I made another trip to Fort Desoto Park in late April. I was hoping there would still be some migrating birds stopping by. There was a small chance of rain even though it looked like it would pour at any time.
The only migrating bird I found was a Cape May warbler. There were several of these cuties in the woods near the ranger’s house.
Heading to the gulf fishing pier.
The usual birds were at the fishing pier including a ruddy turnstone showing me his missing foot and great egrets.
The laughing gulls were putting on a show on top of the shelter on the pier.
I thought maybe the sun would break through but it stayed cloudy.
Pelicans hanging out on the jetti next to the pier.
A quick shot of a red breasted merganser that was still there. They spend the winter here but usually leave in March.
It was still a nice morning out even though it wasn’t very birdy or sunny.
Another trip to Fort Desoto Park to look for migrating birds. The first thing I found was a squirrel being cute on the agave plant. I was hoping there would be birds on those plants but no, I find a squirrel.
Cape May warblers were still around. I found both females and males.
I also found a northern parula and a blackpoll warbler (I hadn’t seen one of those in several years).
An osprey was checking me out making sure I wasn’t going to steal his fish.
Cormorants were diving for fish around the fishing pier.
It was a slow dolphin morning but I did manage to find one.
The starlings and nanday parakeets were fighting over wire space in the parking lot.
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.
An immature male rose breasted grosbeak with mulberry juice on his face.
An ovenbird on the fountain.
A blackpoll warbler hanging around.
An indigo bunting.
There were still a few interesting birds moving through Fort Desoto in early May, heading north for the summer. It feels like that was so long ago. I’m just finishing editing those pictures and soon the birds will be cruising through again, this time heading south for the winter. So many birds, so little time.
An unidentified bird on the top. Any ideas? The 2nd one is a Cape May Warbler.
Eastern kingbird high up in the tree.
A blurry shot of a young blue grosbeak. I thought his color was interesting. I guess he’s molting into his adult male colors.
An osprey with a fish.
And a pretty moth.
By mid April there hadn’t been too many birds passing through on their way north for the summer. I headed down to Fort Desoto Park expecting not to find too much. As usual there were more people than birds on the trails. Not too many birds but some good ones. Two new birds for me, the ovenbird and waterthrush so it was a good morning.
A first-summer male orchard oriole with mulberry stains on his chest.
I think this is a female orchard oriole.
I think this is a first year female Baltimore oriole.
Another red-eyed vireo.
I saw one northern Parula that morning.
My first black throated green warbler.
A male orchard oriole taking a berry break.
Prairie warbler doing some weird acrobats.
Bye,bye, orchard oriole.
A female rose breasted grosbeak.
It was a busy day in mid-April. A big fall out day. Spring migration was in full swing and I knew I’d come home with a neck ache from staring up in the trees all morning. I was right. Birds were everywhere but they did not sit still very long. There were almost as many people at Fort Desoto that morning. Everyone was yelling out bird names: “there goes a female blah blah”, ” I just saw an immature male blah blah”, ” has anyone seen the yellow blah blah?” All of the little birds were starting to looking alike, especially the yellow and brown ones. Let me know if I got any of the above wrong. People had driven from all over the state to check birds off their list. I met a ton of new people and ran into people I hadn’t seen since the last migration. It was catch up day. The next couple of weekends still had a few birds but not like this big weekend. I also saw a lot of little red birds and blue birds. More on those later.
My first blackpoll warbler with a berry in his mouth.
Another blackpoll getting ready to eat.
My second sighting of a cape may warbler.
Another female something?
Spring migration was winding down but I had heard there were still a few more birds at Fort Desoto so I headed down there after work one night in late April. I had about an hour and a half before dark so I stayed in one place to see what I could find there. I was at the mulberry bushes with several other people. Everyone was looking for the black whiskered vireo that had been sighted there for several days. No luck that night on the vireo but I did get some other first sightings in. There were several pale yellow birds there and everyone had different opinions about what female they were. After studying the hundreds of pages of these female warblers in my Stokes Birding Guide, I gave up. Any id’s would be appreciated.