional Rail Trail, August 6 2016

Gopher Tortoise
Surprise Gopher Tortoise in our back yard, August 19 2016

I next added to the list in September, with a pair of warblers at Gemini Springs.

Mourning Doves
Mourning Doves sunning in our back yard, September 11 2016

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal at Gemini Springs, September 23 2016

In October I had a surprise Tennessee Warbler at home. Finally, in December, I added King Rail and Field Sparrow at Gemini Springs to finish the my 2016 list at 108 green birds.

Limpkin
Limpkin at Gemini Springs, December 20 2016

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Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, Volusia Birding | 2 Comments

Wing-tagged Black Vulture in the Everglades

While visiting the Everglades with Arthur’s family on October 18th, I saw a wing-tagged Black Vulture at Coot Bay.

Researchers have been monitoring wing-tagged vultures in the Everglades since 2012. The project aims to study vulture activity and behavior as they move across south Florida. Vultures have also been noted to cause damage to parked cars at various spots in the Everglades, though I’m not sure if the wing-tagging study is related.

I sent the tag information on CEH to the Bird Banding Laboratory. The bird was an adult, at least a year old, at the time it was tagged in late 2012. I hadn’t reported a banded bird for a very long time so it was nice to get the certificate emailed to me a few days later.

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Cruise Birding: Great Stirrup Cay

The itinerary of our Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Spirit called for a day at sea on December 31, 2015. A group of 12 Brown Boobies followed the ship for a while and we watched them hunt flying fish and loaf on the water between feeding. A lifer for us.

Brown Booby
Brown Booby

The first day of 2016 found us on Norwegian Cruise Line’s private Bahamas island, Great Stirrup Cay. We walked the hiking trail a few times and found some birds and other creatures on the way. We added three lifers here: Bahama Woodstar (hummingbird); Bahama Swallow; and Black-faced Grassquit. There were gulls and terns loafing around the beaches and we even found a few overwintering songbirds: Gray Catbirds; Palm Warblers; Yellow-rumped Warblers; and an American Redstart.

Bahama Woodstar on Great Stirrup Cay
Bahama Woodstar

Black-faced Grassquit on Great Stirrup Cay
Black-faced Grassquit

Bananaquit on Great Stirrup Cay
Bananaquit

Black Witch moth on Great Stirrup Cay
Black Witch moth

on Great Stirrup Cay
unidentified little friend

on Great Stirrup Cay
unidentified little friend

The hiking trail was overgrown in places and became hard to follow a few times. It’s really nice to have a nature trail to follow and we wish NCL would take better care of it.

Hiking Trail on Great Stirrup Cay
Hiking Trail on Great Stirrup Cay

We brought along our own snorkeling gear and did a bit of underwater exploring as well.

snorkeling Great Stirrup Cay
Arthur snorkeling

snorkeling Great Stirrup Cay
fishies

snorkeling Great Stirrup Cay
stingray sp.

The island can be crowded at the main beach but we found lots of places where we could relax in peace. It was a great, relaxing start to 2016.

NCL Spirit from Great Stirrup Cay
NCL Spirit and giant Laughing Gulls

NCL Spirit Cruise eBird Checklists: day at sea & Great Stirrup Cay
Boobies following ship
Great Stirrup Cay

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Cruise Birding: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

On December 30, our Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Spirit stopped at Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Here we booked a private tour with Carolyn Barrett of Barrett Adventures. We asked for a birding tour but got more of a general tour where we stopped at some random somewhat birdy spots with a binocularless guide. She knew a lot about the island and its wildlife but for the most part identifications were left up to us. This was a bit disappointing. I added seven life species here, including Streamertail (hummingbird); Jamaican Tody; Sad Flycatcher; Bananaquit; Smooth-billed Ani; White-chinned Thrush; and Jamaican Oriole.

White River, Ocho Rios Jamaica
White River in Ocho Rios (photo by Arthur)

Black-crowned Night-Heron
Immature Black-crowned Night-Heron along the White River

Loggerhead Kingbird
Loggerhead Kingbird at Walkers Woods

Walkers Wood, Jamaica
Arthur birding at Walkers Woods

Sad Flycatcher
Sad Flycatcher at Walkers Woods

Jamaican Oriole
Jamaican Oriole at Faith’s Pen

Just a couple of days were left on our cruise! First we’d spend the last day of the year at sea, and then New Year’s Day on Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas. Post to follow!

