Birder's Eye View

Friday, January 22, 2010

Birding from beach to pond


On Thursday, my Field Ornithology class took a trip to Ft. Desoto to look at shorebirds. As luck would have it (and as luck apparently did have it for the last 4 years in a row!) it was THE windiest day we've had this month.

Once we made our way across the windblasted beach, we quickly became aware that there were a lot more birds out than one would have expected.  The first picture is of a Black-bellied Plover (defying its name in its winter plumage) and above are a bunch of Wilson's Plovers on some low dunes. Also present were Semipalmited Plovers, Willets, and Western Sandpipers.


I had two highlights for the day. The first was the above Reddish Egret in the whitish morph! We even got to watch it do its fishing dance. I got a video, but it was so windy and far away, the camera was too shaky. It was a lot of fun to watch though -- I wish we could have stayed longer.



My second favorite was my lifer Dunlin. I'm actually surprised I've lived here so long and never seen one, but there it is.

Today we took another field trip to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. Although it's sandwiched in between towering condos and shopping centers, the facility takes in literally thousands of birds every year. It was great to see the work they're doing and get close-up looks at some of the birds we've been studying this past month.


I never thought about what a baby pelican would look like, but now I know! The little Brown Pelican chicks sitting under their mother reminded me oddly of little dinosaurs...



In addition to the plethora of rescued birds, there were also dozens of wild birds that had taken up residence in the trees and rooftops of the sanctuary, including this Black-crowned Night Heron.


After the field trip, I went birding at my usual spot on campus, and found a wide variety of species despite the somewhat unfavorable weather. Above is a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk that I chased around for a bit trying to ID.

In addition to the usual wading birds and ducks, there were also some friendly passerines flitting around who  were (for a change!) not so camera shy! The above Pine Warbler came down to check me out while I was looking for the hawk, and below, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher went on about his business foraging in a small tree.

It's been a great past few days. More birding to do this weekend and studying for the final.

Until next time,

Peace out!

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4 Comments:

  • Looks like you had a succesful trip!

    By Blogger Tucker L, At January 24, 2010 at 1:01 PM  

  • Great blog - I've been lurking for a while and quite enjoying your perspective. The bird in the Dunlin photo has a honkin' bill for Dunlin - do y'all get dowitchers in winter, by any chance?

    By Blogger heidi, At January 26, 2010 at 10:38 PM  

  • Thanks for the comments!

    @Heidi: You're right -- I definitely mislabeled that picture. Thanks for catching it! That is indeed a Short-billed Dowitcher. We did see a Dunlin running around near the dowitchers, but obviously I got a photo of the wrong bird! (Just a demonstration of my *fantastic* observaion skills!) ;-)

    By Blogger Andrea, At January 27, 2010 at 4:41 PM  

  • Fantastic photo though, even if the Dunlin didn't cooperate. So maybe it's just fantastic captioning skills? Btw, definitely bring bins to London - Kew Gardens and any of the local parks will get you snazzy things like Wood Pigeon and such =)

    By Blogger heidi, At January 27, 2010 at 9:04 PM  

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