From Birding

Lifebirds #468-470 – Florida Birds, Year Two

leteIn March of 2013, Joann and I visited Florida a second time. The opportunity to see more Florida birds was a secondary reason for our visit. Primarily we were there to see our friends Barry and Bridget, but we did manage to allow for one day at Corkscrew Wildlife Sanctuary and one day at the “Ding” Darling NWR.

Birds were everywhere! We must have seen 100 Ospreys and almost as many Palm Warblers. We might have seen a dozen Crested Caracaras. We were disappointed to see only one Roseate Spoonbill. All and all we saw 80 different species— only three fewer than our visit one year earlier (when we birded much harder). We saw three lifers.

Species  Least Tern / Sternula antillarum
Where Jaycee Park, near Lake Okeechobee, Florida
When March 19, 2013
Who Joann
Number 468
Species  Reddish Egret / Egretta rufescens
Where “Ding” Darling NWR, Sanibel Island, Florida
When March 20, 2013
Who Joann
Number 469
Species  Sanderling / Calidris alba
Where Fort Myers Beach, Florida
When March 21, 2013
Who Joann
Number 470

Our first lifer of the trip was a Least Tern spotted at a quick stop near Lake Okeechobee during our drive from the Atlantic to the Gulf Coast. We saw a few of these in the company of Laughing Gulls, Black Skimmers, Common and Royal Terns. The winter-plumaged Leasts were distinguishable from the Commons by their smaller size and by the pattern of black on their heads. The lousy cell phone photo at the top of this page should include at least one of the Leasts.

reegOne of our target birds for the trip was the Reddish Egret. We had hoped to see one at Merritt Island a year earlier, but struck out (or “dipped” in bird-nerd parlance). We knew that on Sanibel Island and at the “Ding Darling” NWR we would have a very good opportunity to get our bird. Get it we did. We found one shortly after entering the NWR and it provided a fantastic photo opportunity. I used my new “mini tripod” to steady my camera and snapped off a dozen or more photos of the bird. Or so I thought. The sun was bright and I had trouble using the view screen of my camera. It turns out I was focusing the camera on a distinctly non-birdlike weed on the near shore of the lagoon where the egret fed. The best of these photos is featured here. Oh well.

sandone pixelWe have a group of English vacationers to thank for the identification of our last lifer of the trip. We were able to tell them that the larger shorebird on Fort Myers Beach was a Willet, and they told us that they thought the smaller birds were Sanderlings. We checked our guide and verified their call. If you look very, very closely you might see a few of these Sanderlings on the beach behind me in the last photograph on this page.

See lifebird index.