Category Archives: Volusia Birding

Birding Gemini Springs November 2012

I’ve missed doing my regular round-up posts about Gemini Springs, my local patch, since my last report for May 2012. I didn’t get out too much during the summer and I was gone for the entire month of October, but I managed six checklists for November. So it seems like now is a good time to start up once again.

During the month, I saw 57 different species at Gemini Springs, compared to 48 species during November last year (also six checklists). I’m up to 102 species for the year at Gemini Springs. During November I added Sharp-shinned Hawk, Northern Flicker, American Kestrel, and Loggerhead Shrike to my patch year list. The complete list is below.

On November 10th I saw a large pile of scat along the path I call “warbler alley.” I took a photo with my keys in it for some scale and posted on Facebook using my smartphone. Within minutes some online friends confirmed that it was indeed bear poop, my first at Gemini Springs. The next time I went out, I found a bunch more. I don’t know if bears are suddenly hanging around the park (they are certainly in our town but I thought there were more on the other side of US17/US92) or if I just never happened to notice piles of bear scat around before last month. I also noticed two raided nests in the area, which I suspect may have been raided by bears.

bear poop
Florida Black Bear scat, 10 November 2012

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe, 10 November 2012

On November 21st I saw one of the Bald Eagles fly in to land on a utility pole. Her (guess) talons were empty but as soon as she landed on the pole, she started to eat something. Maybe a gift cached there from her mate? Later that morning I saw her perched on a different pole. Her mate flew over and I was hoping very badly that they might fly together, because I’m just dying to see this.

Bald Eagle noms
Bald Eagle eating cached food, 21 November 2012

White Peacock
White Peacock, 21 November 2012

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk, 21 November 2012

Fiery Skipper
Fiery Skipper, 21 November 2012

Limpkin ballet
Preening Limpkin, 21 November 2012

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle, 21 November 2012 | I edited out a utility wire from the background of this picture

hummingbird impression
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher hummingbird impression, 26 November 2012

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron, 26 November 2012

hovercraft
Levitating Pileated Woodpecker, 26 November 2012

Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker silhouette, 28 November 2012

Loggerhead Shrike
Distant Loggerhead Shrike, 28 November 2012

Northern Mockingbird
Desaturated Northern Mockingbird, 28 November 2012

Gemini Springs bird list, November 2012
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
White Ibis – Eudocimus albus
Black Vulture – Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture – Cathartes aura
Osprey – Pandion haliaetus
Sharp-shinned Hawk – Accipiter striatus
Cooper’s Hawk – Accipiter cooperii
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
Killdeer – Charadrius vociferus
Caspian Tern – Hydroprogne caspia
Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura
Belted Kingfisher – Megaceryle alcyon
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Sphyrapicus varius
Northern Flicker – Colaptes auratus
Pileated Woodpecker – Dryocopus pileatus
American Kestrel – Falco sparverius
Eastern Phoebe – Sayornis phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike – Lanius ludovicianus
White-eyed Vireo – Vireo griseus
Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata
American Crow – Corvus brachyrhynchos
Fish Crow – Corvus ossifragus
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
American Robin – Turdus migratorius
Gray Catbird – Dumetella carolinensis
Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos
Common Yellowthroat – Geothlypis trichas
Palm Warbler – Setophaga palmarum
Yellow-rumped Warbler – Setophaga coronata
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

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Just over the border (county birder blues)

On October 19th, while Arthur and I were visiting my parents in northern Illinois, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was reported at the Willow Hill Golf Course in Northbrook. As this was just about 30 minutes from my parents house, we hopped in the car and headed out for the bird, which would be a lifer for us both. The bird proved easy to find, and though the sun was close to setting, I managed to take a record shot.

just an eBird record shot

I had set a little goal to try to find 100 species of bird in Lake County for the year. I had gotten to 83 in May and by October 19 I still needed two more birds. As we set off for the Northbrook flycatcher, I had it in my mind that I’d be adding not only a lifer, but a county bird, too. Northbrook borders Lake County but as we drove across Lake-Cook Road on our way to the golf course I realized the flycatcher was firmly in Cook County. Three miles firmly. A crazy county-birder thought, yes, but I was a little bummed as we crossed into Cook.

