Author Archives: Amy

2019 Bird-a-Day Recap

I ended my 2019 Bird-a-Day Challenge on Thursday, May 16th, when I didn’t find a new bird to add to my list. I’m out after 135 days, which is better than my last try, 127 days in 2017. I didn’t come close to my record of 154 days in 2015 (I also played in 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011).

JANUARY
This year I started with the advantage of being overseas. I added my first seven birds in France and the Netherlands. And then I was almost out on January 8th! Our flight home from Amsterdam was to have a long layover in Dublin and I expected to get a final easy European bird there before the flight home. Our Aer Lingus flight was cancelled, though, and we were re-routed through Atlanta. I didn’t see any birds on the way to the airport in the morning (I honestly wasn’t looking). During our layover at Atlanta I stood by the terminal window hoping for a House Sparrow or Rock Dove; I scanned the skies for vultures but I saw nothing. We arrived in Orlando as the sun was going down. Arthur pointed out an Anhinga in a pond when we took the airport shuttle so I could continue the challenge.

Snail Kites
Snail Kites at Douglas Stenstrom Bridge for January 16th

The two best birds of January were both found at Douglas Stenstrom Bridge over the St. Johns River at the Seminole/Volusia County border. There had been reports of Snail Kites at this location. I usually bike out there so any birds listed will be on my Green List. Arthur really wanted to see the kites, though, so we drove out there on a Wednesday morning. We saw several Snail Kites, which were actually a life bird for both of us! Later in the week I made the journey over on my bike. I got the kites and my other targets for the location (Purple Gallinule, Eastern Meadowlark). As I was leaving I was absolutely shocked to see a Crested Caracara fly right over my head! This was my most-wanted Volusia Co. bird for some time!

Crested Caracara at Douglas Stenstrom Bridge for January 18th

I tried to get out and bird most days in January, but did take three birds from home for the month (Eastern Phoebe, Cedar Waxwing, Sandhill Crane).

FEBRUARY
I didn’t get out birding nearly as much, so a lot of these birds are from home (8!), incidentals during my Thursday volunteer shifts at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey (3), and other incidentals around town and doing other things. My best bird of the month was probably Painted Bunting. A pair of females visited our feeds for a few weeks; we didn’t have a male in the yard this spring.

Great Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull at Frank Rendon Park for February 10th

MARCH
I didn’t have a goal for the challenge this year going in, but sometime in March I thought it would be great if I could make it to the first week of May, when Arthur and I would visit Fort De Soto on the west side of the state. At this time I compiled a list of remaining “gimme” birds — species I could expect to see with some certainty at my local patch or in my back yard.

Most birds I picked up in March were from typical local birding outings to places like Gemini Springs (9 birds) and other spots I can bike to. March 27th it rained and stormed the entire day and it looked a bit dire for the game until I noticed a pair of Mourning Doves that took shelter in our back yard. My best bird was the Wilson’s Snipe I found in a local residential pond I biked by on my way home from the post office. There was also a Greater Yellowlegs and a Lesser Yellowlegs in the pond; all would have been pretty good to use in the game at that point. When I biked over the next day only the Greater Yellowlegs was there.

APRIL
I started to visit Mead Garden on Thursdays after my volunteer shift at the Center for Birds of Prey. This is a local migrant trap and I hoped I could add some warblers and other songbirds to my list that I might not find locally. While the birding there was pretty good, for the first three weeks I didn’t end up with anything spectacular to use. In fact, one day after Mead Garden I went shopping at Aldi and ended up using a parking lot Brown-headed Cowbird for the day instead of anything I saw at Mead. My best bird of the month came the following week when I found a Yellow-billed Cuckoo lurking at Mead Garden after an extremely quiet and frustrating migrant-free walk. I was glad to get out of April using just two birds from home (Great Crested Flycatcher and Northern Cardinal).

Florida Scrub-Jay
Florida Scrub-Jay at Lyonia Preserve for April 19th

MAY
I only lasted two weeks in May. My “gimme” list of birds was down to just 11 species. I was glad to have made it to Fort De Soto, where I added Magnificent Frigatebird, Black Tern, and Eastern Kingbird to my list. I finished with Eastern Towhee, virtually guaranteed and my target during my visit to Lyonia Preserve in Deltona.

