Showing posts from February, 2015

Florida! -- Fort de Soto & Gulfport

Fort de Soto Park.  This series of islands on the Gulf Coast is jam-backed with seriously rad birds.  So many birds I visited three times while I was in Florida despite the $5 entrance fee.  The first time was to meet up with my brother and his family when I first arrived, but since they were running late I had time to check out the beach for a little bit.

 Willets, Laughing Gulls, and Ring-billed Gulls dominated the scene initially.

After sitting in the sand for a few minutes a couple of Black Skimmers appeared!  They came to rest up the beach with a bunch of gulls.

So stoked, this was a bird I had been really wanting to see.  My brother and his family arrived and we poked around the historic fort and even drove around one of those bike/buggy-looking contraptions called a "double-train" as can be seen here.

After that grueling ride my brother and I walked out on the pier to look for sting rays and dolphins.  We found this funny group of birds:

Clockwise from top:  Ruddy T…

Florida! - 28th Street Wetlands & Sawgrass Lake Park

Five days in the sunshine state.  Not enough.  Let's begin.

28th Street Wetlands was not a place I had planned to bird.  My first day in Florida I was driving from my Super 8 to meet my brother and sister-in-law for dinner in downtown St. Pete's when something caught my eye on the side of the road.  Something pink.  A U-turn across four lanes of traffic resulted in my first Roseate Spoonbill.

I was so excited but it was getting dark and I was late for dinner, so I eventually forced myself back in the car.  I went to put it in eBird and learned the spot was called 28th St Wetlands.

You might imagine where I went as soon as the sky began to lighten the next morning...

28th St Wetlands

When I arrived, Boat-tailed Grackles were gathering on the power lines, taking turns bathing and being loud.

Dozens of Cattle Egrets were roosting in trees in the middle of the wetlands.

A Tricolored Heron that initially seemed upset with my presence at the wetlands decided I was alright and flew ba…

Sauvie Island

All the cool kids have been talking about Sauvie Island lately, and with another spring-like day predicted for Portland yesterday, I decided to head out there with the mutts.

Coon Point

I spent over an hour searching for the recently reported Tricolored Blackbird along Gillihan Road before throwing in the towel and heading to Oak Island Road.  Sandhill Cranes flying by at close range were the highlight there.

At Coon Point I walked the dogs up to the dike where Steve Halpern was already set up.  Tundra Swans, Cackling Geese, and American Wigeons made up the majority of birds in the water.  A kestrel flew in to a nearby tree at one point and I watched my first of year Tree Swallow dive at her.  A few minutes later a Sharp-shinned Hawk soared over.

From Coon Point I drove up to Rentenaar Road, stopping to watch a crow dive at a harrier.

And stopping again to check out the Great Blue Heron rookery.

My last stop before Rentenaar was a house that has been empty for a long time.  There are f…