We returned home at the end of October, and on November 2nd I was happy to learn that a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was seen in a Volusia County portion of Merritt Island NWR. Arthur and I headed out late in the afternoon the next day. We didn’t know exactly where to go but thanks to some help from a pair of extremely nice birders who were on the same twitch, we were able to see the flycatcher. Again it was late in the day and the light was poor, but I managed a record shot.

just an eBird record shot

I had been using BirdLog to enter my bird sightings as we walked from the parking area to the spot where the flycatcher was seen. In the end my list had 21 species on it. I asked Arthur to mark the spot where we saw the flycatcher using his iPhone map. ARGH!! I had to split my eBird list. Twenty for Volusia. The flycatcher was .4 miles over the border, in Brevard. Bummer x2.

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My 2012 June Challenge results

I first learned about the June Challenge last year, but our move to Florida was too late in the month for me to participate. This year I set a goal of 75 species, which I reached — just! The complete list is at the end of this post.

Northern Bobwhite
June Challenge birds must be seen; I was lucky to see this Northern Bobwhite as they are more often heard-only on my checklists

Part of the point of the challenge is to get birders out in the field in a hot, traditionally boring time of year for birding. The heat got to me, I admit, and I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked. In the end I added 30 checklists to eBird in June, and a few of those were incidentals to add species expressly for the challenge (like the single-bird lists featuring Common Nighthawk, House Sparrow, and European Starling — all seen in parking lots).

baby Florida Scrub-Jay
I went to Lyonia Preserve to look for Florida Scrub-Jays and was delighted to find several babies

Another point of the challenge is to get birders to try new birding locations. I birded three new-to-me spots in Volusia: Heart Island Conservation Area; Palm Bluff; and Lake Ashby Park. Each brought me at least one species seen nowhere else during June, and as a bonus I got some new scenery in an otherwise “boring” month.

Limpkin
The only Limpkin I saw all month was at Lake Ashby Park

I studied eBird checklists to determine some target species. Two species were surprises because they weren’t recorded by other Volusia eBirders in recent Junes: Barn Swallow and Least Bittern. My best birds were Common Nighthawk, new to my Volusia list, and year birds Black-crowned Night-Heron and Great Shearwater (seen offshore during strong east winds). I added a few birds in the last week by specifically seeking them in suitable habitat. In this way I picked up Common Ground-Dove, Loggerhead Shrike, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird. If I had taken the time I very likely could have gotten Eurasian Collared-Dove, Bachman’s Sparrow, and House Finch. My biggest misses were Glossy Ibis and Wild Turkey. I just didn’t get out enough. Without the push of the Challenge, though, I surely wouldn’t have seen this many birds during June. Maybe next year I will try for 80…?