Black Tern
Black Tern at Fort De Soto for May 4th

I left the game with a lot of easy birds still available, but never chosen on the right day. I was somewhat shocked to discover I hadn’t used some very easy species like Red-tailed Hawk, Barn Swallow, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mottled Duck, and Eastern Bluebird. I know virtually guaranteed spots for some, like Barn Swallow and Eastern Bluebird, but I elected not to make a special drive just to stay in the game another day. I also always have a lot of really easy seabirds left that I never get to use since we don’t visit the coast all that often. So Brown Pelican, Laughing Gull, Royal Tern, Ruddy Turnstone, and Willet also didn’t make the list this year. With a lot of extra driving around I could likely have stayed in the game for at least two more weeks without a lot of serious birding effort. Just driving.

As summer heats up here in central Florida I expect I’ll be birding a bit less. My running club has a summer challenge that should take up more of my free time (as long as I can motivate myself to get out of bed for these early morning runs!). I may keep a June Challenge (my version – all green and including heard-only) list. I will certainly keep up with Fantasy Birding as the year continues. I’m in a few games but I’m not in any to win — it’s just so much fun!

Posted in Bird-a-Day Challenge | Leave a comment

Wayback Machine: Yard Visitors 2013-2014

Soon after we moved into our new home in DeBary, Florida, I started collecting mediocre photos of some of the birds and animals that visited our yard, with grand ideas of making regular blog posts. Now the folder has been sitting untouched on my computer for almost 5 years and rather than delete them I’ve decided to make one dump post. Away, to the past!



Squirrel monching a mushroom | June 13 2013


Raccoon visits our back yard | June 19 2013


Squirrel on a hot day | June 19 2013


Northern Cardinal baby boom | June 19 2013


Our bare back yard (it’s a jungle now) | July 01 2013


Red-shouldered Hawk scoping for noms | July 01 2013


Red-shouldered Hawk with skink | July 01 2013


Squirrel monching on Queen Palm nuts — messy trees gone now | July 03 2013


Neighborhood Indian Peafowl in our front yard (RIP Fred) | August 08 2013


Skink | August 16 2013


Male Painted Bunting with molting female Northern Cardinal | August 18 2013


Yellow Warbler (first/last time a YEWA in our yard) | August 23 2013


Wahahahaha aw poor thing / Blue Jay ear | August 28 2013


Ruby-throated Hummingbird | August 28 2013


Green Anole | August 31 2013


Infrequent visitor – Yellow-throated Warbler | September 06 2013


You want ants? This is how you get ants. | September 10 2013


Red-shouldered Hawk with 1/2 skink | September 14 2013


Bathing Mourning Dove | October 11 2013


That time we had a gang of Indigo Buntings in the yard | October 21 2013


Monarchs monching milkweed | November 11 2013


I think this is a Luna Moth caterpillar | November 20 2013


Eastern Phoebe | November 24 2013


Little Brown Bat in the back yard batcave (dilapidated shed) | January 01 2014


Male House Finch | March 22 2014


That one time a Rose-breasted Grosbeak visited our yard | April 22 2014


Sandhill Cranes in the front yard | October 02 2014

Posted in Florida, Green Birding, Not Birds, Yard Birds | Leave a comment

Green Birding Southwest Volusia County, 2nd Half 2017

I somewhat managed to balance birding with running during the first part of the year, but after a long road trip out west in August and September I had to focus on running and my time for birding really suffered.

In July I completed just 5 local bird checklists, visiting only Gemini Springs and the Lake Monroe Boat Ramp. I counted 24 species and took no photos of note.

In August we were away for just over half the month and I did no local birding at all.

In September we returned just following Hurricane Irma. I visited Gemini Springs, damaged and heavily flooded from the storm, one time. I counted 26 species. And a lot of happy little frogs.

Gemini Springs flooding
Flooding at Gemini Springs following Hurricane Irma | 27 September 2017

tadfrog at Gemini Springs
Tiny tadfrog at Gemini Springs | 27 September 2017

In October I got excited to look for local migrants. I recorded 11 checklists for 71 species observed. Gemini Springs and other parks along the St. Johns remained heavily flooded. The frogs were still happy; I had to watch my footing during a bunch of morning runs.

tiny frog
Another tiny froglet at Gemini Springs | 04 October 2017

tiny frogs everywhere at Gemini Springs
ALL OF THOSE LITTLE DOTS ARE TINY FROGS! | 04 October 2017

Florida Softshell
Florida Softshell Turtle in our neighborhood | 06 October 2017

Northern Waterthrush at Mariner's Cove
OMG A BIRD! Northern Waterthrush at Mariner’s Cove | 08 October 2017

Green Treefrog on our house
Green Treefrog that spent a couple of months on our living room window | 09 October 2017

frog sp at Gemini Springs
Another happy frog at Gemini Springs | 16 October 2017

Debris from the storm lined roads in central Florida for weeks following the storm. River City Nature Park in DeBary was taken over by big steaming heaps of mulched debris.

