Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, October 2015

Note: this post is back-dated.

In October I recorded 70 species over 8 checklists for my green birding list. I added three birds for the year: Blackburnian and Magnolia Warblers at Audubon Park and Northern Waterthrush at Gemini Springs. Last year I recorded 71 species in 10 trips to Gemini Springs.

During the month, Arthur and I celebrated our 15 year anniversary during a long weekend in Savannah, Georgia. We also got Disney passes about a month earlier and started to use them in earnest in October. And I ran my first 5K race on the 25th. It was already starting to happen (hello abandoned blog), but birding started to take a backseat in my life, unfortunately. Anyway, here are some photographic highlights from the month.

Barred Owl
Wet Barred Owl at Audubon Park | 04 OCT 2015

Blackburnian Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler record shot at Audubon Park | 04 OCT 2015

White Peacock
White Peacock at Audubon Park | 04 OCT 2015

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron at Gemini Springs | 06 OCT 2015

White Ibises
White Ibises at Gemini Springs | 06 OCT 2015

tiny frog sp?
tiny frog, species unknown, at Audubon Park | 16 OCT 2015

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Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, September 2015

Note: this post is back-dated.

In September I recorded 59 species over 15 checklists for my green birding list, adding three to the year list: Common Nighthawk, Yellow Warbler, and Eastern Wood-Pewee, all at Gemini Springs. In September 2014 I had 64 species at Gemini Springs; in September 2013 I had 56. Here are some photographic highlights from the month.

White-tailed Deer
White-tailed Deer at Brickyard Slough | 07 SEP 2015

White-eyed Vireo
White-eyed Vireo (tortured by Photoshop) at Brickyard Slough | 07 SEP 2015

Limpkin
Limpkin at Lake Monroe Boat Ramp | 07 SEP 2015

Red-shouldered Hawk
Young Red-shouldered Hawk at Gemini Springs | 09 SEP 2015

Eastern Kingbirds
Eastern Kingbirds at Gemini Springs | 14 SEP 2015

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker at Gemini Springs | 14 SEP 2015

On September 19th, Seminole Audubon had a walk at Gemini Springs. The focus was more on the springs and the flora of the park, but we managed to see some birds, too. My parents and Arthur joined the walk as well.

birders at Gemini Springs
Birders at Gemini Springs | 19 SEP 2015

Golden Orb Weaver
Golden Orb Weaver at Gemini Springs | 19 SEP 2015

Audubon Park
Boardwalk at Audubon Park | 20 SEP 2015

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Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, August 2015

Note this post is back-dated.

In August I recorded 63 species over 18 checklists for my green birding list, adding five to the year list: Yellow Warbler at home; Eastern Kingbird, King Rail, and Northern Rough-winged Swallow at Gemini Springs; and Hooded Warbler at Audubon Park. In August 2014 I had 31 species at Gemini Springs; in August 2013 I had 40. Here are some photographic highlights from the month.

Florida Scrub-Jay
Florida Scrub-Jay at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 03-AUG-15

On August 10th I biked to a new green spot: the Beck Ranch portion of Lake Monroe Conservation Area. I only saw 10 species during my visit but the park is a gateway to the much larger conservation area and a spot to check out again for sure. I did spend some time looking at the interpretive signs explaining the conversion of the property from a working cattle ranch to its current incarnation.

bike rack
Bike rack at Beck Ranch Park | 10-AUG-15

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker at Gemini Springs | 15-AUG-15

Wood Stork
Young Wood Stork at Audubon Park | 16-AUG-15

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane at Festival Park | 17-AUG-15

Carolina Wren
Carolina Wren at Gemini Springs | 19-AUG-15

The first Painted Bunting of the fall showed up in our yard on August 21st. He was a one-day wonder. Since then we have been seeing female-type birds a few times per week.