June Challenge List 2012

1 Double-crested Cormorant – Phalacrocorax auritus
2 Brown Pelican – Pelecanus occidentalis
3 Osprey – Pandion haliaetus
4 Laughing Gull – Leucophaeus atricilla
5 Least Tern – Sternula antillarum
6 Royal Tern – Thalasseus maximus
7 Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura
8 Fish Crow – Corvus ossifragus
9 Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis
10 Red-winged Blackbird – Agelaius phoeniceus
11 Boat-tailed Grackle – Quiscalus major
12 Great Egret – Ardea alba
13 Snowy Egret – Egretta thula
14 Tricolored Heron – Egretta tricolor
15 Reddish Egret – Egretta rufescens
16 Cattle Egret – Bubulcus ibis
17 American Oystercatcher – Haematopus palliatus
18 Rock Pigeon – Columba livia
19 White Ibis – Eudocimus albus
20 Red-shouldered Hawk – Buteo lineatus
21 Common Gallinule – Gallinula galeata
22 Barred Owl – Strix varia
23 Red-bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus
24 Downy Woodpecker – Picoides pubescens
25 Pileated Woodpecker – Dryocopus pileatus
26 Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata
27 American Crow – Corvus brachyrhynchos
28 Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor
29 Northern Parula – Setophaga americana
30 Anhinga – Anhinga anhinga
31 Great Blue Heron – Ardea herodias
32 Black Vulture – Coragyps atratus
33 Carolina Chickadee – Poecile carolinensis
34 Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus
35 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – Polioptila caerulea
36 Turkey Vulture – Cathartes aura
37 Great Crested Flycatcher – Myiarchus crinitus
38 White-eyed Vireo – Vireo griseus
39 Red-eyed Vireo – Vireo olivaceus
40 Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos
41 Brown Thrasher – Toxostoma rufum
42 Brown-headed Nuthatch – Sitta pusilla
43 Eastern Towhee – Pipilo erythrophthalmus
44 Red-tailed Hawk – Buteo jamaicensis
45 Sandhill Crane – Grus canadensis
46 Eastern Bluebird – Sialia sialis
47 Yellow-throated Warbler – Setophaga dominica
48 Wood Duck – Aix sponsa
49 Wood Stork – Mycteria americana
50 Little Blue Heron – Egretta caerulea
51 Limpkin – Aramus guarauna
52 Cooper’s Hawk – Accipiter cooperii
53 Northern Bobwhite – Colinus virginianus
54 Green Heron – Butorides virescens
55 American Coot – Fulica americana
56 Killdeer – Charadrius vociferus
57 Sandwich Tern – Thalasseus sandvicensis
58 Chimney Swift – Chaetura pelagica
59 Common Yellowthroat – Geothlypis trichas
60 Common Grackle – Quiscalus quiscula
61 Common Nighthawk – Chordeiles minor
62 House Sparrow – Passer domesticus
63 Red-headed Woodpecker – Melanerpes erythrocephalus
64 Florida Scrub-Jay – Aphelocoma coerulescens
65 European Starling – Sturnus vulgaris
66 Great Shearwater – Puffinus gravis
67 Ruddy Turnstone – Arenaria interpres
68 Black-crowned Night-Heron – Nycticorax nycticorax
69 Barn Swallow – Hirundo rustica
70 Swallow-tailed Kite – Elanoides forficatus
71 Roseate Spoonbill – Platalea ajaja
72 Common Ground-Dove – Columbina passerina
73 Loggerhead Shrike – Lanius ludovicianus
74 Least Bittern – Ixobrychus exilis
75 Ruby-throated Hummingbird – Archilochus colubris

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Crab hunting at Spruce Creek

Late last month, Arthur and I visited Spruce Creek Park in Port Orange. It was hot and birds were keeping a low profile. Once we climbed up the 15-foot observation tower we had a very nice view over the property. I spotted a heron sitting on a picnic table below us, and did a double-take when I realized it was a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron.

feeling peckish

The bird hopped off the table and proceeded to successfully hunt a large amount of crabs in the mud.

let's do this!

hunting

om nom nom

Timestamps on my photos tell me we watched the heron hunting for about a half hour, and I would guess it caught and ate a crab or other tasty morsel at least every two minutes.

hunting

hunting

We climbed down the tower and proceeded with our hot mid-morning walk. Later we came across another YCNH, this one awkwardly perched on top of some kind of weather apparatus (I think). It didn’t stay perched long.

awkward in black and white

bye

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Scrub-Jays at Lyonia Preserve

Florida Scrub Jay

The Florida Scrub-Jay is the official city bird of Deltona, Florida. Not many cities have official birds, but in this case it seems appropriate considering Deltona is home to Lyonia Preserve, which is in turn home to several families of the endangered Florida endemic. I think it’s safe to say that a hike through the scrub habitat at the preserve will reward birders with a Scrub-Jay encounter more often than not.

Florida Scrub Jay

Florida Scrub Jay

On a walk at the park last month, Arthur and I counted at least 9 individuals, some of whom were kind enough to pose for photos.

Florida Scrub Jay

Florida Scrub Jay

Like most corvids, Florida Scrub-Jays are highly intelligent, and extremely curious. They are also known to be tame, but this trait can be a serious problem for this endangered species. Although they may approach humans for food, people should never feed wild Florida Scrub-Jays. Habituation to humans is unsafe for a variety of reasons, one of which is that being provided food not normally available in their natural habitat can be disruptive to healthy development of growing chicks.

Florida Scrub Jay
Many of the jays at Lyonia sport color bands

Earlier this year, Arthur noted an online announcement for a field trip hosted by a local Meetup group: Lyonia Preserve: Hike. The main purpose of this trip was to “do a short hike and feed the Scrub Jays” (emphasis mine). Participants were advised to bring along pine nuts. What the HELL? Unfortunately, the fact that feeding Florida Scrub-Jays is bad for the birds, not to mention illegal, does not discourage some people from this practice. When we visit Lyonia, we are thrilled with every bird sighting and every natural, un-baited Scrub-Jay encounter.

