Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Marl Bed Flats, 8/26/2015

Marl Bed Flats
Red-footed Cannibalfly
Late last week I drove out to Marl Bed Flats. It has historically been my favorite place to look for shorebirds, but it has all but dried up, and the shorebirds are all gone.  I was hoping with all the rain we've had recently that things might change, so I gave it another shot.  Still no shorebirds.  The highlight of the morning was a flyover Eastern Kingbird--it didn't even have the decency to land in the park for a photo.

Spicebush Swallowtail
So I turned my attention to butterflies and other insects.  If I were more devoted to butterflies, I suspect I would see far more than I do. I see lots of them but I'm usually too tired and sweaty to give them much attention.  I photographed three butterfly species and one robberfly. I also learned something new about checkered-skippers.  I've seen Common/White Checkered-Skippers before (the two species are essentially identical), but I also saw a Tropical Checkered-Skipper.  You can tell the difference between the two by the white spot on the wing that is past the dark bar on the forewing.

Marl Bed Flats
Tropical Checkered-Skipper
Common/White Checkered-Skipper
Just in case you might be interested in my slow morning of birding, here's my eBird checklist for the morning.

Little Big Econ SF (Brumley Rd Trailhead), 8/22/2015

Little Big Econ SF (Brumley Rd Trailhead)
Pectoral Sandpiper
Last week I walked out to the St. Johns River at Puzzle Lake from Brumley Rd with a friend of mine. It was his first time out with me to this location.  We were both hoping for some new Seminole County birds--he wanted Pectoral Sandpiper and Cliff Swallow and I wanted Black Tern and, much less likely, Willet.  We walked about 8 miles and ventured a bit farther north than I've gone in the past.  It seems the farther north I go the better the birding is.  I suspect that's because the Econ River and St. Johns River are closer together and there's more sand flats and mud flats for shorebirds.


We missed out on a Willet or any other more rare shorebirds, but we did see several Pectoral Sandpipers.  They were easily the highlight of the morning.  One in particular flew right by me and even landed close enough for me to get my best photos of the species.

Little Big Econ SF (Brumley Rd Trailhead)
Pectoral Sandpiper
Little Big Econ SF (Brumley Rd Trailhead)
Pectoral Sandpiper
Aside from this, good photos were few and far between.  We did however, raise the eBird total for this hot spot up to 129, and I raised my personal total up to 123. New birds for the hostpot were Yellow Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler and, oddly, Green Heron. There's so much potential for this place.  If it wasn't so grueling a walk, I suspect more people would bird this area and it would become the premiere birding location in Seminole County. Anyway, here's my eBird checklist for the morning.

Least Sandpiper

Friday, August 28, 2015

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, 8/21/2015

Northern Waterthrush
This past Saturday I visited the wildlife drive at Lake Apopka. I was hoping to get some nice migrant activity, and I was not disappointed. Yellow Warblers were everywhere! I estimated 20 of them, but I think I underestimated. In one little spot along the lakeshore there were perhaps 10 Yellow Warblers, 2 Prothonotary Warblers, 5 Prairie Warblers, 1 Northern Waterthrush, 1 Louisiana Waterthrush, and an Acadian Flycatcher.

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Yellow Warbler
There was far less activity along the rest of the drive.  There were hardly any shorebirds at the sod fields, oddly enough, and that was a little disappointing. However, I did get a nice photo of an Eastern Kingbird, which is always nice.

Eastern Kingbird
A couple herons posed for photos as well. A Black-crowned Night-Heron was perched along the edge of vegetation not far from my car (this photo is hardly cropped), and a Great Blue Heron also perched in the reeds for me.

Black-crowned Night-Heron
Great Blue Heron
Here's a link to my eBird checklist.  Migration is well under way!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Acapulco Birding, Aug. 2015

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Orange-fronted Parakeet
Yesterday I returned from my service project in Acapulco, Mexico. We were working with an orphanage there, and my time was pretty filled up with that.  However, in the mornings I was able to walk along the streets around the campus and see what birds I could find.  I found four new life birds on the trip: Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Audubon's Oriole, and Rufous-naped Wren.

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Great Kiskadee
Flycatchers are everywhere there. You can't hardly walk outside without seeing/hearing Social Flycatchers, Great Kiskadees and Tropical Kingbirds. I've taken lots of pictures of these birds, but I never tire of taking more.

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Great Kiskadee
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Social Flycatcher
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Tropical Kingbird
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Tropical Kingbird
The Rufous-naped Wren was the one lifer I was able to photograph. It's not the best photo in the world, but I'll take it for now.

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Rufous-naped Wren
Other common birds in the area were Ruddy-ground Dove, Gray-breasted Martin, and Cinnamon Hummingbird.  Someone across the street has a hummingbird feeder, and so there were other hummingbirds around.

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Ruddy Ground-Dove
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Gray-breasted Martin
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Cinnamon Hummingbird

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Great Kiskadee

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Great Kiskadee
I'm in Acapulco, Mexico right now, not on a birding trip or vacation, though.  I'm working with an orphanage here in town.  Every morning, though, I get a chance to see what may be flying around the campus. Here's a photo from this morning.  I'll post more later, but this is as much as I have time for now.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Marl Pennant

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Marl Pennant
When it comes to dragonlfies, perhaps the Marl Pennant seems rather plain. However, I think there's a simple beauty to them that makes it so I very much enjoy finding and photographing them. However, I think the females, being a bit lighter in color, are a little more fun.

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Marl Pennant
Merritt Island NWR
Marl Pennant
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Malr Pennant
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Marl Pennant

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, 8/7/2015

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Great Horned Owl
Yesterday I drove out to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive before work.  I got there before 6:30 so that I'd have a couple hours to see what I could find.  I'm headed to Mexico for a week later on today, so I figured it would be good to have one last check of the drive before leaving. It was a pretty fun time, even if I wish it could have been longer.

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Solitary Sandpiper
A Black Tern and an Upland Sandpiper were seen during the week, so those were the birds I was hoping for.  But I had no luck finding those.  However, there are still lots of shorebirds around the sod fields--most of them were on the west end by Canal Rd, so I had to look straight towards the sun to see them. Presentable photos were impossible, but there was a Stilt Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, at least 10 Pectoral Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers, and several Solitary Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs.

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Prairie Warbler
Warblers are also coming back. I saw a Yellow Warbler and a Prairie Warbler. the Yellow Warbler is my first of the year. Interestingly, when the ranger came to open that she mentioned that she had passed a Great Horned Owl on the road. It had a Pied-billed Grebe, but it flew up onto some farm equipment when she approached.

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Bank Swallow and Barn Swallow
There were far fewer swallows there than there were last week. I counted only 3 Bank Swallows and 5 Barn Swallows. Here's a link to my eBird checklist.

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