Irma debris mulch at River City Nature Park
Piles of mulched debris from Hurricane Irma at River City Nature Park | 20 October 2017

Bald Eagle at River City Nature Park
Bald Eagle at River City Nature Park | 20 October 2017

Prairie Warbler
Gemini Springs was full of Prairie Warblers on 24 October 2017

In November and December I DIDN’T GO BIRDING AT ALL! Take away my birder card, I’m a fraud! I did run through Gemini Springs a few times. The water finally receded below the fishing pier and dam in December (!).

flood waters finally recede at Gemini Springs
This grass field was under water for almost three months! Taken 04 December 2017

running and not birding
I saw a bird on a run! Red-shouldered Hawk on the Spring-to-spring Trail on 09 December 2017

Bring on 2018! I hope for a better balance between birding and running going forward. We’ll see. First — I’m Dopey!

Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding | 2 Comments

Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, June Challenge 2017

Note: this post is back-dated

In June I did my own version of the Green Challenge. Like the standard challenge dictates, I was looking for birds in a single county. I allowed heard-only birds on my list though, and I only listed “green” birds. I had hoped to find 80 species, but I fell short, tallying 77 — the same total I had for this challenge in 2015 (the last time I tried). The complete list is at the end of this post.

Here are some photo highlights from the month.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk at Audubon Park | 05 June 2017

Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes at Audubon Park | 05 June 2017

I completed 29 checklists during the month. I went to 14 different local birding spots, plus counted birds at home and as I was biking in several locations. I ended up biking over 165 miles.

Limpkin
Limpkin at Lake Monroe Park | 08 June 2017

Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 10 June 2017

On the 10th I went to the Quail Lakes Powerline Trails to look for a few target species: Eastern Bluebird; Eastern Towhee; Red-headed Woodpecker; Common Ground-Dove; Florida Scrub-Jay; and Northern Bobwhite. I found all of them, but the bobwhite and scrub-jay were extremely frustratingly heard-only. I stood around for a half hour waiting for a jay to pop up but I didn’t have any luck. What a ridiculous species to record as heard-only. As a consolation I added Killdeer, Northern Flicker, and Brown Thrasher here too.

Eastern Towhee
Eastern Towhee at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 10 June 2017

bear tracks
bear tracks at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 10 June 2017

Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 10 June 2017

six-lined racerunner
Six-lined Racerunner at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 10 June 2017

The best finds of the month were Roseate Spoonbill and Pied-billed Grebe. A birding friend tipped me off on the spoonbill and I headed out on my bike just minutes later, with sunset fast approaching. I hadn’t seen a “green” Roseate Spoonbill for years, but the grebe was a big surprise — I’ve NEVER had one in June before. Purple Gallinule, Mottled Duck, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Yellow-throated Vireo were all also new green birds for June listing. I was also happy to find Least Bittern at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, and Purple Martin & Cooper’s Hawk at Gemini Springs.

Purple Gallinule
Purple Gallinule at Lake Monroe Conservation Area | 13 June 2017

birding at Mariner's Cove
Happy birder at Mariner’s Cove after finding a Yellow-billed Cuckoo | 18 June 2017

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron at Gemini Springs | 20 June 2017

Common Ground-Dove
Common Ground-Dove at Dewey Boster Park | 26 June 2017

Before the month began I made a list of past “green” June birds as well as some targets I thought I might have a chance to find. There were some big misses. Wood Stork, American Coot, and Wood Duck shouldn’t have been too hard, but they evaded me. If I had gone birding at a few spots I ended up skipping, I could have probably added Bachman’s Sparrow and Common Yellowthroat. I kept hearing Common Nighthawks on early morning runs but I drove to those. Each time I biked out after dark or before sunrise I struck out.

eastern cottontail
Eastern Cottontail at Dewey Boster Park | 26 June 2017

marsh rabbits
Marsh Rabbits at Gemini Springs | 27 June 2017

Great Egret
Great Egret at Gemini Springs | 27 June 2017

Green Heron
Green Heron at Gemini Springs | 27 June 2017

That’s it for June! In July I decided to have a running streak (where I ran at least a mile a day and ended up with 112+ total miles run, my first 100+ month!) so I didn’t get to bird too much.

