Category Archives: Volusia Birding

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

Share the birds, share the love!
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. ๐Ÿ™

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

Share the birds, share the love!
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

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, Volusia Birding | 1 Comment

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

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, Volusia Birding | 2 Comments

Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, June Challenge 2015

Last month I did my own version of the June Challenge. The idea of the Challenge is to see as many bird species as possible in a single county during the month. The Challenge was first issued 12 years ago as a way to encourage Florida birders to get out and bird during a hot month relatively lacking in exciting bird activity. In my version, I only counted “green” birds, and I counted heard-only birds. The complete list is at the end of this post. Here are some photo highlights from the month, plus some birding stats from my green effort for June 2015.

Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis)
Cattle Egrets at Festival Park, 01-JUN-15

turtle sp
Turtle at Green Spring Park, 03-JUN-15

I completed 26 checklists during the month, and ended up with 77 species. I went to 13 different local birding spots, plus counted birds at home and as I was biking in several locations. I ended up biking over 170 miles and walking at least 30 miles. My two biggest rides were to two new “green” locations for me: Festival Park in Deltona (about 21 miles round trip) and the Brickyard Slough tract of the Lake Monroe Conservation Area (about 20 miles round trip).

Green Heron (Butorides virescens)
Juvenile Green Heron at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 03-JUN-15

Common Musk Turtle (?) (Sternotherus odoratus)
Baby Common Musk Turtle at Gemini Springs, 05-JUN-15

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
Eastern Bluebird at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails, 08-JUN-15

moon
The moon from Gemini Springs, 09-JUN-15

Best birds of the month were Eastern Bluebird (juveniles and adults at both Festival Park and Quail Lakes Powerline Trails); Least Terns at Konomac Lake and Gemini Springs; Black-necked Stilts at Konomac Lake (scarce at Gemini Springs this year); a surprise Laughing Gull at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp; Bachman’s Sparrow and Blue Grosbeak at Brickyard Slough (both new to my all-time green list); Northern Flicker along the East Regional Rail Trail; Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at Audubon Park; and Least Bittern at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp. The Least Bittern was seen on my sixth try when I didn’t even travel to the location for birding. Arthur and I biked out to watch the SpaceX launch. Before the launch I saw a bittern fly from the reeds to the shore and disappear — it was a really lucky sighting. Bummer launch though. ๐Ÿ™

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Red-tailed Hawk at Gemini Springs, 09-JUN-15

Great Egret (Ardea alba)
Great Egret at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 10-JUN-15

Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla)
Laughing Gull at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 10-JUN-15

MOM!!!!!!!
Boat-tailed Grackles at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 10-JUN-15

Blue Grosbeak
Record shot of Blue Grosbeak at Brickyard Slough, 15-JUN-15

I did try to see as many of the species as possible. Birds like Red-eyed Vireo and Pine Warbler started out as heard-only, but I managed to see them and a few other skulkers. Five remained heard-only, though: White-eyed Vireo; Northern Bobwhite; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow-throated Warbler; and White-winged Dove. I really tried to catch a look at a bobwhite who sounded like he was calling from underneath my feet, but he never came into view. The other species also remained frustratingly hidden in thick foliage.

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)
Eastern Towhee at Brickyard Slough, 15-JUN-15

Marsh Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris)
Marsh Rabbit at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 17-JUN-15

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)
Limpkin at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 17-JUN-15

Southern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus)
Southern Black Racer at Dewey Boster Park, 22-JUN-15

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
Juvenile Loggerhead Shrike at Dewey Boster Park, 22-JUN-15

Barred Owl (Strix varia)
Juvenile Barred Owl at Gemini Springs, 23-JUN-15

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at Audubon Park, 26-JUN-15

My biggest miss was Brown-headed Nuthatch, which I had hoped to see at Brickyard Slough. I had hopes of seeing Roseate Spoonbill at Trout Lake, but it was completely dead there with poor conditions for waders. In all I’m pretty pleased with how I fared during a month with near-record temperatures noted each week.

