Yellow birds at Fort Desoto

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All above are white eyed vireos. Fairly common during migration.

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All of these are of a hooded warbler. The park was filled with these bright yellow birds with black hoods. They were not shy and would not freak out and fly into the bushes. They remained on the trail as long as no one got too close.

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I saw one prairie warbler at the park.

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A single yellow throated warbler. I don’t see these too often.

It poured the last Friday in March. I never get that lucky. Usually, it pours early in the week and by the time I get out to the parks, the birds are gone. This time I got up early on Saturday and headed down to Fort Desoto. Not a big fall out but still enough birds to keep everyone entertained. I think there was possibly more people than birds though.  I’m hoping this is only the first fall out for spring migration this year. It’s still early.

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Little birds being watched by big birds.

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My first blue headed vireo.  From a distance I thought it was a northern parula and wasn’t going to take the picture. I was thinking it was too far away and dark which it was but was glad I took the shot after all.

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Keeper of the sign.

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Common yellowthroat hiding in the reeds along the lake.

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“Sing, sing a song. “

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I thought this was an immature yellow rumped warbler but now I’m not sure.

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White eyed vireo.

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The usual titmouse looking cute.

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This red shoulder hawk was on the wooded trail and watching the blue headed vireo. I think he is still a young one since he didn’t have a lot of color in his head.

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This one was sitting out over the lake watching all of the little birds flying around. He may have just been soaking up the sun since it was fairly cool that morning.

A few birds on my walk around Chesnut Park in early January. It was a cool morning (45 degrees when I started) but warmed up fast. I didn’t think I was going to see much but the little birds came out as the sun started peeking out of the clouds.

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On the boardwalk at Lettuce Lake Park.

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The first thing I saw when I got to the boardwalk was a swallow-tail kite flying by. I heard they were nesting across the lake. I would need a canoe to even get remotely close.

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A great blue heron flyby.

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Juvenile night heron along the boardwalk.

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A white eyed vireo.

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I thought this was a brown thrasher but the grey eyes are throwing me off. Brown thrashers have orange eyes. Any ideas?

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The swamp was full of these flowers. They were growing in the shade.

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Built in Christmas ornaments on this fir tree.

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Is that a yawn?

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Another bunny.

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He was on the side of the road. I pulled over and took these pictures before leaving.

I hadn’t been to Lettuce Lake Park in months. The lake was full and the swamp under the boardwalk was full of water. I saw very few wading birds. I heard a lot of northern parulas all over the park but they were all high up in the trees. No sign of the barred owls this trip. I’ll keep looking.

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Quiet December walk at Circle B Bar Reserve.

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Female kingfisher posing in front of the yellow flowers.

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A male was at the other end of the park sitting in the rain. This was the first time in 5 years I’ve been caught in the rain there. Luckily I was close to the rain shelter. The rain stopped after 10 minutes.

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White eyed vireo.

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Blue gray gnatcatchers were all over the trails.

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White ibis tree.

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Pink dragonfly.

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The usual alligator trying to hide behind the yellow flowers.

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I was told this was a banded water snake. They are not poisonous but it was nice that it was far off the trail.

The yellow flowers were still out in mid-December. The reserve was beautiful still in full bloom. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary though. It was a warm Saturday morning.

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Little birds at Chesnut Park

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White eyed vireo hiding deep in the bushes.

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I was told by another birder at the park that this is a female common yellowthroat.

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Same bird as above. She was hiding in the reeds. Or, could it be a 1st year male?

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This is the first black and white warbler I’ve seen this fall.

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Yellow rumped warblers are everywhere now.

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Titmouse singing up a storm.

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They came down from high up in the trees to see if I had bird seed to give them. After a few minutes they went back up.

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All of the coots are back for the winter.

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You never know what you’ll find looking down at you when you look high up in the trees.

This was one of the first cool weekends we had this fall. In mid-December we finally had a high of 70 degrees. It started out breezy in the morning but when the sun came up high it warmed up fast. Chesnut Park had a few little birds flying around. Nothing unusual though. It’s always fun to see the little titmice come down looking for a handout. They are so cute.

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Lots of birds but nothing new.

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A “yellow” bird. I think this is a white eyed vireo even though you can’t really see the white from this angle.  Thanks to Ken for IDing this as a bay breasted warbler. Matches my Stokes guide.

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Possible palm warbler.

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Yellow-throated warbler.

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Eastern phoebes are everywhere.

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Catbird in the shade. They are everywhere as well.

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Red bellied woodpecker

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Another white eyed vireo.

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Pileated woodpecker

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I caught him blinking.

