Category Archives: Kayak

Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, January 2015

I birded at Gemini Springs 15 times last month, where I recorded 74 species. This beats my previous January totals of 70 species in 2014, 68 in 2013, and 61 in 2012. It doesn’t feel like I made 15 visits to the park in January. I hope I can kind of keep it up, because I’d like to complete the February eBirder of the Month Challenge again. The challenge is the same as last February: complete 20 checklists at a patch. Last year I actually got a little bit sick of the same old same old at Gemini Springs day after day. Hopefully 20 lists in February will fly by like the 15 I did in January! The complete list for Gemini Springs is at the end of this post.

Since I’m so interested in my green birding list, I’m going to expand these monthly reports to include other green birding that I did during the month. In January I saw a total of 90 species without the aid of fossil fuel. Besides Gemini Springs, I also visited Audubon Park in Deltona twice, plus I made stops at Lake Monroe Park in DeBary and the Lake Monroe Boat Ramp in Enterprise. I found a few more birds during on a long bike ride around Konomac Lake mid-month. And I picked up a handful of species at home, too.

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

For Christmas Arthur and I got a set of trailers to tow our kayaks with our bikes! We took them out on January 1st for a nice paddle at Gemini Springs where we picked up some trash and got a bunch of FOY (first of year) birds from the water.

bikes & kayaks
Bikes & kayaks ready to go to Gemini Springs | 01 January 2015

trash picked up in the bayou
Trash picked up in DeBary Bayou at Gemini Springs | 01 January 2015

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
White-tailed Deer at Gemini Springs | 02 January 2015

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
Little Blue Heron at Gemini Springs | 02 January 2015

Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Bald Eagles at Gemini Springs | 11 January 2015

A fallen tree blocks the Spring-to-spring Trail | 11 January 2015

Red-shouldered Hawks (Buteo lineatus)
Red-shouldered Hawks at Gemini Springs | 12 January 2015

Yellow-throated Warbler (Setophaga dominica)
Yellow-throated Warbler at Gemini Springs | 12 January 2015

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)
Hermit Thrush at Gemini Springs | 14 January 2015

On January 16th I joined the West Volusia Audubon walk at Audubon Park in Deltona. I was super happy to see a pair of Eastern Bluebirds there, especially since I totally missed this species on my 2014 green list.

Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird at Audubon Park | 16 January 2015

The following photos remind me of someone we used to go birding with back in Illinois. This guy would often remark that a pair of different birds standing together were providing a “good comparison” in case people ever got them mixed up. Except he would say this, in humor, even if the birds were as different as an American Robin and a Mallard! But these two photos really are good comparison shots of two different species that people actually do often mix up. Ah, I miss that old bird club. 🙂

Anhinga, Double-crested Cormorant
Anhinga versus Double-crested Cormorant at Audubon Park | 16 January 2015

Little Blue, Tricolored Herons
Little Blue Heron versus Tricolored Heron at Gemini Springs | 17 January 2015

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Snowy Egret at Gemini Springs | 20 January 2015

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)
Painted Bunting in our back yard | 22 January 2015

Ibis at sunrise
Glossy Ibis sunrise at Gemini Springs | 23 January 2015

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)
Brown Thrasher at Gemini Springs | 23 January 2015

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Cattle Egret at Audubon Park | 24 January 2015

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)
Black Vulture at Gemini Springs | 25 January 2015

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
Northern Mockingbird at Gemini Springs | 25 January 2015

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)
Swamp Sparrow at Gemini Springs | 26 January 2015

I'm not smart
I’m not very smart – my mud-soaked socked foot at Gemini Springs | 26 January 2015

Gemini Springs bird list, January 2015
Blue-winged Teal – Anas discors
Hooded Merganser – Lophodytes cucullatus
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
Cooper’s Hawk – Accipiter cooperii
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
Killdeer – Charadrius vociferus
Ring-billed Gull – Larus delawarensis
Forster’s Tern – Sterna forsteri
Mourning Dove – Zenaida macroura
Barred Owl – Strix varia
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
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
Black-and-white Warbler – Mniotilta varia
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
Savannah Sparrow – Passerculus sandwichensis
Swamp Sparrow – Melospiza georgiana
Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis
Red-winged Blackbird – Agelaius phoeniceus
Common Grackle – Quiscalus quiscula
Boat-tailed Grackle – Quiscalus major
American Goldfinch – Spinus tristis

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

Thanksgiving kayaking @ Blue Spring

Arthur and I had a quiet morning paddle at Blue Spring State Park on Thanksgiving Day. The warm spring is very popular with swimmers, though it’s recently been closed to human-type swimmers for the season because of these guys.

All three manatee photos were taken November 21st

Manatee Party

Rolling with the flow

Walking to the river with our kayaks, the first bird we saw was a Red-shouldered Hawk perched above the dock. A good start to the day.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Our short trip began at the canoe put-in next to the St. Johns River Cruises pier. We paddled against the slow-moving northward flow of the river, and struggled a bit in windy conditions.

St Johns River

There was a big American Alligator across the river from the dock.

American Alligator

We took our first right to stay with the original flow of the St. Johns (going straight would have taken us through a part of the river that was straightened during the riverboat boom).

Another right took us to Snake Creek, a naturally winding path that would have lead us to Hontoon Island, if we had that much paddlin’ in us.

It was quiet, but we were not alone.

Snake Creek

FL Red-bellied Turtle?

Snake Creek

Little Blue Heron

Snake Creek

On the way back, we had a peek at the place where the spring run meets the St. Johns. We were hoping to see manatees. No joy, though there were several Double-crested Cormorants perched at the end of the run.

Double-crested Cormorant

As we headed back to shore, we spied a Black Vulture having a drink.

Black Vulture

Several of his friends were waiting in the trees above us.

Black Vultures

We had a great morning out and just may have started a brand new Thanksgiving tradition. Belated best wishes to my blog readers – I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

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Posted in Florida, Florida State Park, Kayak, Volusia Birding | Leave a comment