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)
Anhinga at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp, 26-JUN-15

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
Raccoon at Audubon Park, 29-JUN-15

Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus)
Ring-necked Snake at Audubon Park, 29-JUN-15

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at Audubon Park, 29-JUN-15

GREEN BIRDING LIST JUNE 2015

DATE BIRD OBSERVED
1 1-Jun-15 Chimney Swift home
2 1-Jun-15 Great Blue Heron Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
3 1-Jun-15 Boat-tailed Grackle Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
4 1-Jun-15 Fish Crow Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
5 1-Jun-15 Osprey Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
6 1-Jun-15 Red-winged Blackbird Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
7 1-Jun-15 Anhinga Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
8 1-Jun-15 Bald Eagle Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
9 1-Jun-15 Tricolored Heron Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
10 1-Jun-15 Mourning Dove Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
11 1-Jun-15 Limpkin Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
12 1-Jun-15 Little Blue Heron Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
13 1-Jun-15 White Ibis Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
14 1-Jun-15 Red-shouldered Hawk East Regional Rail Trail
15 1-Jun-15 Eastern Bluebird Festival Park
16 1-Jun-15 American Crow Festival Park
17 1-Jun-15 White-eyed Vireo HEARD ONLY: Festival Park
18 1-Jun-15 Turkey Vulture Festival Park
19 1-Jun-15 Black Vulture Festival Park
20 1-Jun-15 Sandhill Crane Festival Park
21 1-Jun-15 Cattle Egret Festival Park
22 1-Jun-15 Killdeer Festival Park
23 1-Jun-15 Northern Mockingbird Festival Park
24 1-Jun-15 Mallard Festival Park
25 1-Jun-15 Northern Bobwhite HEARD ONLY: Festival Park
26 1-Jun-15 Wild Turkey East Regional Rail Trail
27 1-Jun-15 Northern Cardinal home
28 1-Jun-15 Carolina Chickadee home
29 1-Jun-15 Tufted Titmouse home
30 1-Jun-15 Ruby-throated Hummingbird home
31 1-Jun-15 Blue Jay home
32 1-Jun-15 Red-bellied Woodpecker home
33 2-Jun-15 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher home
34 3-Jun-15 Snowy Egret Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
35 3-Jun-15 Great Egret Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
36 3-Jun-15 Green Heron Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
37 3-Jun-15 Carolina Wren Green Springs Park
38 3-Jun-15 House Sparrow Deltona Landings
39 3-Jun-15 Rock Pigeon Deltona Landings
40 5-Jun-15 Northern Parula Gemini Springs
41 5-Jun-15 Purple Martin Gemini Springs
42 5-Jun-15 Pileated Woodpecker DeBary Memorial Park
43 5-Jun-15 Muscovy Duck DeBary
44 7-Jun-15 Common Grackle DeBary
45 7-Jun-15 Eurasian Starling DeBary
46 7-Jun-15 Barred Owl Swamphouse Bench
47 7-Jun-15 Barn Swallow Fort Florida Rd
48 7-Jun-15 Least Tern Konomac Lake
49 7-Jun-15 Black-necked Stilt Konomac Lake
50 7-Jun-15 Great Crested Flycatcher DeBary
51 8-Jun-15 Eastern Towhee Quail Lakes
52 8-Jun-15 Brown Thrasher Quail Lakes
53 8-Jun-15 Red-tailed Hawk Quail Lakes
54 8-Jun-15 Cooper’s Hawk Quail Lakes
55 8-Jun-15 Red-headed Woodpecker Quail Lakes
56 8-Jun-15 Common Ground-Dove Quail Lakes
57 9-Jun-15 Common Gallinule Gemini Springs
58 9-Jun-15 Glossy Ibis Gemini Springs
59 9-Jun-15 American Coot Gemini Springs
60 10-Jun-15 Laughing Gull Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
61 10-Jun-15 Red-eyed Vireo Green Springs Park
62 10-Jun-15 Downy Woodpecker home
63 15-Jun-15 Bachman’s Sparrow Lake Monroe C.A. Brickyard Slough
64 15-Jun-15 Florida Scrub-Jay Lake Monroe C.A. Brickyard Slough
65 15-Jun-15 Swallow-tailed Kite Lake Monroe C.A. Brickyard Slough
66 15-Jun-15 Wood Duck Lake Monroe C.A. Brickyard Slough
67 15-Jun-15 Common Yellowthroat HEARD ONLY: Brickyard Slough
68 15-Jun-15 Blue Grosbeak Lake Monroe C.A. Brickyard Slough
69 15-Jun-15 Wood Stork Lake Monroe C.A. Brickyard Slough
70 15-Jun-15 Loggerhead Shrike Deltona path spur
71 16-Jun-15 Pine Warbler Spring-to-spring Trail
72 21-Jun-15 Black-bellied Whistling Duck Audubon Park
73 21-Jun-15 Northern Flicker East Regional Rail Trail
74 21-Jun-15 Yellow-throated Warbler HEARD ONLY: Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
75 22-Jun-15 White-winged Dove HEARD ONLY: Dewey Boster Park
76 28-Jun-15 Least Bittern Lake Monroe Boat Ramp
77 29-Jun-15 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Audubon Park
Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, Volusia Birding | 1 Comment

Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, May 2015

In May I birded at 10 different spots to add to my 2015 green year list. I found 69 different species for the month, with 54 on my Gemini Springs list. Last year I missed local birding in May completely; I had found 45 species in both May 2013 and May 2012. My complete green list for May 2015 is at the end of this post.

I added just one species to my year list. Arthur and I went kayaking on May 3rd and we found Bobolinks in several spots. Males were singing and small flocks were flying around. This was a new all-time green species for me so I was very excited!

Here are my photo highlights from green birding in May!

Leavenworth's Tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii)
Leavenworth’s Tickseed in our backyard native butterfly garden | 01 May 2015

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Some late Cedar Waxwings at Gemini Springs | 02 May 2015

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Buttonbush blossom at Gemini Springs | 02 May 2015

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
Common Buckeye at Gemini Springs | 02 May 2015

Paddling at Gemini Springs
Listening for Bobolinks at Gemini Springs | 03 May 2015

River City Nature Park
Trail signs at River City Nature Park | 04 May 2015

passionflower sp
Passionflower at Gemini Springs | 05 May 2015

Green Heron (Butorides virescens)
Green Heron at Gemini Springs | 08 May 2015

Agnes looking at Bald Eagle pair
Cousin Agnes looking at Bald Eagles at Gemini Springs | 08 May 2015

Pileated Woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus)
Pileated Woodpecker at Gemini Springs | 08 May 2015

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Red-shouldered Hawk with apparent eye injury at Gemini Springs | 08 May 2015

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)
Limpkin at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp | 11 May 2015

Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus)
Black Vultures at Gemini Springs | 13 May 2015

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)
Brown Thrasher at DeBary Memorial Park | 19 May 2015

Marsh Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris)
Marsh Rabbit at Gemini Springs | 19 May 2015

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Begging baby Northern Cardinal at Gemini Springs | 27 May 2015

Green Birding List May 2015
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck – Dendrocygna autumnalis
Wood Duck – Aix sponsa
Mallard (Domestic type) – Anas platyrhynchos (Domestic type)
Lesser Scaup – Aythya affinis
Wild Turkey – Meleagris gallopavo
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
Swallow-tailed Kite – Elanoides forficatus
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 – Grus canadensis
Black-necked Stilt – Himantopus mexicanus
Spotted Sandpiper – Actitis macularius
Least Tern – Sternula antillarum
Rock Pigeon – Columba livia
Common Ground-Dove – Columbina passerina
Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura
Barred Owl – Strix varia
Chimney Swift – Chaetura pelagica
Ruby-throated Hummingbird – Archilochus colubris
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus
Downy Woodpecker – Picoides pubescens
Pileated Woodpecker – Dryocopus pileatus
Great Crested Flycatcher – Myiarchus crinitus
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
Carolina Chickadee – Poecile carolinensis
Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor
Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – Polioptila caerulea
Gray Catbird – Dumetella carolinensis
Brown Thrasher – Toxostoma rufum
Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos
Cedar Waxwing – Bombycilla cedrorum
Common Yellowthroat – Geothlypis trichas
American Redstart – Setophaga ruticilla
Northern Parula – Setophaga americana
Black-throated Blue Warbler – Setophaga caerulescens
Pine Warbler – Setophaga pinus
Prairie Warbler – Setophaga discolor
Eastern Towhee – Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis
Indigo Bunting – Passerina cyanea
Bobolink – Dolichonyx oryzivorus
Red-winged Blackbird – Agelaius phoeniceus
Common Grackle – Quiscalus quiscula
Boat-tailed Grackle – Quiscalus major
House Sparrow – Passer domesticus

