Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Incredible!

The birding has been good in August, September, and October so far in Polk county and other places I've been.
Highlights:
We went to a wedding the weekend of August 24th to St Augustine. I woke up early every day and went birding. I saw wave upon wave of Little Blue Herons one morning, and had a generally good time Birding in St Johns County for the first time since starting eBird, indeed, since my college days.
I made my first trip out to the Avon Park Cut Off Rd Sod Fields. There I saw many righteous shorebirds, including a group of White-rumped Sandpipers, and insane numbers of Least Sandpipers.
A trip this last Saturday (Oct 13th) yielded some good birds at Saddle Creek park, including a Yellow-bellied flycatcher I'm trying to confirm. That trip will be worth it's own post.
Also,
I'm going to do a big day on the 26th , and am starting a facebook page to track it.
It's an experiment.
Feel free to join me, either at a particular spot or for the whole trip. I'll be leaving early morning, and back to Lakeland by 5pm. Not sure where we will be visiting just yet. There's reports of a Double-toothed Kite in Hernando county though...

Monday, July 09, 2018

Summertime, the Birding is Not So Easy

It's summertime in Polk county. Lakeland is chock-full of Fish Crows and Grackles (Boat-tailed and Common), mostly recent fledgling birds. Some birds are still nesting. I've located a Blue Jay nest, but these are likely second or third efforts. I've seen at least two young Blue Jays in my backyard this month. There's also signs of nesting Mourning Doves in the parking garage at work. These mostly appear to be past efforts, but I'm keeping an eye out.
    Every bird I see now I'll likely see again. That's something that hit me the other day while birding. They're residents, they don't move much. They're old friends. The Red-bellied woodpecker that drums on my fascia, the Cooper's hawk flying around with a protesting group of Blue jays.
Northern Mockingbirds.
Ohhhhh, mista NOMO, give me NO MO' of that midnight singin'.
Cardinals.
It's time to pay attention to the details. Find the new birds, not the new species on the list, but the birds that didn't exist before this year, the REAL new birds. I've watched a family of cardinals in my yard raise at least two broods, this year, I'm actually catching the males go from drab to fab. It's an interesting process.
June is gone.
There's likely to be little activity this month. The birds will grow quieter. I might find another Mourning dove nest, I don't know. Today (7/9) I found a Brown Pelican on Lake Morton. That's about as exciting as I can expect right now, unless I manage to find a Yellow-crowned night heron.

I'll watch the littles grow, with gladness.
It's good to know the birds have a future.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Always Be Birding

Most lists I submit to eBird are of short trips I take walking around Downtown Lakeland, while running an errand. This time, I found a Great Egret hunting lizards. This video was 30 seconds after he gulped down a Brown Anole.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fall Report

I've been birding more, not biking so much. I did take the time to train and run a 5k though. Still feeling some positive effects from that, but I'm getting that old restless urge to exercise more again.
I have, after all, finally turned forty.
It use to be, I was the young guy at all the Audubon Society meetings, now I'm the old guy.
Of course, I haven't been to an Audubon Society meeting in a long while either , so I could still be the young guy. I hope not though, conservation should be something we all care about regardless of age.

Bird notes:
I got my first sparrow at Holloway park!
Saw 3 Savannah Sparrows on the north side of the race course parking area on November 5th. There's a ditch that didn't get mowed with some tall standing weeds in it, and the birds were there. At first I reported them as grasshopper sparrows, but the breasts on all three birds were well streaked, and showing a spot in the middle. Plus the median crown stripe was thin, and not very light. Also, the birds were very brown, not buffy at all, except a little toward the lores. Sibley convinced me. I was really looking at Savannah sparrows.
I'm grateful for them now though, because I saw another one this last Saturday. If ebird is to be believed, Savannah is one of the more common sparrows at Holloway in the winter. Know what's always there, and you'll discover what's new when something new shows up!
The catbirds are back. On my birthday, my dad and I went out there, and we counted no less than 9, probably heard more too.
Lake Morton has returning ducks.
There's a growing number of Ring-necked ducks, and Lesser scaup. I've even managed to count a few Ruddy ducks! As the season progresses, I'll be paying close attention to this spot either after work, or during my lunch break.
Can't wait to find a Hooded merganser there!
My use of eBird is ever expanding, what a valuable tool! I'm doing my best to submit useful lists that detail information. I've expanded my personal list locations, and even started a yardlist to catch those birds that pass through here at the home base.
My wife and I are in talks about what to do for our wedding anniversary next year. Part of it may involve some travel out of state. I hope to be able to use this as an opportunity to open up more locations on my eBird life list.
We shall see!
Until then, the bike is going in the shop ASAP and getting road worthy, time to dust off the wheels, and take 'er fer a spin, keepin' the 'nocs out the spokes.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Planning the Birding

New Year, added focus.
Every year, I want to go birding more, and every year, I eek a little more out of birding, try different things, make it more productive I think. I really like eBird, and last year I expanded my use of it. Things kind of tapered off at the end of the year though.

After New Year, I decided to go birding around Lake Morton after I got off work. So far, this has been a pretty good activity, the couple of times I've made it. There's a bunch of introduced swans and ducks, but for some reason, this is the lake all the winter diving ducks seem to hang out. All winter, Scaup, Ring-necked, and Ruddy ducks play around. There's even a bunch of American pelicans that hang out around the edge of the lake in the winter. Summer time, there's still waders of all kinds, Wood ducks, occasional Solitary Sandpipers, not to mention all the exotics that are kept as wild pets.

There's the local hotspots as well, especially Circle B Bar Reserve. The sandpipers there have really been showing out! Reports of Ruff, Western, and a Phalarope. I got Stilt, Pectoral, White-rumped, Solitary, Least, and Semipalmated sandpipers in addition to a nemesis bird: Bobolink!

Holloway shines bright as the closest hotspot to my house. I'm still sparrowless at that site, but I'm managed to see 73 species there so far. This year, I've added 8 species to my site list there, and I've got high hopes for the rest of the year. Even after the sandpiper blitz at Circle B, Holloway is still the place I've seen the most species of birds. It's my goal to be 90+ species there by the end of November.

I also want to expand out of Polk county. Get into Pinellas and Ft Desoto. Visit some of the other coastal spots. I anticipate a birthday big day that encompasses the I-4 corridor somehow. This summer I plan to visit my parents, and I want to open up some places on the way there, and where they live with the kids. Visit the Louisiana State Arboretum and Chicot state park. The kids would like it there, I think. It seems to be set up similarly to the nature center at Circle B Bar. I want to tromp around Kisatchie National Forest looking for Red cockaded woodpeckers!

I'm making plans. Plans to bike and go birding, hike and go birding, teach kids about the outdoors and go birding. I can't wait to find out what I'll see next.