Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Birding Alva with the Caloosa Bird Club

On this chilly morning, we met up with the group by the Franklin's Lock and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise - filled with promises of a great day - and it was.

A Limpkin came and greeted us - I believe it might just be the same Limpkin as last year and I bet this is his regular spot.

Some houses were set up for the Purple Martins - always a joy to see them.

A Loggerhead Shrike seeking his next morsel.

Those Oak Trees are mighty tall and gave us a good neck warm-up. Soon after we left to gather at the White's feeders.

Mr & Mrs White have been members of the Caloosa Club for many years and have graciously opened their house/yard to share the multitude of birds that come to their feeders....here an Indigo Bunting is waiting for a spot by the bird feeder.

In their neighborhood - a singing Carolina Wren was spotted.

An American Goldfinch was soon joined by

the Painted Bunting - wow - I never tire of looking at this bird and it was hard to say good bye...but alas we need to move on.

We drove for a bit along N.River Rd and then reached Parkinson Road where we saw this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker as well as the Red-headed Woodpecker.

Also, a pair of Swallow-tailed Kites were seen perched in a tree before wooing us with their acrobatic flight.

Several Cattle Egrets were resting and cleaning while we walked by - soon after we saw the Wood Ducks.... in flight....they quickly retreated to the back, giving us a brief flight/silhouette view.

A quick pit stop at Franklin Lock Campground provided us views of a Limpkin, a Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Killdeers, an Eagle and several Purple Martins.

Soon after we headed to North River Road - a family of Sandhill Cranes was observed...

the pond has just about dried up and there isn't much left there - we did see a Greater Yellowleg and heard the Meadowlark....

our group enjoyed the view through the barb wire

and watched as the two colts walked far away from their parents - having fun and enjoying the fleeting freedom.
My E-Bird List for Alva.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Migration is heating up

I had the opportunity to visit the Lighthouse to observe migrating birds coming through the area. The front brought some rain and favorable winds - which in turn helped to bring several species on the tip of the island. My good fortune was to be able to witness these species busily feeding their hearts out while enjoying the company of birding friends who love to share their passion and knowledge - a special thank you to the Stokes for giving so much of their time.
So, without much further ado - I would like to present to you our visiting migrants.....
A Barn Swallow taking a rest.....

and a Northern Rough-winged Swallow too.

It is not often that we get to see Swallows sitting still - they usually buzz by as they eat on the fly.

A Yellow-throated Warbler

A Prothonotary Warbler - several were seen today.

Northern Parula

Black-and-White Warbler....this one is not a rare sighting but always strikingly beautiful.

An Ovenbird - a favorite for many, myself included.

It was really nice to see the Red-eyed Vireo today and to hear it sing too.

A Prairie Warbler - it's like a burst of sunshine.

A Hooded Warbler - how cute is that!

A handful of Orchard Orioles was seen today.

And plenty of Indigo Buntings were hanging by the foot of the Lighthouse area.

And let's not forget about the White-eyed Vireo....it was like an entire colony moved in - they were quite plentiful and so much fun to watch. 
 So, folks, get out there - migration has begun and you only have a small window to enjoy it all. My E-Bird List for today.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Babcock Webb with Caloosa Bird Club

Since this yearly trip is very well attended, it has been preferable to set up two separate outing - we opted to go today and were pleased to have such a nice intimate group. The day started out a bit foggy - as spring morning goes - and improved as the hours unfolded....come and take a look....
This particular location is known for their Red-cockaded Woodpecker and the fact that the best way to see them is to be there before sunrise.

We watched the scenery unfold and waited patiently.

We pay particular attention to the trees that are marked with a wide white band - as these are the trees the RCWO nest in.

And here is our star - a 8-1/2" Black-and-white barred back, black cap and large white cheek patch. Even though it looks similar to a Downy or Hairy - this one does not have the solid white back.

The RCWO inhabits open, mature pine woodlands.

We also spotted a few Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers - as pictured here - as well as Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied and Pileated Woodpeckers.

The woodlands and the wildflowers provided a beautiful vista.

A Killdeer on the edge of a dirt road, sitting on his nest - a typical fashion for them to set it up on open ground.

A few Eastern Meadowlarks entertained us with their songs today - I love to hear those guys.

And, oh, what a surprise! A Great Horned Owl perched on the tree top - a fine looking fellow.

Thanks to my Canon SX50, I was able to zoom in to this "X" where the Owl was sitting.

I wonder if he paid us as much attention as we did - I bet not.

Another Meadowlark.

Sweet little Brown-headed Nuthatch sitting nicely for us to observe.

A Shrike! I am used to see them on power lines - this is so much better.

Lilly Pads with Lotus flowers - Lotus to me signify enlightment and purity.

A swamp buggy coming down the trail - Babcock has trips/tours available - a different way to see the place.

For it's size, it was pretty quiet.

The road is open, the price is right and the experience is priceless....try it, you'll like it. My E-Bird List for today.