Birding Gemini Springs, November 2013

In November I birded at Gemini Springs 9 times, finding 62 different species of bird. Last year I saw 57 species in 6 outings and in 2011 I had 48 species in 6 outings. This year I didn’t add anything to my all-time bird list, but I did add a new butterfly and a new mammal. The complete bird list is at the end of this post.

November seemed kind of dreary, and according to WeatherSpark, indeed it was: “the cloudiest month of the last 12 months was November, with 77% of days being more cloudy than clear. The longest spell of cloudy weather was from November 12 to November 23, constituting 12 consecutive days that were cloudier than they were clear.” So I wasn’t imagining it! We also seemed to have more rainfall than usual for this time of year.

Despite my doldrums (did I mention that I was also sick for over a week early in the month?), migration continued and birds and other wildlife were to be found living their lives at my dear local patch. Here are some photographic highlights from last month’s birding at Gemini Springs.

Common Gallinule
Common Gallinule | 04-NOV-13

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe | 06-NOV-13

Painted Bunting
lousy photo, nice bird: Painted Bunting | 06-NOV-13

Gemini Springs path | 06-NOV-13

Zebra Longwings
Zebra Longwings | 06-NOV-13

In addition to a plethora of Zebra Longwings, on November 6th I saw more dragonflies than I have ever seen at the park. If you make the following video full-screen you can better see the abundance:

dragonflies | 06-NOV-13

Double-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant | 12-NOV-13

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron | 12-NOV-13

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler in its namesake habitat | 12-NOV-13

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk | 12-NOV-13

Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird on a rare “blue” day | 18-NOV-13

Ceraunus Blue
Ceraunus Blue, new to my life list | 18-NOV-13

Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove against some more blue | 18-NOV-13

Pearl Crescent
Pearl Crescent | 18-NOV-13

unknown raided eggs
raided nest | 22-NOV-13

unknown fluff
sneeze machine | 24-NOV-13

unknown fungus
fungus, ID unknown | 24-NOV-13

On November 24th I heard a sound I did not recognize coming from the vegetation between a mowed path and the bayou. I looked for the source but could not find it; I guessed it was a frog. Later along the same path I heard the same call again. It sounded very close so I peered into the vegetation and saw a snake with a frog in its mouth. The cry I heard was coming from the distressed (!!) frog. I tried to take some photos but it was hard to get a clear line of sight to the un/fortunate action. In the below photo you can see the frog, its back legs in the snake’s extremely widely opened mouth. The frog’s eye is in the bottom quarter of the frame, about center. The head of the snake is in the top quarter of the frame, also near the center of the photo. Its mouth is open VERY wide. I think it’s a Peninsula Ribbon Snake. The doomed frog is a Southern Leopard Frog, which you can kind of tell from the photo but I was able to confirm by its distress call, a recording of which I found on YouTube. I heard the same cry in two different spots — it seems November 24th was a bad day for Southern Leopard Frogs at Gemini Springs. Click on the photo to see it bigger on Flickr. There I have also pointed out the frog and snake if you have trouble seeing them here.

snake with frog
Peninsula Ribbon Snake (?) with Southern Leopard Frog | 24-NOV-13

Gemini Springs
a spring (1 of 2, natch) | 27-NOV-13

American Alligator
American Alligator | 30-NOV-13

Grey Catbird
Grey Catbird | 30-NOV-13

On November 30th I saw a new mammal at Gemini Springs — a North American River Otter! A couple of Carolina Wrens were going crazy close to the spot where I found the frog-eating snake just days earlier. I paused to see what had their panties in a bunch and was surprised to see a large brown mass of something lurking on the ground in the dense foliage. By the time I realized it was an otter, it started to move off. But as I stood still, the otter’s curiosity seemed to get the better of it, because it turned around and looked at me for a full minute. The below photo is the best I could manage between all the twigs. Can you see the otter looking at me? If you need help, click on the picture to see it larger and tagged on Flickr.

North American River Otter
North American River Otter | 30-NOV-13

That’s it! Here’s hoping for sunnier skies in December. 🙂

Gemini Springs bird list, November 2013

Hooded Merganser – Lophodytes cucullatus
Pied-billed Grebe – Podilymbus podiceps
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
Sora – Porzana carolina
Common Gallinule – Gallinula galeata
American Coot – Fulica americana
Sandhill Crane – Grus canadensis
Killdeer – Charadrius vociferus
Ring-billed Gull – Larus delawarensis
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
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
Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor
House Wren – Troglodytes aedon
Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – Polioptila caerulea
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Regulus calendula
Gray Catbird – Dumetella carolinensis
Brown Thrasher – Toxostoma rufum
Northern Mockingbird – Mimus polyglottos
Ovenbird – Seiurus aurocapilla
Black-and-white Warbler – Mniotilta varia
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
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

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