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Showing posts from July, 2014

Fort De Soto, 7/19/2014

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Last week my wife decided it might be fun to go to the beach on the Gulf coast (calmer waves), and she asked me if there was a good place there go visit.  Fort De Soto, of course!  So yesterday we spent the day there. My father and I got there early to do some birding and photography, and we were not disappointed. We found many terns and wading birds, including 2 Common Terns and a Black Tern, but shorebirds the most fun finds.  It's great to see them returning. Between the east beach turnaround and north beach we found 12 species of shorebirds, and most of them were pretty cooperative.


East Beach was filled with Least Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers, and Semipalmated Plovers. There was also one Western Sandpiper there. Willets were everywhere.

North Beach is great for finding Wilson's Plovers and Piping Plovers, but we also had a chance to see a couple American Oystercatchers, a Spotted Sandpiper, and several Marbled Godwits.  By around 10:30 the rest of my family arrive…

Initial Review: E-Butterfly

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I just discovered a new website that I think is pretty wonderful.  It's the butterfly equivalent of eBird, called e-butterfly.org (don't forget the dash). This site lets you enter your butterfly sightings, keep track of your life list, and see what else has been seen near you.  The site seems self-consciously patterned after eBird, so if you use eBird, learning this site should be pretty easy.  This site is brand new, so there's still a few kinks to be worked out, and there appear to be very few users of the site, especially in Florida.  I'm a novice at butterflies, and for the most part I only record butterflies I photograph while birding.  I'm still currently ranked third in the State of Florida for sightings in 2014 out of nine others.  You get the picture. However, my guess is that this site will take off just like eBird has, and when it does, it will be an even more valuable resource for birders and butterfliers.

Compared to eBird, there are a few differences…

Marl Bed Flats, 6/30/2014

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On Monday I went to Marl Bed Flats in an effort to score some last minute birds for my June Challenge. A friend of mine had seen a Bobolink there, so I wanted to find that, but I also was hoping a couple new shorebirds might have flown into the area.  My favorite photo from this last ditch effort is the one above, a pretty, young Tricolored Heron out at the shore of Lake Jesup.  But I also wanted to try an app from Google called My Tracks.  It's a simple GPS tracking software. You press "Record" at the beginning of your trip and "Stop" at the end.  Then it gives you a map of where you went and some some nice stats about your journey. On this particular trip I walked 2.69 miles over 2 hours and 25 minutes and burned 485 calories. While you're walking you can put down markers for things that interest you, like a Boboloink or Tricolored Heron (though I didn't notice this feature until today).  After you're done, you can sync your tracks to Google Driv…

June Challenge Results

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Every June in Florida we have the opportunity to participate in a friendly competition called June Challenge. The competition is designed to encourage people to get out there and do some birding during a hot summer month when many birders take a break. Migration is over, and there's often not much new to find, so the competition keeps us out and birding.  Pick a county, any county, and find as many birds as you can in that county during the month of June. The only caveat is they have to be seen; heard only doesn't count. This is my third year participating, and I was very pleased with my June Challenge results.  Every year I've done a little better. In 2012 I found 80 species; in 2013 I found 95; this year I found 104, not including two species I heard but never saw (White-winged Dove and Red-headed Woodpecker). I found 12 species I hadn't seen last year, and I missed out on three I had seen last year (White-winged Dove, Canada Goose, Black Skimmer).

Here's my 201…