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Birding Gemini Springs, May 2012

I birded Gemini Springs five times during May, tallying just 45 species for the month.

A lot of my birding time at the park was spent watching a family of Barred Owls and a pair of Red-shouldered Hawk fledglings. I will have some separate follow up posts with these birds of prey in the coming days. The photos below represent the non-baby-raptor highlights from May.

New for the year list: Swallow-tailed Kite; Northern Bobwhite (heard only; may have heard them earlier but not noted); Roseate Spoonbill (flyovers – first ever for my Gemini Springs list); Ruby-throated Hummingbird (another Gemini Springs all-time first for me). The complete list is at the end of this post.

Anhinga
Anhinga | 2 May 2012

Black-and-white Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler | 2 May 2012

Anhinga
Anhinga | 4 May 2012

Gulf Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary | 4 May 2012

itchy
Great Blue Heron | 4 May 2012

RBWO
Red-bellied Woodpecker | 4 May 2012

Raptors were not the only juvenile birds I saw at Gemini Springs in May. On the 4th, a family of Pileated Woodpeckers worked a few trees together, traveling from trunk to trunk.

PIWO
Pileated Woodpeckers | 4 May 2012

PIWO
Young Pileated Woodpecker | 4 May 2012

Gemini Springs
Foggy morning | 7 May 2012

Gemini Springs
Foggy morning | 7 May 2012

Common Snapping Turtle
Common Snapping Turtle | 7 May 2012

Great Crested Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher with prey | 27 May 2012

May 2012 bird list, Gemini Springs

Northern Bobwhite – Colinus virginianus
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
Green Heron – Butorides virescens
White Ibis – Eudocimus albus
Glossy Ibis – Plegadis falcinellus
Roseate Spoonbill – Platalea ajaja
Black Vulture – Coragyps atratus
Osprey – Pandion haliaetus
Swallow-tailed Kite – Elanoides forficatus
Bald Eagle – Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Red-shouldered Hawk – Buteo lineatus
Common Gallinule – Gallinula galeata
American Coot – Fulica americana
Sandhill Crane – Grus canadensis
Black-necked Stilt – Himantopus mexicanus
Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura
Barred Owl – Strix varia
Ruby-throated Hummingbird – Archilochus colubris
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus
Downy Woodpecker – Picoides pubescens
Pileated Woodpecker – Dryocopus pileatus
Great Crested Flycatcher – Myiarchus crinitus
Red-eyed Vireo – Vireo olivaceus
Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata
Fish Crow – Corvus ossifragus
Carolina Chickadee – Poecile carolinensis
Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor
Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – Polioptila caerulea
Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos
Brown Thrasher – Toxostoma rufum
Black-and-white Warbler – Mniotilta varia
Common Yellowthroat – Geothlypis trichas
Northern Parula – Setophaga americana
Swamp Sparrow – Melospiza georgiana
Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis
Red-winged Blackbird – Agelaius phoeniceus
Common Grackle – Quiscalus quiscula
Boat-tailed Grackle – Quiscalus major

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Ubiquitous Tyrant

All of the photos in this post are from a 4 May 2012 Gemini Springs outing.

Great Crested Flycatcher

I saw my first Great Crested Flycatcher of the year on March 27th, in our neighbor’s yard. About a month later, Arthur and I had some excitement when we spotted a pair of them checking a large nestbox we had put up in our back yard. When we purchased the Screech Owl box, I learned which other birds might use it – the list included a few woodpecker species and the Great Crested. So when I saw a pair flitting about in our yard, I stopped to watch them, and silently willed them to head towards the right tree. I was so excited to watch them explore the box!

Great Crested Flycatcher

The birds were eventually chased out by squirrels (who’s the tyrant?!), but we still see and hear these large flycatchers in our yard and neighborhood frequently.

Great Crested Flycatcher

Great Cresteds were among the 83 species I saw during my recent trip to northern Illinois. A pair of birds was exploring a few natural, woodpecker-carved cavities in trees along the Des Plaines River at Ryerson Conservation Area. Some in our group were skeptical that they nested in cavities… but I knew. ๐Ÿ™‚ Ryerson is where I first recorded this species on my life list, back in 2009.