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, Volusia Birding | Leave a comment

Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, April 2015

In April I birded at 10 different spots to add to my 2015 green year list. I ended up with 93 different species total for April, with 73 found at Gemini Springs (previous April Gemini Springs totals: 68 in 2014; 55 in 2013; and 67 in 2012).

I added 12 new species to my year list: Prothonotary Warbler was a shocker at home; Black-necked Stilt, Solitary Sandpiper, Least Tern, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and longtime nemesis Worm-eating Warbler at Gemini Springs; Chimney Swift along the Spring-to-spring Trail; Northern Bobwhite, Florida Scrub-Jay, and Red-headed Woodpecker at a new-to-me spot, the Quail Lakes Powerline Trails; and Yellow-billed Cuckoo and American Redstart at Audubon Park.

Here are some photographic highlights from my green birding outings in April!

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Bald Eagle at Gemini Springs | 01 April 2015

Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
Virginia Opossum at Gemini Springs | 01 April 2015

Barred Owl (Strix varia)
Barred Owl at Gemini Springs | 04 April 2015

Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Cedar Waxwings at Gemini Springs | 04 April 2015

Indigo Buntings (Passerina cyanea)
Indigo Buntings at home | 06 April 2015 (photo by Arthur)

Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea)
Prothonotary Warbler at home | 06 April 2015

07APR_bnst
Black-necked Stilt at Gemini Springs | 07 April 2015

wedding
Wedding at Gemini Springs | 11 April 2015

On April 13th I biked to northern DeBary to check out a spot I had seen a fellow eBirder visiting on occasion (from eBird alerts for birds I was missing for Volusia County). Via email the birder kindly gave me some intel on access to the trails at Quail Lakes, and I was pleased to be able to add my two target species: Florida Scrub-Jay and Red-headed Woodpecker. Northern Bobwhite and my lifer green Florida Softshell Turtle were bonus sightings at this spot which was about a 15 mile round trip ride.

Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens)
Florida Scrub-Jay at Quail Lakes | 13 April 2015

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)
Sandhill Crane at Quail Lakes | 13 April 2015

Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox)
Florida Softshell Turtle at Quail Lakes | 13 April 2015

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
Little Blue Herons at Gemini Springs | 14 April 2015

sunrise
Sunrise at Gemini Springs | 15 April 2015

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)
Painted Bunting at home | 15 April 2015

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at Audubon Park | 17 April 2015

North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis)
American River Otter at Audubon Park | 17 April 2015

Southern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus)
Southern Black Racer at Gemini Springs | 20 April 2015

Marsh Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris)
Marsh Rabbit at Gemini Springs | 20 April 2015

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)
Tricolored Heron at Gemini Springs | 20 April 2015

Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)
Spotted Sandpiper at Gemini Springs | 21 April 2015

At the end of the month, Arthur’s cousin visited us with her husband and two kids. We walked at Gemini Springs on their first afternoon with us and the local patch delivered! I haven’t seen a group of more than two Barred Owls all spring, but we managed to find two babies being attended by two adults during our short walk. Lifer owls all around! Then a group of three Swallow-tailed Kites soared above. What? I rarely see kites at Gemini Springs — here’s a group of three?! The first alligator and Osprey of the trip were also spotted here before we left.

Barred Owl (Strix varia)
Barred Owl family at Gemini Springs | 24 April 2015

Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus)
Swallow-tailed Kite at Gemini Springs | 24 April 2015

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, Volusia Birding | 3 Comments

Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, March 2015

In March I visited 11 different birding spots to add to my 2015 green year list. Birds at home and some seen along the way while I was biking also contributed to my monthly total of 97 green species for March.