GREEN BIRDING LIST JUNE 2017

BIRD DATE OBSERVED
1 Carolina Wren 06/01 home
2 Northern Cardinal 06/01 Gemini Springs
3 Northern Parula 06/01 Gemini Springs
4 Red-bellied Woodpecker 06/01 Gemini Springs
5 Common Gallinule 06/01 Gemini Springs
6 Mourning Dove 06/01 Gemini Springs
7 Little Blue Heron 06/01 Gemini Springs
8 Black-necked Stilt 06/01 Gemini Springs
9 Tricolored Heron 06/01 Gemini Springs
10 Red-winged Blackbird 06/01 Gemini Springs
11 Boat-tailed Grackle 06/01 Gemini Springs
12 Great Crested Flycatcher 06/01 Gemini Springs
13 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 06/01 Gemini Springs
14 Barred Owl 06/01 Gemini Springs
15 Chimney Swift 06/01 Gemini Springs
16 Downy Woodpecker 06/01 Gemini Springs
17 Pileated Woodpecker 06/01 Gemini Springs
18 American Crow 06/01 Gemini Springs
19 Wild Turkey 06/02 home
20 White-eyed Vireo 06/02 home
21 Blue Jay 06/02 home
22 Fish Crow 06/02 home
23 Tufted Titmouse 06/02 home
24 Common Grackle 06/02 DeBary Hall
25 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 06/03 home
26 Muscovy Duck 06/03 Deltona Landings
27 Great Egret 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
28 Great Blue Heron 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
29 Anhinga 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
30 Glossy Ibis 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
31 Osprey 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
32 Bald Eagle 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
33 White Ibis 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
34 Red-shouldered Hawk 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
35 Limpkin 06/03 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
36 Mallard 06/03 Deltona Landings
37 Mottled Duck 06/03 Deltona Landings
38 House Sparrow 06/03 Deltona Landings
39 Black Vulture 06/03 home
40 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 06/05 Audubon Park
41 Swallow-tailed Kite 06/05 Audubon Park
42 Sandhill Crane 06/05 Audubon Park
43 Cattle Egret 06/05 Audubon Park
44 Carolina Chickadee 06/05 Audubon Park
45 Double-crested Cormorant 06/05 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
46 Least Bittern 06/05 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
47 Least Tern 06/05 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
48 Barn Swallow 06/05 Deltona
49 Snowy Egret 06/06 Gemini Springs
50 Loggerhead Shrike 06/06 Gemini Springs
51 Northern Mockingbird 06/06 Gemini Springs
52 Red-tailed Hawk 06/06 DeBary Memorial Park
53 Roseate Spoonbill 06/07 Ft Smith/Drysdale Pond
54 Pied-billed Grebe 06/07 Ft Smith/Drysdale Pond
55 Purple Martin 06/08 Gemini Springs
56 Cooper’s Hawk 06/08 Gemini Springs
57 Northern Bobwhite 06/10 Quail Lakes
58 Eastern Towhee 06/10 Quail Lakes
59 Killdeer 06/10 Quail Lakes
60 Red-headed Woodpecker 06/10 Quail Lakes
61 Eastern Bluebird 06/10 Quail Lakes
62 Brown Thrasher 06/10 Quail Lakes
63 Common Ground-Dove 06/10 Quail Lakes
64 Northern Flicker 06/10 Quail Lakes
65 Florida Scrub-Jay 06/10 Quail Lakes
66 Green Heron 06/10 DeBary Country Club
67 Eastern Meadowlark 06/13 Lake Monroe C.A.
68 Purple Gallinule 06/13 Lake Monroe C.A.
69 European Starling 06/14 DeBary
70 Yellow-billed Cuckoo 06/18 Mariner’s Cove
71 Red-eyed Vireo 06/18 Mariner’s Cove
72 Pine Warbler 06/18 Deltona / Enterprise
73 Rock Pigeon 06/20 Lake Monroe Park
74 Turkey Vulture 06/20 Lake Monroe Park
75 Northern Rough-winged Swallow 06/21 Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
76 White-winged Dove 06/26 Dewey Boster Park
77 Yellow-throated Vireo 06/27 Gemini Springs
Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, June Challenge, Volusia Birding | Leave a comment

Green Birding Southwest Volusia County, May 2017

Note: this post is back-dated

In May I had 12 checklists to contribute to my 2017 Green Birding List. I recorded 59 species total and added five new for the year (Wood Duck, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Bobolink, Least Sandpiper, and Northern Bobwhite). In May 2015 I had 69 species. The complete list for this year is at the end of this post.