NCL Spirit Cruise eBird Checklists: Ocho Rios, Jamaica
White River between St. Mary’s & St. Ann’s
Walkers Wood
Faith’s Pen
St. Ann’s Bay – Arg Byfield Highway
Ocho Rios port area

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Cruise Birding: Chacchoben Ruins from Costa Maya, Mexico

Arthur and I spent the last days of 2015 and the first of 2016 on a 7-night Norwegian cruise around the Caribbean. We had several ports: Costa Maya, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. Birding was not our primary objective for the most part; I added 16 life species over the holiday.

In Costa Maya we opted for a tour of the ruins at Chacchoben which we booked via The Native Choice. In the port area and walking from the ship to the tour guide offices, we found three lifers: Tropical Kingbird; Tropical Mockingbird; and Great-tailed Grackle. At the ruins we noted 10 bird species, including lifers Brown Jay and Great Kiskadee. A Short-tailed Hawk flew overhead and there were spider monkeys in the trees.

ruins at Chacchoben
One of several pyramids at the ruins of Chacchoben near Costa Maya, Mexico

ruins at Chacchoben
One of several pyramids at the ruins of Chacchoben near Costa Maya, Mexico

Brown Jay at ruins at Chacchoben
Brown Jay at the ruins of Chacchoben (photo by Arthur)

spider monkey at ruins at Chacchoben
Spider monkey sp. at the ruins of Chacchoben (photo by Arthur)

Back in port, Magnificent Frigatebirds flew low overhead; this photo was taken with my iPhone!

MAFR over Costa Maya
Magnificent Frigatebirds at the port of Costa Maya

NCL Spirit from Costa Maya
The NCL Spirit at the port of Costa Maya (photo by Arthur)

The next day our ship docked off of George Town in Grand Cayman. Here we booked a snorkeling excursion via the cruise ship. It was a mediocre experience — the snorkel boat left behind a pair of our fellow tourists at the first location and the two spots where we stopped didn’t have much going on sealife-wise. I entered one small checklist here to note the frigatebirds flying around port and House Sparrows that were busy around a church garden. I was surprised when the sparrows got flagged by eBird as rare. Huh?

The following day we planned on birding in Jamaica — see next post!

NCL Spirit Cruise eBird Checklists: Costa Maya & Grand Cayman
Costa Maya port area
Ruinas Chacchoben
Grand Cayman port area

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Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, First Half 2016

I began the year on a New Year’s cruise with Arthur and did my first birding of 2016 on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas. I decided against participating in the Bird-a-Day challenge this year and just haven’t been birding (locally or otherwise) much. Still, I’m keeping a Green Birding List for the year. Here’s a short update on the list for the first part of 2016.

In January I visited Gemini Springs 3 times, Konomac Lake 1 time, and checked off several birds at home. I started off with 65 Green Birding List species in January.

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe, Gemini Springs | 05-JAN-16

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron, Gemini Springs | 11-JAN-16

Painted Bunting female
Painted Bunting blending in, Gemini Springs | 11-JAN-16

Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow, Gemini Springs | 11-JAN-16

February brought the total number of species to 83, with 3 visits to Audubon Park and several stops at other regular sites.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Audubon Park | 01-FEB-16

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher, Lake Monroe Boat Ramp | 15-FEB-16

Osprey & Boat-tailed Grackles
Osprey & Boat-tailed Grackles, Gemini Springs | 16-FEB-16

White-tailed Deer
White-tailed Deer, Audubon Park | 21-FEB-16

In March and April I was pretty deep into training for my first half marathon and didn’t go birding too often; at the end of April I had a total of 92 Green Birding List species. I added a handful more during the following two months and ended the first half of the year with 95 species.

Scarlet Kingsnake
Scarlet Kingsnake (seen during run), Gemini Springs | 06-APR-16

American Alligator
American Alligator, Gemini Springs | 12-APR-16

Florida Red-bellied Cooter
Florida Red-bellied Cooter, Gemini Springs | 12-APR-16

Wild Turkey family
Earth Day Wild Turkey family visit at home! Look at the babies! | 22-APR-16

I’ve had a look at where I’m at now compared to previous years and I should be able to get 10 more species with very little effort if I just head to a couple of spots I haven’t been to this year so far. With more regular birding I would still have a good shot at around 140 species… let’s see what happens in the second half of the year! I’ve already added 8 species in July, including one brand new to my all-time Green Birding List!

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