I decided to visit Oakland Nature Preserve for the first time in February after someone reported a Golden-crowned Kinglet there. There were actually 3 of them there, and they stayed round there for more than month. The park is wonderful. There's a very nice boardwalk that takes you to the southern shore of Lake Apopka, and the first time I was there, I found about 11 species of wintering warblers there--an almost unheard of total for the winter. I decided that day that I needed to visit more often this Spring.
So this morning I visited hoping to find migrating warblers. I walked the boardwalk and then some of the trails that take you through the pines. I was surprised at how slow it was. I tallied just three warbler species on the morning: Northern Parula, Common Yellowthroat and Pine Warbler. There were lots of birds around, but warblers were really scarce. The biggest boardwalk highlight was a calling Yellow-billed Cuckoo, though even that bird wasn't kind enough to come see me.
When I got back to the parking area I was a little disappointed. I decided just to work on photography, and I photographed some of the more common species in the park. Then I headed back to the car to go to work. Just as I put my camera in the car, I heard a Willet's flight call. Then I saw it flying right over me. I quickly pulled out my camera and fired off a couple shots hoping one would suffice for documenting the species. Coastal shorebirds are migrating north right now, and some venture inland during migration. This Willet was headed north and about to fly over Lake Apopka, taking him over the parking lot where I was standing. And just like that, it was a great morning.
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