Here are some photographic (mostly non-bird) highlights from the month.

Yellow Rat Snake
Yellow Rat Snake at Gemini Springs | 01 May 2017

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron (missing foot) at Lake Monroe Park | 02 May 2017

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal at Gemini Springs | 09 May 2017

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle at Trout Lake | 16 May 2017

I biked to Trout Lake 4 times looking for Solitary Sandpipers to add to my list, but didn’t have any luck. I did find one the only time I drove there. Otherwise I had four nice visits to the wetland as it progressively dried up throughout the month.

Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes at Trout Lake | 16 May 2017

Black Racer
Black Racer at Gemini Springs | 30 May 2017

Green Anole
Green Anole at Gemini Springs | 30 May 2017

raccoon family
Raccoon family at Gemini Springs | 30 May 2017

Green Birding List for May 2017
Wood Duck
Mallard
Mottled Duck
Northern Bobwhite
Wood Stork
Double-crested Cormorant
Anhinga
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Common Gallinule
Limpkin
Sandhill Crane
Black-necked Stilt
Killdeer
Least Sandpiper
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Tern
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Barred Owl
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Great Crested Flycatcher
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Barn Swallow
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Northern Cardinal
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle

Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, Volusia Birding | Leave a comment

Green Birding Southwest Volusia County, April 2017

During April I saw 67 species over 19 checklists for my 2017 Green Birding List. The last time I kept a green list for April was in 2015, when I had 93 species.

I did a bunch of running throughout the month to prepare for participating in all three races during the Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend at Disney World. Some birds were recorded on the run. And as the photos show, I came across more photogenic reptiles than birds, apparently.

Here are some photographic highlights from the month.

On April 4th I did a long 12 mile run along the East Regional Rail Trail in Enterprise and Deltona. I saw a Ringneck Snake in the middle of the trail. I gave it a poke to see if it was still alive and when it wiggled I picked it up and set it off the path.

Ringneck Snake
Ringneck Snake on the East Regional Rail Trail in Deltona, 4 April 2017

Luna Moth Caterpillar
Luna Moth caterpillar on the East Regional Rail Trail, 4 April 2017

Later on the same run, crossing Providence on the way back, I saw a roadkill squirrel in the middle of the road and some Black Vultures loitering around. I picked up the squirrel and tossed it off the road so they wouldn’t get hit by passing cars. Thornby Park was close by so I ran over to wash my hands before continuing the run.

Black Vultures
Black Vultures with roadkill squirrel by the East Regional Rail Trail in Deltona, 4 April 2017

Prairie Warbler
Prairie Warbler at Gemini Springs, 5 April 2017

The next day at Gemini Springs I had another close encounter with a snake. Again I wondered if the snake was still living before I picked it up and moved it off the path in the park.

Peninsula Ribbon Snake
Peninsula Ribbon Snake at Gemini Springs, 5 April 2017

full moon
Full moon at Gemini Springs, 10 April 2017

American Alligator
American Alligator at Gemini Springs, 12 April 2017

Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk at DeBary Hall, 12 April 2017

American Alligator
American Alligator at Gemini Springs, 27 April 2017

Green Birding List for April 2017

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Muscovy Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Anhinga
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Swallow-tailed Kite
Cooper’s Hawk
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Sora
Common Gallinule
American Coot
Limpkin
Sandhill Crane
Black-necked Stilt
Least Tern
Caspian Tern
Mourning Dove
Barred Owl
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Great Crested Flycatcher
White-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Palm Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle

Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, Not Birds, Volusia Birding | 2 Comments

Green Birding Southwest Volusia County, March 2017

For March 2017 I recorded 84 species over 28 checklists for my Green Birding List. Last time I kept a Green List for March was in 2015, when I recorded 97 species (whoa).

