Thursday, February 26, 2015

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 back to where I was standing. 



I walked over to where I had seen the spoonbill and sure enough there were a couple around.



The best thing about all these weird Florida birds?  They hang out with other weird Florida birds.

 Wood Stork & spoonbill pals

This was a neat little spot with lifers ripe for the picking before it even really got that light out.  By 8:00 a.m. I was on my way to the next place, Sawgrass Lake Park, to do some birding and exploring with my brother.


While waiting for him to join me I was entertained by a couple of Pileated Woodpeckers, followed by a couple of Blue-headed Vireos...


An Anhinga kept me from molesting alligators...


Shortly after this my brother and I did find some gators, three young ones, out on the lake.


Later on I was watching some White Ibises poke around the grass when I noticed a hawk soar overhead.  It circled allowing some photos, then came back a second time even.


Short-tailed Hawk!  I was not actually expecting to see this bird, so I was stoked.  My brother did not seem impressed.  We explored the rest of the park, getting to see some of them Muddled Ducks nobody likes.


If you want to know more, check out this recent eBird article.  Nearby was some trash and a big turtle.


An Anhinga kept watch here also, probably keeping countless people from molesting the turtle.


That's all for now.  So much more to come.  Good times!

13 comments:

  1. Sweet. I didn't even see a goddamn spoonbill last time I was in Florida, how fucked up is that?

    Ive only birded FL in October...I want to go back in winter or spring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, how did you even accomplish not seeing a spoonbill? That's a skill all on its own.

      Delete
  2. Wood Storks are the shit! I've held a live one on my arms before - he didn't like it. Nice work in the Short-tailed! What a cool lifer!

    Can we just skip ahead to the coolest bird in Florida, the Limpkin? Did you get photos or what?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There will be Limpkins! Stay tuned. I should have tried to hold that stork...

      Delete
    2. Be careful it'll put your eye out...;o)

      Delete
  3. You totally molested those alligators didn't you? Didn't you? They have shame in their eyes.

    Anyone your birding seems to have been/is being awesome. Short-tailed Hawk is a great friggin' lifer, and Spoonbills can't be taken for granted as a close-up bird necessarily, so it's pretty sweet you found a locale that made them so accessible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The birding was awesome for sure and spoonbills were not taken for granted at any distance.

      Delete
  4. COOL to see all the Eastern Birds on your blog...I love the shot of the stork and spoonbill together, I have spoon bills with Ibis before love the gators of course can't wait to see what else you scope out! Congrats on your new lifers!! I don't have a short tail on my list yet!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sondra! Seeing weird birds together is my favorite thing.

      Delete
  5. I miss seeing storks and spoonbills feeding side by side! A once familiar sight for us that you captured with complete justice to both birds. Also, I'm ashamed to say that we never saw a Short-tailed Hawk the entire time we lived there. I'll go excommunicate myself from the birding community now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I was pretty lucky with the hawk, I think your excommunication can be waived this time.

      Delete
  6. wow, wow, and a little more wow. I can't remember the last time I went to a place that seemed totally normal and then just started pulling lifers out of the shrubs and swamp. Well, I actually haven't done that at all, but you get my drift. Looking forward to the rest of the story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow wow wow indeed. Florida is bananas. Well, oranges. But also bananas.

      Delete