Birder's Eye View

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Birding... yeah, I don't have a nifty title for this one.

"The bluebird carries the sky on his back."
-Henry David Thoreau

I tagged along on a trip to Crystal River today and got to explore some of the Great FL Birding Trails and parks in that area. Our first stop was the Crystal River Archaeological State Park.

I didn't see any new birds here, but I did see three Eastern Bluebirds. I was surprised to see them this time of year, as they usually dissappear after May or June.

There was even a juvenile sitting on one the branches. I've never seen a young bluebird before, so I thought this was pretty interesting.

In addition to the great abundance of mosquitoes, we also seem to be plagued by giant lubber grasshoppers. These guys were literally everwhere; we had to be careful where we stepped. This one was sitting on the back of our car.

A couple miles down the road for the archaeological site is Crystal River Buffer Preserve, a spectacular nature area. There was a seemingly out-of-place cedar forest here, with trails winding through. I didn't hike these though, as it was midday, steaming hot outside, and swarming with mosquitoes. I'm definitely going back there some winter though, to explore it some more.

A turtle? Nope. Look closer. It's a water snake! Looks like a Banded Water Snake, although I could be wrong.

Across the water, I saw my very first Yellow-crowned Night Heron. This was a fun find, as I've been trying to see one for a while now.

On the way home, we saw a sign that said "Bluebird Springs," so we stopped in to take a look. Although designated as a Great FL Birding Trail, there was little out at that time of day. A Great Blue Heron stalked through the reeds by the spring, but beyond that, it was just hot and mosquito-y.

So, it was a long day, with only one life bird, but nonetheless interesting and enjoyable. My bird list for day was:
  • black vulture
  • turkey vulture
  • snowy egret
  • cattle egret
  • great egret
  • great blue heron
  • yellow-crowned night heron
  • boat tailed grackle
  • american crow
  • anhinga
  • cardinal
  • eastern bluebird
  • sandhill crane
  • loggerhead shrike
  • mourning dove
  • red-shouldered hawk
  • red-bellied woodpecker
  • chimney swift

Not great, but not bad. It was fun, and that's what counts.

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