Painted Bunting
Painted Bunting in our yard | 21-AUG-15

Limpkin
Limpkin at Hickory Bluff Preserve | 24-AUG-15

On August 31st I was very surprised to find an extremely early American Robin at Gemini Springs. It was terribly overcast and the bird was distant but I managed to take an ID photo for eBird. While robins can be a sign of spring for northerners, they are a sign of fall and of the beginning of the end of migration excitement for us here in Florida. We typically start seeing flocks of American Robins arriving in central Florida in early to mid November.

American Robin for eBird
American Robin at Gemini Springs | 31-AUG-15

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Swallow-tailed Kite Madness in Sumter County

I usually see my first Swallow-tailed Kite of the year around my birthday at the end of February. And this time of year, the end of August, is when I usually see my last one for the year.

Swallow-tailed Kites are social birds. When they are getting ready for their fall migration to South America, the birds gather in large roosting and feeding flocks in the weeks prior to the epic flight. Large late-season flocks are known to occur at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge and Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area, among other spots.

One communal feeding site that has gotten the excited attention of birdwatchers during the last few years is located in rural Sumter County, Florida. All through July our local birding listservs are full of breathless reports from birders who have made the trek out to the melon fields of Wildwood. The birds tended to start arrive around 10AM and peak shortly thereafter; the big show would last an hour or more.

waiting for STKI
Birders waiting for the kites to arrive [photo by Arthur]

Arthur and I made the trip out to the melon fields on July 26th, along with my parents. We weren’t the only ones. And we were not disappointed. While cloud cover kept the birds from arriving at the usual time, once the skies cleared, the birds started to arrive.

Swallow-tailed Kite feeding flock
The skies cleared up. Look for the tiny dots in the distance — those are Swallow-tailed Kites!

I estimated that we saw about 350 birds during our visit. Watching them was a treat. They were there to feed, and it was relatively easy to see them catching flying insects and devouring them while on the wing.

Swallow-tailed Kites

Arthur took this video during the feeding frenzy:

We were also lucky to see (but not photograph) a Mississippi Kite flying among the Swallow-taileds — a Florida lifer for us all.

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Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, July 2015

I put 347 miles on my bike in July. I didn’t bird too much. I submitted 11 “green” checklists to eBird for a total of 56 species. Last year during July I only saw 31 species at Gemini Springs.

At the end of June a new segment of the East Regional Rail Trail opened, extending the path another 2.5 miles to Guise Road in Osteen. Hickory Bluff Preserve is about a mile further south on Guise Rd, so I visited there by bike in July. The park is rather small but nicely wooded. I didn’t see too much but it might be nice for migrants in a month or so. The southern part of the park is bordered by a pretty and quiet stretch of the St. Johns River.

The best bird of the month was the Louisiana Waterthrush our group found during Harry Robinson’s monthly walk at Audubon Park on July 19th. I’m a little embarrassed to say this was not only a new bird for my green list, but also for my LIFE LIST. I was very glad to have diagnostic looks at the little skulker; for some in our party I think it was heard-only.

Here are a few photographic highlights from birding around southwest Volusia County in July.

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Red-shouldered Hawk eating frog at Gemini Springs | 05-JUL-15

Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina)
Halloween Pennant at Audubon Park | 07-JUL-15

Quail Lakes Powerline Trails
Quail Lakes Powerline Trails in DeBary | 08-JUL-15

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
White-tailed Deer at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 08-JUL-15

Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)
Northern Bobwhite at Quail Lakes Powerline Trails | 08-JUL-15

St. Johns River at Hickory Bluff
St. Johns River at Hickory Bluff | 13-JUL-15

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Osprey at Hickory Bluff | 13-JUL-15

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at Audubon Park | 19-JUL-15

Great Egret (Ardea alba)
Great Egret at Audubon Park | 19-JUL-15

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Young Red-shouldered Hawk at Lake Monroe Park | 29-JUL-15

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Loss of a Nest

Barred Owls nest in a few spots at Gemini Springs. I never found the nest site of the first family I found at the park. Once the babies were branching, though, they were super-easy to find because they were very vocal. I followed that family for quite a while in the spring of 2012.