I added 13 new birds to the year list: Rock Pigeon at Lake Monroe Park; Marsh Wren, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Purple Martin, Red-eyed Vireo, and Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at Gemini Springs; Swallow-tailed Kite in DeBary; European Starling and White-winged Dove at Dewey Boster Park; Common Ground-Dove at River City Nature Park; Indigo Bunting, Great Crested Flycatcher, and Brown-headed Cowbird at home. I had biked to Dewey Boster Park in hopes of finding Red-headed Woodpecker in addition to the doves, but I was skunked. That trip was about 13 miles round trip (about the same to Audubon Park).

At Gemini Springs I had 81 species in 14 visits. Previous March totals: 69 in 2014; 79 in 2013; and 66 in 2012.

Here are some photographic highlights from my green birding outings in March!

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
Northern Mockingbird at River City Nature Park | 09-MAR-15

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Red-shouldered Hawk at River City Nature Park | 09-MAR-15

Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Cedar Waxwings at Green Spring Park | 16-MAR-15

Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)
Ebony Jewelwing at Green Spring Park | 16-MAR-15

Green Spring Park
Green Spring Park | 16-MAR-15

Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
Common Snapping Turtle at Gemini Springs | 18-MAR-15

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)
White Ibis flock flying over Gemini Springs | 18-MAR-15

Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)
Green Anole at Audubon Park | 20-MAR-15

Luna Moth (Actias luna)
Luna Moth (deceased) at Audubon Park | 20-MAR-15

Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus)
Swallow-tailed Kite at Audubon Park | 20-MAR-15

On March 27th I had a short walk in the late afternoon at Gemini Springs. As I walked out onto the fishing pier, a gentleman in a Volusia County polo pointed out a snake in the water. Later we saw a different snake on the other side of the pier. I have only seen water snakes at Gemini Springs a handful of times so I thought seeing two was quite remarkable. But then there was another snake sunning itself on the dam. I think they might all be Florida Water Snakes. All three snakes had a different look, but this species does have a lot of variability in pattern and color. Here are two of them:

Florida Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata pictiventris)
Florida Water Snake at Gemini Springs | 27-MAR-15

Florida Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata pictiventris)
Florida Water Snake at Gemini Springs | 27-MAR-15

Chipping Sparrows (Spizella passerina)
Chipping Sparrows at Gemini Springs | 29-MAR-15

Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis)
Sandhill Cranes flying over Gemini Springs | 27-MAR-15

On March 30th I found a fledgeling Barred Owl, along with one of its parents. The baby flew across the forest, but made a poor landing and ended up hanging upside-down from a branch. The parent looked on, and so did I. Eventually the baby managed to upright itself.

Barred Owl (Strix varia)
Barred Owl fledgeling at Gemini Springs | 30-MAR-15

Prairie Warbler (Setophaga discolor)
Prairie Warbler at Gemini Springs | 30-MAR-15

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Osprey at Gemini Springs | 31-MAR-15

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Red Admiral at Gemini Springs | 31-MAR-15

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, Volusia Birding | Leave a comment

Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, February 2015

Just like January, I birded at Gemini Springs 15 times last month. I wanted to complete the February eBirder of the Month Challenge by submitting 20 checklists from a single patch, but I didn’t make it. About halfway through the month I realized the challenge was making me antsy so I just let it go.

I recorded 77 species at the park for the month. Previous February totals: 73 in 2014; 74 in 2013; and 60 in 2012. The complete list for February 2015 is at the end of this post.

For my green list, I had 87 species for the month. I added 9 species to my year’s green list, including Spotted Sandpiper and Greater Yellowlegs at Konomac Lake, Merlin and Field Sparrow at Gemini Springs, and Eastern Towhee at Audubon Park.

Here are some photographic highlights of my February 2015 green birding in southwest Volusia County.

