I was bummed that I would miss fall migration due to my shoulder surgery but it seems that fall migration came to me one afternoon. I came home from physical therapy and looked out the back window and saw some birds hopping around near the bird bath. I was thinking it would be the same birds that visit (titmouse, chickadees, etc) so I barely looked but then I noticed a few that looked different. I still had my camera set up on my tripod so I started snapping. There were a few immature indigo buntings.
There were several flashes of yellow and one was a non-breeding male scarlet tanager that was taking a bath.
Above are female summer tanagers.
A red eyed vireo stopped for a quick drink.
Pine warblers are fairly common in the backyard during the winter.
Catbirds are also common in the winter. He was photobombed by a bluebird.
Chickadees come by almost every day but it’s always hard to get a decent shot. They are very skittish.
There were several house finches this afternoon.
Later in the day the neighborhood red shoulder hawk stopped by and that cleared out all of the birds. I always know when he’s here since Harley (my young cockatiel) has a certain high pitch scream when he sees him. I jumped off the couch when I heard that scream and there he was, low in the tree. I ran outside and shooed him away but not before snapping the above.
I made it home right before lunch and when I saw all of the birds in the backyard I started snapping (all through the window). An hour later I was starving but it was hard to pull myself away from the window. I eventually did but I kept peeking out. I looked up on the BirdCast Migration tool website for Pinellas County. It said that over 5 million birds had passed through that night so I think that explains the fall out on this day in mid-October. We normally get one million passing through on a big fall out day.
Some of the little birds that are often seen at Circle B Bar Reserve are the house wren and common yellowthroat.
We were looking for the yellow billed cuckoo along the trail and someone spotted this summer tanager from across the marsh. It’s the first time I’ve seen one here.
We found the pair of cuckoos but they were doing their best to hide high up in the trees.
The usual birds to find in the water here. A common moorhen taking a bath and the grebes have returned for the winter.
“Mom, pay attention. That lady is watching us.”
“She’s not going to bother us unless she’s willing to wade through alligator infested marsh”
“Okay, so we can relax. It’s been a busy morning eating bugs.”
Later I passed the black bellied whistling duck family (looks like the other parent is here) and the babies were all napping. It’s such a treat to see these babies here since the main trails are closed in the summer. This is a late family for late October.
This female summer tanager did not mind me watching her while she feasted on a beautyberry bush. Or, maybe she didn’t see me. I was hiding in the bushes after all. She stayed for a few minutes filling up on berries and then took off.
A female indigo bunting was hiding in the bushes.
A female rose breasted grosbeak was eating something high up in the tree.
Female woodpeckers. A pileated and a downy.
Both males and females look the same for thrashers and green herons so these could be either.
An immature male orchard oriole. He’ll turn a burnt dark orange after his next molt.
Above are female orchard orioles.
A rare Kentucky warbler.
An immature blue indigo looking back at me.
Fort Desoto Park in south Pinellas county is known as a hot spot for birds migrating through in the spring and fall. The birds seem to be more plentiful in spring vs. fall migration. All of the above were seen in a 2 hour period in mid-April. Just standing quietly in the bushes watching them fly in and eat the mulberries with 20 or so other people. All with our long lenses and binoculars. I was using my 300mm lens with a 1.4 extender to zoom in. These are also cropped up so we were all pretty far away.
A rare yellow billed cuckoo was the star of the day. I had seen one once before at Circle B Bar Reserve but there were many birders there that had their first sighting of one. He was high up in the tree but everyone was able to get a good shot.
The one of many palm warblers that hang out here in the winter.
White eyed vireos will be common to spot this winter.
I was told the two above were Nashville warblers. Can anyone confirm?
A brief glimpse of a Tennessee warbler.
My first Philadelphia Vireo. He was hanging around the cuckoo.
“We got fall out!” was the term used on the bird forums. Fort Desoto Park was covered in birds that had stopped for a rest on their way south for the winter in early October. I got to the park around 8am and many people already looking up in the oak trees at the picnic area. I spent several hours taking tons of pictures and had “warbler neck” from staring straight up into the trees for so long. A nap after lunch got rid of that. It’s not often you get a day where you can stand under a tree and see so many different birds.
A very young Baltimore oriole way up high in the tree. He didn’t have all of his adult feathers in yet.
A black throated blue warbler.
A black throated green warbler.
A few blackpoll warblers in the mulberry bushes.
I think this is a female black throated blue warbler.
Brown thrashers were eating the mulberries.
Summer tanagers were in the oak trees.
This is either a female scarlet tanager or a summer tanager.
A lone indigo bunting.
Spring migration felt a little slow this year. It was much harder to find the birds at Fort Desoto. It felt like there were more people than birds in the woods. It was still a fun morning out. No new birds this spring but there’s always next year.
A scarlet tanager looking at me. Maybe he thinks I’m after his berry.
A summer tanager with a bug hanging out of his beak.
Another scarlet tanager with a beak full.
A female and male painted bunting.
He has mulberry juice on his beak.
She’s got mulberry pieces hanging out of her mouth.
These birds were chowing down.
Another tanager posing.
So many pretty birds at Fort Desoto during spring migration. The mulberry trees were full and the birds were hungry. We all just stood in a line and quietly watched them eat. The big prize of the day was the painted buntings.There were several at the park that morning. This is the first decent picture I’ve gotten of one. I also took a ton of blue birds More on those later.