Birder's Eye View

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hiking, Biking & Birding

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." --Aristotle

This morning my sister and I decided to ride our bikes to a park (which also happens to be one of the Great FL Birding Trails), about 3 miles away. The bike ride itself took a little less than 20 minutes, and we spent a little over 2 1/2 hours hiking and birding.

The best birding spot I found was -- unfortunately -- right on the corner of two roads, where it was loud and hard to see in some of the trees. However, there were at least half a dozen different species in one tree, including Cardinals, a White-eyed Vireo, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Once we got away from the road, we came to a lake surrounded by a sea of tall, brown grass. It was fairly quiet, but there were a few wading birds.
My sister and I decided to go off the trail, seeing as no one else was around, and we ended up hiking through a marsh where the grass was taller than we are. We were surprised to find hundreds of rabbit burrows there, as well as raccoon tracks and possible aligator slides (that part was somewhat unsettling to see!).

We eventually found an animal trail we could follow out onto a mudflat with a large flock of gulls. There were larger aligator slides here, so we tried to stay away from the bank as much as possible.
We found Sundew (a carnivorous plant) and Bog Buttons growing here. As we got further out, flocks of Ruddy Turnstones (I'm fairly sure that's what they were) exploded out of the reeds.

Sitting among the Ring-billed Gulls, there was a lone Common Tern (correct? I'm terrible at IDing terns!), a pair of Sandhill Cranes, several Tricolored Herons, Little Blue Herons, and Snowy Egrets.

Although I didn't see any new species, I consider the trip a success. We had a bast, saw lots of cool stuff, and a decent number of birds.

Until next time,

Happy birding!


  • If you're fairly sure you had Ruddy Turnstones, then that's probably what they were. They're pretty hard to mistake. Even in winter plumage.

    In your photo of all the gulls, it looks as if you may have a Bonaparte's Gull way over on the righthand side. I can't see the bill and it's hard to tell size and color from the photo so it just be a Laughing Gull. Might also have a Herring over on the left. Idk.
    Lots of RB and Laughing Gulls though!

    For your Tern, I'd say you're pretty close in saying Common. You have to be careful IDing winter Terns but this one looks pretty "Common" to me. ;) lol

    By Blogger Parus, At December 18, 2008 at 1:25 AM  

  • A Bonaparte's Gull, huh? That would be a year bird for me! I'm pretty sure it's probably a Laughing Gull, though I'll look over some of my other pictures to make sure.

    By Blogger A. ☮, At December 18, 2008 at 2:02 PM  

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