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Snowy Egret at Gemini Springs | 03 February 2015

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
Confiding Gray Catbird at Gemini Springs | 06 February 2015

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)
Wood Stork flying over Gemini Springs | 06 February 2015

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
Loggerhead Shrike at Konomac Lake | 07 February 2015

I hear Sandhill Cranes from time to time from Gemini Springs, and I’ve seen them fly over a handful of times, but I think the sighting on February 9th this year was the first time I have seen these birds actively feeding at the park. It was nice to see this group of four that ended up being a one-day wonder.

Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes at Gemini Springs | 09 February 2015

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)
Chipping Sparrow at Gemini Springs | 15 February 2015

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
Eastern Phoebe at Gemini Springs | 16 February 2015

On the 16th I noticed a Virginia Opossum walking along a path next to the dog park at Gemini Springs. I waited for it to have a good lead and then I followed its trail — walking a little part of the park I never had before. Thanks for the discovery, opo! ๐Ÿ™‚

Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
Virginia Opossum at Gemini Springs | 16 February 2015

Merlin (Falco columbarius)
Merlin perched over the sinkhole at Gemini Springs | 16 February 2015

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
White-tailed Deer at Audubon Park | 20 February 2015

Mallards hanging out in the flooded sinkhole were a surprise during the month. I first saw them on the 11th. I recorded them a few more times before the month was over. I already got a kick out of seeing waders feeding in the flooded area, but watching ducks swim around above a sidewalk I’ve walked hundreds of times was somewhat unreal.

Mallards w/ Snowy Egret
Mallards with Snowy Egret in the sinkhole at Gemini Springs | 22 February 2015

It was a good month, but I’m excited for the migrants that will be passing through in the coming weeks. The hot summer that follows, not so much. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Warblers, bring ’em on!!

Gemini Springs bird list, February 2015
Mallard (Domestic type) – Anas platyrhynchos
Lesser Scaup – Aythya affinis
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
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
Sharp-shinned Hawk – Accipiter striatus
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 – Grus canadensis
Ring-billed Gull – Larus delawarensis
Caspian Tern – Hydroprogne caspia
Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura
Belted Kingfisher – Megaceryle alcyon
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
Merlin – Falco columbarius
Eastern Phoebe – Sayornis phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike – Lanius ludovicianus
White-eyed Vireo – Vireo griseus
Blue-headed Vireo – Vireo solitarius
Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata
American Crow – Corvus brachyrhynchos
Fish Crow – Corvus ossifragus
Tree Swallow – Tachycineta bicolor
Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor
House Wren – Troglodytes aedon
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
Brown Thrasher – Toxostoma rufum
Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos
Cedar Waxwing – Bombycilla cedrorum
Ovenbird – Seiurus aurocapilla
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
Chipping Sparrow – Spizella passerina
Field Sparrow – Spizella pusilla
Savannah Sparrow – Passerculus sandwichensis
Swamp Sparrow – Melospiza georgiana
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

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in Gemini Springs, Volusia Birding | Leave a comment

Suburban Bird Counting – Ponce Inlet CBC

On January 3rd Arthur and I joined in the Ponce Inlet CBC for the first time. The count seems to be heavily associated with the Southeast Volusia Audubon Society; it was our first time joining this group in any way. We had a lot of fun!

We were assigned to join Dennis and Barb, who were working their part of the count circle for the second year in a row. Thanks to the scouting work they had done in the previous week, we were able to find some good birds. We were happy to see some parts of our county with which we were not previously familiar as well. In the end, though, the best bird of the day was much-wanted county lifer well outside of our count area.

Here are some photographic highlights of our day of bird counting for the Ponce Inlet CBC!

We did a lot of birding-by-car through large subdivisions in Port Orange. We started out at the entrance of a development where one of our first birds was a group of Eastern Bluebirds. Incredibly this was a species I managed to miss in the county during 2014 completely, so I was happy to add it to my Volusia list so early.

Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis)
Eastern Bluebirds in harsh light

Late in the morning we visited Coraci Park in Port Orange. Our target here was Eastern Meadowlark. When we arrived, there were several cars parked on the dead-end road outside of the gated park. It was not clear why the county park’s gate was closed, but there were several people enjoying the park’s amenities, despite the gated entrance. One visitor walked with a loose dog, ignoring the “No Pets Allowed” signage.

no pets allowed
Clearly marked at Coraci Park

As we looked for the elusive meadowlarks in the park, Arthur and I heard the birds singing their unmistakeable song across the road. We continued to look and found a distant bird outside the park boundary. Meanwhile, the dog-walker left the park. Almost immediately after he and his dog got into their car, seven Eastern Meadowlarks flew in to a mowed area inside the park boundary. I was especially excited to see this species as it was another that I completely missed during the previous year.

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)
Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)
Eastern Meadowlarks

While we were enjoying the nice looks at the feeding birds, another jerk with a dog started to walk into the park. Upon seeing our party of four intently staring at a seemingly empty grass lawn through our binoculars, he asked what we were looking at. After a beat no one had spoken, so I said, “we’re looking at the no pets allowed sign.” I was livid and I couldn’t help myself. The birds seemed less spooked by this ass’s dog (maybe because it was leashed, unlike the previous dog) and didn’t fly off as he continued into the park, past us and the sign, with his dog. He said something flip like “must be an interesting sign” or some such B.S. Oh man, I was so mad! It felt a little bit good to have at least said something. I am so not built for confrontation.

no pets allowed, ass
An ass and his dog

In the unseasonable heat we had a little stroll here and added some more birds to our list for the day, including another pair of Eastern Bluebirds.

After lunch we visited Cracker Creek, where we walked a fairly birdless trail in a fruitless search for woodpeckers or pretty much anything else. Dennis had parked the car in an open area where we watched a Gopher Tortoise for a moment before setting off on our walk. When we returned to the car, we were all shocked to find the windshield cracked along the driver’s side. After some thought and investigation, foul play was ruled out. Our best guess was that a pine cone fell from the trees above and hit the windshield at a most unfortunate angle. What a lousy bit of luck!

Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)
Our potential witness was nowhere to be found when we returned to the car.

In the late afternoon we returned to the subdivision where we had started our day. There was a lot of activity in a retention pond, so we headed to a bench along the water to take in the action. We saw a large concentration of waders here, plus at least three Bald Eagles flying about and overseeing the area. It was a nice way to wind down from the day of running around counting birds. We saw a Great Blue Heron struggle with a big fish (he managed to eat it). Dozens of Cormorants swam in the pond, all actively fishing.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Great Blue Heron with catch

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
An adult Bald Eagle watches the action

After a short rest nearby at Dennis and Barb’s house, we headed back to the morning’s meeting place to pick up our own car and head to the CBC dinner. Upon our arrival at the parking lot, Arthur shouted out that there was a group of frigatebirds flying overhead. What the what?! I saw them right away, but I couldn’t wrap my head around what I was seeing. A group of five Magnificent Frigatebirds?!? In Volusia County?! That’s not possible! Magnificent Frigatebird was one of my most-wanted county birds — rare sightings usually consist of single, unchaseable birds. A group of five was completely unheard of so when I first saw the unmistakeable silhouettes of five frigatebirds riding the thermals overhead my mind tried to turn them into anything else. Once Dennis got the car parked and we all jumped out, I could no longer deny that there was a freaking FLOCK of freaking Magnificent Frigatebirds gracefully floating above us right there in New Smyrna Beach, Volusia County.

Magnificent Frigatebirds (Fregata magnificens)
Magnificent Frigatebird!

Magnificent Frigatebirds (Fregata magnificens)
Magnificent Frigatebirds!

When we met up with the count group at the restaurant, I asked the trip leader who was responsible for the count area at the meet-up parking lot. We arrived fairly late and I thought we might have been the only lucky S.O.B.s to see the frigatebirds. But the reply to my query was simply, “oh, did you see the frigatebirds?!” so I knew the birds had been seen by others. In fact, “Magnificent Frigatebirds” was being whispered among our group the entire time. It seems this species was “most wanted” by more than just me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Share the birds, share the love!
Posted in CBC, Volusia Birding | Leave a comment