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Green heron hiding along the lake edge.

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Hawk telling me I can’t have his snack.

An early morning Saturday walk at Chesnut Park. I finally started seeing some winter birds coming through. It was the first “not steamy hot” morning. Perfect early fall morning. I would have stayed longer but my foot started hurting. I seem to have a bone spur or heel spur on my left foot. My heel started hurting the week before but felt better during the week. After two hours of walking around it was killing me. I have since added support insoles to my walking shoes and they seem to be doing some good but every once in a while it still hurts a little. If this keeps up much longer I’m going to have to head to the foot doc.  Any suggestions?  (Other than stay off my feet?) I don’t sit still very well.

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A few more from spring migration

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I was told this is a Tennessee Warbler. It looks like it from my Stokes Birding Guide.

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If so, it’s a lifer for me.

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White eyed vireo singing in the morning.

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He was chirping away.

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This was my last indigo bunting sighting of the season. These were taken in mid-April.

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I saw this guy for a flash of a second so this was all I got. It was the only time I saw a hummingbird at the feeder during all of those trips to the park this spring.

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Swallowtail on the flowers.

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This guy was jumping around while we were trying to take pictures of the bunting.

This has been a long drawn out migration season. Last spring there were tons of birds in two weekends and then nothing.  This spring it’s been a small handful of birds each weekend starting at the end of March and fizzling out near the end of April. I saw a few new birds this spring and met a ton of new people. It’s amazing the bird traffic at Fort Desoto. People come from all over the country during April for a “bird vacation”. Most of the travelers I spoke with were hitting parks all around Florida. At least at Fort Desoto, when you walk out of the woods, you’re on the beach and your “bird vacation” can become a few hours of a “beach vacation”.

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My first Cape May Warbler

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These are not good pictures but I wanted to show off my first Cape May warbler sighting. He was high up in the trees and it was late in the day, right before sunset.

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I doubt I would have found him by myself. There were several other people wandering around the picnic area at the east beach looking for him. There had been sightings of him posted the day before in the trees in front of the big picnic shelter. A lady yelled across the grounds. She had found him. We all ran over and started shooting. He was high up in an old oak tree.

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He’s really pretty with all of that yellow and hints of orange and brown. There was a female there as well but she stayed at the very top of the tree, out of sight.

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He was digging around in what looked like holes made by a woodpecker.

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Something else flew into the tree above him.

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It was a white eyed vireo with a grasshopper in his mouth.

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Then a yellow-bellied sapsucker landed in the tree. I guess he’s the one making all of those holes. It was a busy tree that night.

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The highlight of the night though was seeing the rogue rooster. Someone had dropped off a rooster at the park. They probably thought it would be cool to have one and then found out it is illegal to have one in the city limits so they thought Fort Desoto would be a good place to dump him. I had read about it on Facebook but had forgotten about it until I saw him cruising around the picnic area. They had posted they were trying to catch him although the coyotes would probably get to him first. What? There are coyotes in Fort Desoto? I’ve never seen them. I would love to see one. Anybody else seen them there? A coyote with a rooster in his mouth! Now that would be a great shot. Hey, the coyote’s gotta eat too.

It was a very productive hour and a half trip to Fort Desoto after work.

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Little yellow birds invade Fort Desoto

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Hooded warblers were everywhere. They were walking around in the grass and posing for everyone. I saw this bird last year but never got a shot so this is my first official hooded warbler shot.

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Prairie warblers aren’t too common. There were many of these on the east beach trails.

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After I cropped this up I realized there were tiny white bugs all over the leaves. I think that’s what he was eating.

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White eyed vireos are common during spring migration.

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This one was trying to hide in the fir trees.

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Yellow throated warblers were common around the ranger’s house this weekend.

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My very first prothonotary warbler.

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He was posing for me right when I hit the trail that morning.

Central west Florida had a small fall-out this past weekend. A big storm came through the Tampa Bay area on Thursday and by Friday afternoon, people were posting great migrating birds all over the area. The most populated seemed to be at Fort Desoto so I headed down there early Saturday morning. I skipped the beach and went straight to the woods. I spent over 4 hours looking for little birds in the bushes and trees.  Of course, everyone else had the same idea so it was pretty crowded on trails. Everyone was so nice pointing out things they had seen. I do not know my little birds very well and usually shoot first and look up species later. Saturday I left knowing all but one bird that I had taken pictures of. It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of new people and ran into a few old friends I haven’t seen in a long time.  I also saw a few red and blue birds that aren’t cardinals or blue jays so I’ll post those later.

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