Birder's Eye View

Sunday, May 30, 2010

"Do not Molest the Alligators"

Ah, yes, the familiar message of so many signs around Florida lakes and ponds: "Do not feed or molest the alligators..." and other variations. Such was the familiar scene when I went down to Moccasin Lake Nature Preserve for a morning hike yesterday.

It was a beautiful day, destined to be scorching hot come noontime. Very few birds out, except for the common species like Downy Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Carolina Wrens, Mockingbirds and Ospreys.

Nonetheless I had a lovely time wandering the trails, avoiding early-morning spiderwebs across the paths, contemplating nature, and all that fun stuff. Not much luck on the birding side of things, but then again, it's already summer here by most standards so I don't expect much.

Now we're at that time of year when thunderstorms hit every afternoon at 4 o'clock, last for about 30 minutes, and then disappear just as quickly as they came, giving way to a steamy hot evening. Oh, Florida. How I missed thee!

Happy birding!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quest for the Bahama Mockingbird

Today I went down to Ft. Desoto to see if I could find the Bahama Mockingbird that had been reported there since last week on the local listserves. It's not every day a rare species shows up so close, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to check a rarity off my list and get to the beach for a bit.

Following the instructions that had been posted, I found my way to the general area, but realized there were 2 possible paths that went into the woods. I took one of them, but it turned out to be fairly short and opened up to the beach again. I ran into another birder there however, and inquired about the elusive Mockingbird. He said it was on the other trail (of course!), and to look for the privet bush with an orange peel on it and lots of purple berries. Easy enough!

I hiked around a while longer but didn't see anything beyond a few Great-crested Flycatchers, Fish Crows, and this Great Blue Heron. So, I turned back and headed down the other trail.

Here I found the aforementioned privet bush with the orange peel and berries, but... no Bahama Mockingbird. Another birder was walking down the trail and confirmed this was where it had been seen, but I stayed for a while and it never showed up.

I wasn't too disappointed though. I'm glad I got out for a bit, and afterwards enjoyed a leisurely walk along the beach, watching pelicans and turnstones along the shore. Boy is it great to be back!

Until next time,

Happy birding!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Home again

It's been over a month since my last post, but I am now back on US soil after nearly 4 months abroad. It's kind of strange to be back, but I must say it's a welcome change of pace from the chaotic city life.

Although I didn't really do any serious birding in the UK, I was surprised to find just now when I tallied up my list, that I actually saw nearly 40 species during the time I was there! It's a small number by most standards, but considering I wasn't even focused on birding, I'd say it's not too shabby. Here's the list, in no particular order, as I wrote it up mostly from memory:

1. Magpie
2. Rock Dove
3. Black-headed Gull
4. Wood Pigeon
5. Chaffinch
6. Great Tit
7. Coal Tit
8. Long-tailed Tit
9. Grey Wagtail
10. Mallard
11. Grey Heron
12. Red-crested Pochard
13. Mute Swan
14. Song Thrush
15. Tufted Duck
16. Blue Tit
17. Robin
18. Hooded Crow
19. Rook
20. Raven
21. Redshank
22. Brent
23. Guillemot
24. Great Black-backed Gull
25. Green Woodpecker
26. Canada Goose
27. Great-crested Grebe
28. Coot
29. Northern Shoveler
30. White-fronted Goose
31. European Starling
32. Eurasian Jay
33. Great-spotted Woodpecker
34. Common Moorhen
35. Cormorant
36. Wren
37. Carrion Crow
38. Buzzard
39. House Sparrow

There are probably a couple more I'm missing, but that's most of them.

Now that I'm back in the states, I definitely need to get back into the swing of birding again. It looks like my summer is getting a kick start this week though with the Bahama Mockingbird that showed up in Ft. Desoto! So I'll be heading down there this week to go find it, keeping my fingers crossed it hangs around for another few days.

More frequent updates to come! Until next time,

Happy birding!

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