Word gets around fast in the birding world when there’s a rare bird somewhere in the area. I had read on some bird sites Sunday night that there was a rare Kirtland’s warbler at Fort Desoto Park. It’s listed as one of the rarest warblers in the world. They winter in the Bahamas and spend summers in Michigan. I’ve never heard of one in Florida before. I got to the park just before 7:30 the next morning and there was already a small crowd staring at the bushes where he was seen the day before. No one had seen him yet. I was thinking this is probably going to be a needle in a haystack morning but then I saw Ed. Ed Rizer drove over from the Lakeland area and he is know for being able to find anything. I’m thinking if anyone can find this bird, Ed can. About 10 minutes later I looked around and Ed had disappeared. I’m thinking “He’s going to walk around and find that bird”. Not 5 minutes later I hear him yell “He’s over here”. The bird was in a different area but close by. Everyone ran over and we all started shooting. The bird was not skittish at all. Everyone stayed pretty far back (we all had our longest lenses with us). I spent about 15 minutes taken a ton of pictures of this bird. He stayed on the ground just outside of some bushes, feeding on bugs.
Later in the morning after walking around the park, I headed back to the area where the Kirtland’s was again. He had moved over to the mangrove bushes where we originally were looking. I left the crowds of people who had driven from all over Florida to see him.
There were a lot of other migrating birds but not a lot of variety. We found one rose breasted grossbeak. An ovenbird was on the trail and there were a lot of redstart sightings.
One bird I haven’t seen in several years was a black throated blue warbler.
There were a lot of Cape May warblers all over the park.
The 2nd bird I added to my list this morning was a black whiskered vireo. There was one seen several years ago here but I couldn’t find it. After looking for this guy all morning I was about to give up and leave and someone yelled out they found him. I snapped the above and headed home since it was way past lunch time.
This was a very productive morning in late April at the park. It still seems like there are less birds coming through every year.
Congrats on your new lifers. All your warbler images are beautiful. Great collection of birds and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend.
My goodness! How amazing to see these! I’ve never seen them either but I’ll be on the lookout here in North Central FL. I am SO anxious to get outside but it’s so hot! lol You took some amazing photos too. I’ll show them to my hubby. Happy weekend!
Congratulations on a pair of life birds!
The Fort can be so amazing! Wonderful photographs of some beautiful migrants.
Seeing a Kirkland’s Warbler in Florida is indeed remarkable. We’ve seen the nesting area in mid-Michigan, which is very restricted with a high fine if you go there without proper permission. Occasionally, one also sometimes stops here (Ann Arbor) to rest during migration. But you are really lucky! I wonder if they will start to hang around in Florida, or if this is really a one-time happening.
best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Birders sure are active in their pursuit of rare birds. I’m more passive and wait for the birds to come to me to enjoy. – Margy