The following year I started seeing a pair of Barred Owls hanging out in a different part of the park. I saw them on most of my visits for several weeks in a row. These birds were reliably found perched around a clearing close to the camping area. I saw the pair as often as I saw one bird alone.

Gemini Springs Barred Owl

Gemini Springs Barred Owl

And then one day, I found the nest tree. A baby was begging and I followed the noise to see the precious baby just outside of the nest hole in a dead oak tree stump.

Gemini Springs Barred Owl

The tree was backlit during the morning so it was difficult to take a clear image. The nest hole is about a fourth of the way down on the following photo.

Gemini Springs Barred Owl

Because of the proximity of the nest to the trail, I didn’t visit this secluded part of Gemini Springs very often after I found the baby because I thought it might be too disturbing to the little family.

Gemini Springs Barred Owl

I revisited the nest tree the following spring and found a very sad sight.

Gemini Springs Barred Owl

The tree had snapped in half, and the nest part of the tree had fallen to the ground. This was at the end of March, right when Barred Owls are nesting. The bottom of the tree was overgrown with vines. I gingerly made my way to the base of the tree to see if there was any evidence of nesting for the year.

Gemini Springs Barred Owl

Gemini Springs Barred Owl

Gemini Springs Barred Owl

I found one broken egg but no feathers, and thankfully no injured birds. Its too bad the nest site was lost and the effort failed but I continue to see and hear Barred Owls all over Gemini Springs. Life goes on.

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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. 🙁

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
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Knowing, handling, caring: A Turtle Encounter

Last month, a couple of things that had been passing through my bird-type social media circles came together in real life for me at Gemini Springs.

A May 2014 article from The Slate was being passed around on Facebook. Let Kids Run Wild in the Woods is subtitled “Let Kids Run Wild, Build Forts, and Pick Flowers. Nature Can Take It.” The major theme is about how knowing about a thing (broadly speaking, the environment) leads to caring about that thing.

Around the time this was being passed around my birding circles, the Wandering Herpetologist posted an article about the differences between birders and herpers. Herpers are people who are interested in amphibians and reptiles. The post points out that herpers are likely to handle herps in the wild, while birders tend to have a different attitude (for the most part, birders can’t really handle wild birds).

Also around this time, Arthur and I encountered a misguided good Samaritan who wanted to help a Gopher Tortoise. The man rescued the tortoise from the middle of the road, but his plan for release left much to be desired.

With these things planted in the back of my mind, I went birding at Gemini Springs on June 9th. As usual, I started my outing at the fishing pier. While looking for waders and other birds starting their day, a young man, maybe 12 years old, approached me. He got my attention because he wanted to show me something — a young Florida Softshell Turtle.

I had only recently seen my first ever softshell at Gemini Springs. That animal was about the size of the one in the young man’s hand, perhaps the same turtle, or one from the same nest.

Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox)

At first I was mildly alarmed that he intended to drop the animal into the water right from the pier, a good ten-foot drop. I was quickly reassured. The young fisherman had inadvertently caught the turtle on his line. The hook safely removed, he was about to release the turtle. For some reason he decided to take a detour to show the animal to the stranger with binoculars, me, standing at the other end of the fishing pier. I was grateful. He told me about how fast these slippery animals can run, and he invited me to feel the turtle’s backside, to see why these turtles have the name they do. He obliged when I asked for a photo. I thanked the young man for the turtle lesson, truly appreciated, and watched him carefully walk around to a safe spot and gently release the turtle at the water’s edge.

Whatever this young man will grow up to be, he’s already a fine naturalist and budding environmental educator. It’s pretty obvious he was allowed to actively engage his environment as he’s played in the woods. And he’s clearly on the “handle the herps” side of that fence. I am certain that as an adult he will continue to care for the natural world, and isn’t that wonderful?

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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

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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

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Posted in Gemini Springs, Green Birding, Volusia Birding | 3 Comments