Here are some photo highlights…

Gray Catbird
Gray Catbird at Audubon Park, 01 March 2017

Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird at Audubon Park, 01 March 2017

Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes at Audubon Park, 01 March 2017

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler at Gemini Springs, 07 March 2017

Barred Owl
Barred Owl at Gemini Springs, 11 March 2017

On March 11 I had a long outing at Gemini Springs. I watched this deer for a while and snapped some photos when she seemed to be a bit relaxed. After she bounded off I waited for a few moments to see if she had any companions. When I finally started walking again another deer came bounding out and followed her off the path. He had a small rack. Later, as I passed the area where they had crossed, I looked over to see if I could spot them in the woods. The female was nuzzling the male and it was a very sweet scene. Aww.

White-tailed Deer
White-tailed Deer at Gemini Springs, 11 March 2017

Several times during the month I headed to Gemini Springs in the evening to try to find a better bird for Bird-a-Day (meaning something I can’t expect to find in the backyard). On March 14th I had a quick spin around the park (and used Sora for my B-a-D) and was delighted to find an otter frolicking around the bayou. I’ve only seen an otter at the park one other time.

North American River Otter
North American River Otter at Gemini Springs, 14 March 2017

American Alligator
American Alligator at Gemini Springs, 15 March 2017

On March 24th I took the long bike trek out to the pedestrian bridge over 415 in Osteen over the St. Johns to look for Eastern Meadowlarks and Purple Gallinule. I found several singing meadowlarks and three gallinules. I also got my FOY BIGBY Barn Swallows.

Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern Meadowlark at Lake Monroe Conservation Area, 24 March 2017

Purple Gallinule
Purple Gallinule at Lake Monroe Conservation Area, 24 March 2017

Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow at Lake Monroe Conservation Area, 24 March 2017

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal at Gemini Springs, 24 March 2017

Gray Catbird
Gray Catbird at Gemini Springs, 24 March 2017

Green Birding List for March 2017
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck – Dendrocygna autumnalis
Muscovy Duck – Cairina moschata
Mallard – Anas platyrhynchos
Hooded Merganser – Lophodytes cucullatus
Wild Turkey – Meleagris gallopavo
Wood Stork – Mycteria americana
Double-crested Cormorant – Phalacrocorax auritus
Anhinga – Anhinga anhinga
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
Bald Eagle – Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Red-shouldered Hawk – Buteo lineatus
Red-tailed Hawk – Buteo jamaicensis
Sora – Porzana carolina
Purple Gallinule – Porphyrio martinicus
Common Gallinule – Gallinula galeata
American Coot – Fulica americana
Limpkin – Aramus guarauna
Sandhill Crane – Antigone canadensis
Killdeer – Charadrius vociferus
Ring-billed Gull – Larus delawarensis
Caspian Tern – Hydroprogne caspia
Forster’s Tern – Sterna forsteri
Rock Pigeon – Columba livia
Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura
Barred Owl – Strix varia
Belted Kingfisher – Megaceryle alcyon
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus
Downy Woodpecker – Picoides pubescens
Northern Flicker – Colaptes auratus
Pileated Woodpecker – Dryocopus pileatus
American Kestrel – Falco sparverius
Eastern Phoebe – Sayornis phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher – Myiarchus crinitus
Loggerhead Shrike – Lanius ludovicianus
White-eyed Vireo – Vireo griseus
Red-eyed Vireo – Vireo olivaceus
Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata
American Crow – Corvus brachyrhynchos
Fish Crow – Corvus ossifragus
Purple Martin – Progne subis
Tree Swallow – Tachycineta bicolor
Barn Swallow – Hirundo rustica
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
Hermit Thrush – Catharus guttatus
American Robin – Turdus migratorius
Gray Catbird – Dumetella carolinensis
Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos
Cedar Waxwing – Bombycilla cedrorum
Black-and-white Warbler – Mniotilta varia
Orange-crowned Warbler – Oreothlypis celata
Common Yellowthroat – Geothlypis trichas
Northern Parula – Setophaga americana
Palm Warbler – Setophaga palmarum
Pine Warbler – Setophaga pinus
Yellow-rumped Warbler – Setophaga coronata
Yellow-throated Warbler – Setophaga dominica
Chipping Sparrow – Spizella passerina
Field Sparrow – Spizella pusilla
Savannah Sparrow – Passerculus sandwichensis
Swamp Sparrow – Melospiza georgiana
Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis
Red-winged Blackbird – Agelaius phoeniceus
Eastern Meadowlark – Sturnella magna
Common Grackle – Quiscalus quiscula
Boat-tailed Grackle – Quiscalus major
American Goldfinch – Spinus tristis
House Sparrow – Passer domesticus

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

Green Birding Southwest Volusia County, February 2017

I recorded 68 species to my green birding list for February 2017. The complete list is at the end of this post.

