Overcast skies greeted me when I awoke this morning. After a quick drink of juice I was out the door and counting birds. Unless someone takes me someplace in a car, most of my birding is restricted to where I can walk to. So it is that most of my bird counts are within walking distance of my brother's house. That isn't so bad as so far I have counted 32 species of birds around here! I have not been to even one wildlife park yet, but yesterday we did take a drive to the dump!
My sister-in-law, Donna, took my mother and I to the Charlotte County Landfill on Zemmel Road in Punta Gorda. As soon as we turned down the road I could see hundreds of birds circling in the sky over the dump. Most of them were Turkey Vultures but I knew there were other species mixed in. We drove past the dump and turned around and entered the recycle area first. I asked to get out while they turned the car around as I started to count vultures. Next thing I know they were pulling up behind me and telling me to get in the car. They drove me quickly back to a marshy area and pond where there was a pair of sandhill cranes standing in the marsh and floating at the edge of the grass was an alligator. The alligator was about 6 feet long and doing its best log impression with only the eyes and the snout sticking out. Motionless, it stared at the cranes and we were all concerned for them but it soon became apparent that they were aware of the 'gater as they slowly moved away from it.
We drove along the 1.3 mile recycle road and saw other birds in other ponds, including 3 Pied-billed Grebes, Great Egrets, a Snowy Egret, a white-morphed Reddish Egret, 2 Little Blue Herons, and an Anhinga. Once done counting birds on that road we drove back out onto Zemmel Road and into the main entrance to the landfill. We were barely in the entrance when I jump out to count the birds that surrounded us in trees and on a little island in the middle of a small pond as well as up the slopes to the main dump pile and flying overhead. There were hundreds of Cattle Egrets as well as Wood Storks, White Ibises, more Great Egrets, Anhingas, Black Vultures, Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagles, dozens of gulls, Fish Crows, and Brown-headed Cowbirds! The Brown-headed Cowbirds were new to my Florida Life List and the Little Blue heron, the White Ibises, the Reddish Egret and the Laughing and Ring-billed Gulls are all new to my Florida Year List. Later in the day my brother took us for a drive to see some Burrowing Owls. while I had seen Burrowing owls here back in 2003, I was not able to add them to my eBird list as I had not recorded the date and the location that I saw them. Now they were finally on my Florida Life List! On our drive around we also found some Killdeer. Then, this morning I found Common Gallinules in the canal across the street and I had my largest bird count yet at 23 species of birds. As a result, here is where things stand so far:
- Florida Life List: 83 species
- Florida 2014 Year List: 49 species
- Lee County Life List: 74
- Lee County 2014 Year List: 34
- Cape Coral Neighborhood List: 32
- Total FL Checklists submitted 2014: 26
- Kathie's Life List: 465
- Kathie's 2014 Year List: 181
- Kathie's February Month List: 87 species (all birds seen since February 1st across the whole USA)