Total Pageviews

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tufted Duck at Parvin State Park near Vineland NJ

Tufted Duck at center rear

      Sharon and I made an attempt today for the Tufted Duck found at Parvin State Park near Vineland, NJ. We arrived around 9:45AM and started scanning the lake and found lots of Greater Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, Buffleheads, Wood Duck and Horned and Pied-billed Grebes. Then I was joined by Armas Hill and we talked to a passerby who told us that there is another lake that the bird is being seen on this morning. So we hopped back in the car and headed to Thundergust Lake about 1/2 mile away. We arrived there and quickly knew that the bird must be present as we couldn't find a parking spot. That was a good indicator. 
      We strolled down the path alongside the lake and found the crowd and quickly got on the duck. It was a nice looking male, in good sunlight, with a thick, long tuft hanging down the back of its head. My photos were not great, as you can see above, but you should check out the ebird sighting list here to look at better photos.
       The park is only about an hour drive from Media, and is easy to get to, so you should consider a quick trip over to see this rare and wonderful visitor from Europe.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Florida Trip - Day 5

       We began today's adventure at Loxahatchee NWR. As we turned off the main road and were driving along the side road to the entrance gate we stopped to checked out the utility wires for any parakeets that might be hanging around the area. We didn't spot any, and as I was ready to drive on, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a large, strange bird walking along the roadside we had just driven past. So I quickly did a U-turn and pulled alongside this creature which turned out to be the first of many Limpkins.
         Moving on, we decided to take the Cypress Swamp Boardwalk Trail located behind the visitors center. We found lots of Northern Parulas and Red-bellied Woodpeckers and than we heard the call of some kind of parakeet. We never did see the birds but I'm guessing it was either a Monk or Nanday Parakeet.
        Back in the car we drove to the main area of the refuge, which is the water impoundment section. We walked about half way around finding lots of Common Gallinules, Pied-billed Grebes and herons. At this point we climbed an observation tower and started scanning. Luck was with us as we spotted two distant Snail Kites. As we went further around the impoundment we managed to get some good close views of the kites.
Snail Kite with Apple Snail in talons
        After finishing up at Loxahatchee we went back to Green Cay Wetlands for a second visit. I got a quick glimpse of the La Sagra's Flycatcher again. At the visitor's center the Painted Buntings were still coming to the feeders and along the boardwalk we managed some close up photography as well.
Tri-colored Heron

       Along the boardwalk there was a knot in the wood that reminded me of a lion's face. I thought that it was pretty cool.
Lion's Head
        We finished our visit at Green Cay and tried Wakodahatchee Preserve for a Fulvous Whistling-Duck but only came away with about 30 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks. Having the need to really see some sort of parrot or parakeet we went back again to Loxahatchee. Good thing we did because on the same wires that we searched for the birds before there were now two Nanday Parakeets perched on the wire. Lifer number three for this trip.
Trust me - they are Nanday Parakeets
        We headed north after this and went to the town of Jupiter, which was on our way back toward the airport. We took a quick look at the Jupiter Lighthouse and then headed to Jonathon Dickinson State Park.
                            Jupiter Lighthouse
       At this park we were searching for the Florida Scrub-Jay but all we found instead were some Sandhill Cranes. Leaving the park we headed for the West Palm Beach airport and a non-eventful flight home. Below are some more photos from various places.
Common Gallinule

Mottled Duck

Egyptian Goose

Little Blue Heron


Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks

Old Missile site in Everglades NP


Bromilead of some type

Rough Green Snake


Friday, March 1, 2013

Florida Trip - Day 4

       We started our fourth day in the Fort Myers area of Florida. We decided to try a place called Bunche Beach Preserve.
Kayaking at Bunche Beach
       Bunche Beach is located in Fort Myers Beach and offers some great shorebirding opportunities. There is a mile long beach that you are able to walk along and the shoreline itself is covered in mangroves. From the shore you able to see Sanibel Island across the bay. We parked the car and as soon as we hit the beach there were shorebirds all over the place. There were close up looks at two Wilson's Plovers among the Sanderlings and Dunlin.
One of two Wilson's Plover
        Also among the shorebirds were several Piping Plovers which was a new state bird for us.
Piping Plover
        Other birders were present on the beach and it seemed everyone of them that we talked to were foreign. We spoke to a British couple and showed them some Black Skimmers and a fly over Bald Eagle which they were quite excited to see. There was a German couple who actually pointed out to us some Marbled Godwits and then a man from Canada also. 
        As we continued along the beach it started wrapping around a corner and we found ourselves walking along a small stream.Along this stream we came across Spotted Sandpiper and a surprise bird that I didn't really expect to see.
Turned out to be a Long-billed Curlew
        Back out on the beach we found plenty of gulls, Caspian and Royal Terns, Willets and Pelicans. So we started heading back to the parking lot and headed for Sanibel Island. The causeway over to the island had a few pull offs that we stopped and found our first and only Common Loon for the trip. Also there was a Great Egret stalking a fisherman waiting to steel his catch.
Black & White of Great Egret
       On the island it was a real hassle getting around. We were going to Ding Darling NWR which is about 5 miles from the causeway. It took us over an half an hour to get to the refuge because of the traffic. We finally arrived at the refuge and took the tour. The only new bird we added was a Reddish Egret dancing around in a pond as he was hunting for lunch. After this we headed to lunch at a real nice restaurant called Cip's. We dined on the outdoor patio and were kept company by two Sandhill Cranes. We actually did observe some Sandhills but didn't get photos.
Two Sandhill Crane statues
        After lunch we hightailed it off the island and on our way through Fort Myers we stopped at the Thomas Edison winter laboratory. 
Banyan Tree at the Edison Home
Al resting at the Caloosahatchee River
         From here we traveled across the state again to the Atlantic side of Florida where we stayed in Boynton Beach and plans were to go to Loxahatchee NWR  and back to Wakodahatchee Preserve.
Night at Boynton Beach