Even though I had 20 different local checklists, I didn’t take too many photos. There weren’t really any unexpected birds, either. Anyway, here are some highlights.

The main reason I wasn’t birding as much last year was that running was taking up a lot of my free time. I’ve been trying to give birding more time this year, while keeping up my modest running base. Some of those 20 checklists in February were incidentals while running. This photo of Wild Turkeys along the East Regional Rail Trail was taken with my iPhone on the run.

Wild Turkeys
Wild Turkey flock with displaying males from the East Regional Rail Trail near Green Springs Park, 10-FEB-17

Anhinga & Great Egret
Anhinga & Great Egret at Gemini Springs, 13-FEB-17

Bald Eagle
Immature Bald Eagle from the Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 15-FEB-17

Towards the end of the month I had a bummer of a run on a route not frequently taken. Not far from home along the Spring-to-Spring Trail in DeBary I saw a colorful something in the middle of the path ahead of me. I thought it was a candy wrapper, but as I got closer I could see it was a deceased Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. It was so beautiful. It was probably hit by a car. I set it to the side of the path. Later, along a sidewalk in Deltona, I saw what I first thought was a black plastic bag ahead. That turned out to be a dead Black Vulture, probably also hit by a car. I hardly ever see dead birds, and on this run I saw two. 🙁

deceased YBSA & BLVU
Deceased Yellow-bellied Sapsucker & Black Vulture, Volusia Co., 20-FEB-17

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron at Mariner’s Cove, 21-FEB-17

That’s it! The last part of the month was taken up by Princess race weekend at Disney World and celebrating my 45th birthday with a walk at Circle B Bar Reserve followed by even more Disney fun. On to March! Here come the migrants!

Green Birding List for February 2017
Muscovy Duck – Cairina moschata
Mottled Duck – Anas fulvigula
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
Great Blue Heron – Ardea herodias
Great Egret – Ardea alba
Snowy Egret – Egretta thula
Little Blue Heron – Egretta caerulea
Tricolored Heron – Egretta tricolor
White Ibis – Eudocimus albus
Glossy Ibis – Plegadis falcinellus
Black Vulture – Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture – Cathartes aura
Osprey – Pandion haliaetus
Bald Eagle – Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Red-shouldered Hawk – Buteo lineatus
Red-tailed Hawk – Buteo jamaicensis
Common Gallinule – Gallinula galeata
American Coot – Fulica americana
Limpkin – Aramus guarauna
Sandhill Crane – Antigone canadensis
Killdeer – Charadrius vociferus
Wilson’s Snipe – Gallinago delicata
Lesser Yellowlegs – Tringa flavipes
Ring-billed Gull – Larus delawarensis
Forster’s Tern – Sterna forsteri
Rock Pigeon – Columba livia
Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura
Belted Kingfisher – Megaceryle alcyon
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Sphyrapicus varius
Downy Woodpecker – Picoides pubescens
Pileated Woodpecker – Dryocopus pileatus
American Kestrel – Falco sparverius
Eastern Phoebe – Sayornis phoebe
White-eyed Vireo – Vireo griseus
Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata
American Crow – Corvus brachyrhynchos
Fish Crow – Corvus ossifragus
Tree Swallow – Tachycineta bicolor
Carolina Chickadee – Poecile carolinensis
Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor
Marsh Wren – Cistothorus palustris
Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – Polioptila caerulea
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Regulus calendula
American Robin – Turdus migratorius
Gray Catbird – Dumetella carolinensis
Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos
Orange-crowned Warbler – Oreothlypis celata
Common Yellowthroat – Geothlypis trichas
Northern Parula – Setophaga americana
Palm Warbler – Setophaga palmarum
Pine Warbler – Setophaga pinus
Yellow-rumped Warbler – Setophaga coronata
Yellow-throated Warbler – Setophaga dominica
Prairie Warbler – Setophaga discolor
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

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

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

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
Posted in Costa Rica, Life List, Not Birds, Travel | Leave a comment