Here in Central Florida we've grown accustomed to having an easy time identifying chickadees. If you see one, it's a Carolina Chickadee. But this is no longer the case, as there has been a massive irruption of northern and western species of chickadees into Central Florida. The irruption was first noticed when the above photographed Chestnut-sided Chickadee was spotted in a park near my home in Seminole County. After this, birders here began giving chickadees more attention, and all of the sudden, people were starting to find Black-capped Chickadees in various locations throughout Central Florida, such as the one photographed below.
There have been confirmed reports of Mountain Chickadees on Sugarloaf Mountain and one unconfirmed sighting of a Boreal Chickadee in Winter Springs! This is a staggering reality to be faced with. Who would think that we would ever be able to find these species in Central Florida!
Not only this, but it seems that some strange mutations are modifying our resident population of Carolina Chickadee. The photograph below serves as a good illustration. The debate is still raging here about what this is. Is it a strange-mutation of a Carolina Chickadee, or perhaps the discovery of a new species, a Bearded Chickadee? The jury is still out on this one.
And just in the past couple days, there have been reports of Bushtits showing up in Central Florida as well. I was so dumbfounded when I heard these reports that I just had to check them out for myself. I ended up finding one in nearby Lake County.
This irruption has been so great and exciting that we've been unable to contain ourselves. Who knows how long this will last, but in the meantime, we in Central Florida are enjoying the ride.