Great Crested Flycatcher

My most recent sighting occurred this afternoon during my volunteer shift at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey. I followed a pair as they flew among the trees behind a row of hawk mews. Wouldn’t it be great if they were nesting there?

Great Crested getaway

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Barred Owls growing up

I continued to visit the Barred Owl family at Gemini Springs as much as I could last month. And I took a lot of photos. You have been warned. ๐Ÿ™‚

baby Barred Owls
both babies | 16 April 2012

On April 20th I was kind of surprised to find one of the adults feeding a baby. Earlier I had seen adults delivering small prey items to the babies but this meal seemed to be a large rat or maybe a pocket gopher. The adult bit off pieces and fed them to the baby.

Barred Owl adult feeding baby
begging baby | 20 April 2012

Barred Owl adult feeding baby
Barred Owl feeding baby | 20 April 2012

got yer nose
“got your nose!!” | 20 April 2012

feeding baby | 20 April 2012

When they were done, the adult flew off with the remains of the prey and perched on her own, away from the baby.

Barred Owl
a break after feeding baby | 20 April 2012

Four days later I was watching the Red-shouldered Hawk nest, which is in a different part of the park than where I generally find the Barred Owls. I was taking photos of baby Red-shouldered Hawks when I suddenly heard the unmistakeable hiss of a baby Barred Owl coming from just behind where I was standing. After a bit of searching, I found one baby and one adult Barred Owl.

baby Barred Owl dead center
here baby sits dead center in the frame | 24 April 2012

baby Barred Owl
baby Barred Owl | 24 April 2012

baby Barred Owl
baby Barred Owl | 24 April 2012

This location is about 350 yards from the usual Barred Owl spot. I don’t know if the babies are strong fliers at this age (which I don’t really know, exactly). Could the baby have flown all the way to this new spot? If not, would two families of Barred Owls nest so close together? Arthur and I had seen one adult Barred Owl in this area once before. Hmm.

Barred Owls
baby Barred Owl with parent | 24 April 2012

During my next two visits, on April 29th and 30th, I found all four family members back in the area where I originally found them. I noticed that one of the babies stayed very close to an adult, while the other baby had ventured off on its own to explore. The meek baby showed great alarm when a dog-walker passed by, even clacking its beak and scrambling along a branch to be closer to its parent. The other baby spent all of its time looking around, seemingly on the hunt.

baby Barred Owl
bold baby Barred Owl | 29 April 2012

baby Barred Owl
bold baby Barred Owl | 29 April 2012


bold baby Barred Owl | 29 April 2012

baby Barred Owl
shy baby Barred Owl | 29 April 2012

baby Barred Owl
shy baby Barred Owl | 29 April 2012

I’ve had so much fun watching this beautiful family of owls. I hope I’ll be able to continue locating and observing them as they grow up.

Barred Owl (bold baby)
bold baby Barred Owl | 30 April 2012

Barred Owl (shy baby)
shy baby Barred Owl | 30 April 2012

Barred Owls (shy baby & parent (mom?))
shy baby Barred Owl with adult (mom?) | 30 April 2012


preening Barred Owl (dad?) | 30 April 2012

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Birding Gemini Springs, April 2012 [part 2]

I entered 13 eBird checklists for Gemini Springs in April, recording a total of 67 species. The complete list of 67 birds is at the end of this post.

I posted about the birding Gemini Springs during the first half of April here: Birding Gemini Springs, April 2012 [part 1]. For this second post, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Blue Jay
Blue Jay; April 16 2012

Common Gallinule
Common Gallinule; April 20 2012

American Alligator
American Alligator; April 20 2012

Polistes annularis
Polistes annularis (paper wasps); April 20 2012

Polistes annularis
Polistes annularis (paper wasps); April 20 2012

skipper
Common Checkered Skipper or White Checkered Skipper; April 23 2012

thistle
thistle; April 23 2012

goof
blogger; April 23 2012

Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey; April 27 2012

Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird – suddenly they were all over the park; April 27 2012

Southern Black Racer
Southern Black Racer peekaboo; April 27 2012

baby Northern Parula
baby Northern Parula; April 29 2012

Boat-tailed Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle; April 29 2012

