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

Black-necked Stilt at Gemini Springs | 07 April 2015

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 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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3 Responses to Green Birding in Southwest Volusia County, April 2015

  1. Thanks, Amy, for another delightful entry in your ongoing blog!
    The photos from Gemini Springs are wonderful – love the composition of the black racer snake photo, and the variety of colorful birds is delightful.
    I visited Gemini Springs last time I came to Florida to visit my parents, and your blog was quite helpful. We’ve communicated via email, too.

    One note from the North Carolina Interloper (that’s me): I wrote to ebird and requested that they CHANGE the hotspot name “Audubon Park” in Seminole County and call it, perhaps, “Audubon Park (HOA)”. To my way of thinking, the proper “Audubon Park” is the new park in Volusia County. Sure, people SHOULD be able to distinguish them, but they are only 18 miles apart, most blogs do not mention the street address (let alone the county), so when traveling birders search, we get very confused as to WHICH park we want to visit! (The other Audubon Parks are in other states, or in Orlando – easy to distinguish).

    The first time I tried to find Audubon Park on ebird, I was flummoxed by the two identical names. It took me forty minutes of internet searching to figure out which county, and therefore, which one I wanted to visit. Not that the Seminole County one is a bad place – you’ve been there at least twice I see…. but they are confusing!

    As you know, the hotspots are
    Seminole County (the one that is a greenspace inside a big development, and needs a name change)

    Volusia County (the new one that is a town park for passive use)

    Trust me, if you are not from the area, it is VERY hard to tell these two places apart on ebird!

    I see that you have visited both parks, but most of your observations are at the Volusia one.

    If you have a suggestion for a better name for the Highlander Association’s “park” in Seminole, please let ebird know. I really want them to change the name of ONE of them.

    In fact, I have a feeling that some of the checklists are in the wrong place!

    Hope to hear from you soon. You can email me or respond here.

  2. Amy says:

    Hi LynnErla, thanks for your comment! I agree with your suggestion. I’d thought about it earlier — before the Seminole spot was elevated to Hotspot status, I had it as a personal location “Highlands Audubon Park”. I didn’t think much about it though, and it didn’t occur to me that it might cause confusion. But it makes sense! I just sent a message to eBird suggesting the name change. I’ll post here if I hear back. (I got your email too, I’ll reply soon!) 🙂

  3. Amy says:

    The hotspot has been renamed! Audubon Park (Highlands):

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