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.
Behind our new townhome is a tree lined golf course. There’s also a small pond a few homes down. The first week we moved in I went for a quick walk early in the morning before work along the tree line. I’ve seen several limpkins in the pond so I’m hoping for limpkin babies next summer.
Right outside our home, I found an ovenbird deep in the bushes.
There’s always noisy mockingbirds anywhere in Florida.
Is it Thanksgiving yet? My second turkey sighting in the neighborhood. When we were doing some work on the home before we moved in, we could see several turkeys across the golf course. The week we moved in they were right down the street so I ran and got my camera.
Little birds in the trees. I think these are palm warblers.
A great egret out my back door (taken through the window)
There are palm warblers everywhere. The golf course is full of them on the ground if there are no golfers playing.
A parula out the back door (also taken through the window).
My second ever rufous hummingbird sighting. This one and the one before were both at Bok Tower Gardens. Rufous hummingbirds are fairly rare around this area. This is only the 2nd time of hearing about one and I was happy to have seen it even briefly. I caught him high up on a tree taking a break. When he went to feed, he would go deep in the bushes or the other side making it impossible to get feeding shots. At one point I could barely see him feeding deep in the firebush.
Ruby throated hummingbirds are pretty common. I caught this male feeding near the carillon tower.
He buzzed off and disappeared. I stood under a pine tree for a long time waiting for him to come back. At one point I looked up and he was sitting right over my head.
Birds with yellow. The top one is an easy one, a yellow throated warbler. The 2nd I think is a red eyed vireo with a bug. The last is a a female common yellowthroat.
An ovenbird and blue gray gnatcatcher.
A usual sight, a harmless black racer crosses the sidewalk in front of me.
A bee house in the garden. Used by mason or other solitary bees, they lay their eggs in the holes.
Different patterns on the mangrove leaves along the boardwalk.
I finally was able to see a few migrating birds coming through in late April. Since the best place to see spring migration was closed (Fort Desoto Park) here in the area, we were thinking we wouldn’t get to see any birds coming through. Since some of the smaller parks were still open I was able to see a few birds. They were very skittish and stayed hidden in the bushes. Above are a hooded warbler, a redstart and an ovenbird (or at least I think it’s an ovenbird. May be a thrush of some type?).
I had not been to McGough Nature Park in Largo in years. It’s a small park that sits on the intercoastal waterway. I had heard there were a few migrating birds there so I headed out not expecting much. I had forgotten that the park has this great turtle pond. There’s a small dock that goes out over the pond and benches all around it. Turtles were all along the bank and it was very peaceful watching them hang out.
My Saturday morning “just being outside” shot from the boardwalk.
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.