Anhinga
Anhinga; April 30 2012

Indigo Bunting
Indigo Bunting; April 30 2012

April 2012 bird list, Gemini Springs

Wood Duck – Aix sponsa
Blue-winged Teal – Anas discors
Green-winged Teal – Anas crecca
Wild Turkey – Meleagris gallopavo
Wood Stork – Mycteria americana
Double-crested Cormorant – Phalacrocorax auritus
Anhinga – Anhinga anhinga
American Bittern – Botaurus lentiginosus
Least Bittern – Ixobrychus exilis
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
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron – Nyctanassa violacea
White Ibis – Eudocimus albus
Glossy Ibis – Plegadis falcinellus
Black Vulture – Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture – Cathartes aura
Osprey – Pandion haliaetus
Bald Eagle – Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Northern Harrier – Circus cyaneus
Cooper’s Hawk – Accipiter cooperii
Red-shouldered Hawk – Buteo lineatus
Sora – Porzana carolina
Common Gallinule – Gallinula galeata
American Coot – Fulica americana
Limpkin – Aramus guarauna
Sandhill Crane – Grus canadensis
Killdeer – Charadrius vociferus
Black-necked Stilt – Himantopus mexicanus
Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura
Barred Owl – Strix varia
Chimney Swift – Chaetura pelagica
Belted Kingfisher – Megaceryle alcyon
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus
Downy Woodpecker – Picoides pubescens
Pileated Woodpecker – Dryocopus pileatus
Great Crested Flycatcher – Myiarchus crinitus
Eastern Kingbird – Tyrannus tyrannus
White-eyed Vireo – Vireo griseus
Red-eyed Vireo – Vireo olivaceus
Blue Jay – Cyanocitta cristata
Fish Crow – Corvus ossifragus
Barn Swallow – Hirundo rustica
Carolina Chickadee – Poecile carolinensis
Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor
Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus
Marsh Wren – Cistothorus palustris
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – Polioptila caerulea
Gray Catbird – Dumetella carolinensis
Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos
Brown Thrasher – Toxostoma rufum
Cedar Waxwing – Bombycilla cedrorum
Common Yellowthroat – Geothlypis trichas
American Redstart – Setophaga ruticilla
Northern Parula – Setophaga americana
Palm Warbler – Setophaga palmarum
Prairie Warbler – Setophaga discolor
Swamp Sparrow – Melospiza georgiana
Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis
Indigo Bunting – Passerina cyanea
Red-winged Blackbird – Agelaius phoeniceus
Common Grackle – Quiscalus quiscula
Boat-tailed Grackle – Quiscalus major

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Scenes from a Red-shouldered Hawk nest

After finding the Barred Owl family at Gemini Springs on April 10th, somehow I found myself at the park nearly every day that followed, just to get another look at my favorite birds. On April 11th Arthur and I overheard a park employee speaking with another visitor about a Red-shouldered Hawk nest. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that the nest was in rather plain view, but somehow I had missed it until it was pointed out to us with at least two babies inside already becoming independent though not yet fledged.

That first day, we only managed to see one baby, who looked to be very well fed (look at that crop!). The park employee told us there were two babies on the nest.

baby Red-shouldered Hawk
11 April 2012

baby Red-shouldered Hawk
11 April 2012

A few days later I watched one of the adults hunting. It caught and ate a bright green caterpillar but did not visit the nest while I was there.

parent Red-shouldered Hawk
13 April 2012

parent Red-shouldered Hawk
13 April 2012

On April 16 I finally saw both babies in the nest. Oh my, aren’t they cute?! And again looking well-fed.

baby Red-shouldered Hawks
16 April 2012

baby Red-shouldered Hawk
16 April 2012

Just four days later, they looked so different! I saw a parent deliver food to them a few times on this visit.

juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
20 April 2012

juvenile Red-shouldered Hawks
20 April 2012

Red-shouldered Hawk food delivery
20 April 2012

On April 23rd I again only managed to see one of the babies. I later learned via a Facebook acquaintance that one of the babies probably fledged that day.

juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
23 April 2012

On April 24th there was still one baby hanging out in the nest tree, possibly pre-fledge.

juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
24 April 2012

Today I lucked out by finding a juvenile fly into the nest tree with an adult. The adult took off immediately while the baby waited (and I got to take some photos).

juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
4 May 2012

juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
4 May 2012

Good luck, beautiful baby Red-shouldered Hawks!

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