Thursday, March 6, 2014

100 Florida Birds!

I'm sitting at my brother's table listening to the rain falling on the roof of the lanai. Today is my last day here and as of last night I was at 98 species in Florida for this trip. It was my goal to go over 100 species in Florida and I passed that mark on March 2nd when we took a drive out to Sanibel Island. Not only did I see Black-bellied Plovers and Dunlins, I also saw a Magnificent Frigatebird on the Sanibel Island Causeway where we stopped to count birds on our way back making 100 species in Florida! The Frigatebirds was also a Life Bird for me and I was able to get pictures! 

However, I was frustrated by my the restrictions of my brother's schedule and I felt the days slipping away. Not to be unkind to him, for he does have to work and he is in the midst of selling his house! Finally I got smart and asked Gus if I could rent a car. When I saw how inexpensive it was I was thrilled, and then I wondered why I didn't do this sooner! The truth is, I was so thankful just to be here and I was trying to be conservative with my dollars, but I saw my birding chances slipping away and I acted. I was able to rent a car for 2 days and visited Six Mile Cypress Slew in Ft. Myers as soon as I left the airport on Monday. On Tuesday I was frozen with indecision about where to spend my one precious full day of birding, but after searching for the Florida Scrub Jay yet again in Cape Coral without success I got a Facebook update from my friend and fellow birder and blogger, Mia McPherson.  Mia sent me a link to Oscar Scherer State Park in Laurel, FL. I decided the Florida Scrub Jay was the most important bird for me to see, so I jumped in my car, set the GPS and drove an hour and half north to find it. I had to hike out through the Florida Scrub and within the first 10 minutes I saw a Swallowtail Kite, which was also a Life Bird, but still no scrub jay. I had reached the farthest bend in the trail and was headed back before I saw first one and then two scrub jays. My relief was so great that after photographing the birds I walked down the trail wiping tears of joy from my eyes. After finding this bird I figured anything else I saw was just a bonus!

Wednesday morning was my last chance to use the car before I had to return it in the afternoon. I decided to stay in town and bird the new Yellow Fever Creek Preserve right here in Cape Coral and count ducks along the Del Prado Linear Park. While I did not get the Limpkin, I did add Brown Thrasher and House Wren at Yellow Fever Creek. By birding the ponds at the Del Prado Linear Park I added American Coot, Ring-necked Duck, Mottled Duck and a stray Eurasian Widgeon to the list! My List was pegged at 98 species for the year in Florida and I thought sure I was done, but every day that I have been here I have added at least one new species to my Florida Year List. So, I should not have been surprised when earlier this morning I was standing outside the front door doing one last bird count and I noticed 2 small doves on the ground in my brother's front yard. A closer look reveled a short tail, scaly breast and yellow bill with a black tip. When a car drove by and the birds flew off I saw the Rufus under-wings of the Common Ground Dove! Species #99 for this trip! I still have a few more hours left in this state. perhaps I will yet add species #100 to the trip list! Tomorrow morning we board the train in Winter Haven and my husband, Gus, will pick us up Saturday afternoon in New London, CT. Hopefully by the next time I post I will have bird pictures to show you!

Helpful Links:
My eBird Stats as of 3-6-2014:
  • Life List: 468
  • Year List: 210/211*
  • Month of March List: 85/86*
  • Florida Life List: 115
  • Florida Year List: 99/100*
  • eBird Top 100 Ranking/Species Seen: 196
  • eBird Top 100 Ranking/Checklists Submitted: 32 (310 checklist submitted so far this year)

Life Birds added:

#465. Magnificent Frigatebird
#466. Swallowtail Kite
#467. Florida Scrub jay
#468. Muscovey Duck (this bird is countable in Florida!)


*UPDATE: 100 BIRDS AFTER ALL!!!! Tonight while driving home from dining on Pine Island I saw a Yellow-crowned Night Heron perched on the utility wires alongside the road. While I had seen the Yellow-crowned Night Heron on my first trip to Florida back in 2003, it was the only heron species I had not seen on this trip. It is now species #100 for my 2014 Florida Trip!


13 comments:

  1. I am SO happy you found the jays and that Oscar Scherer State Park was the place for you to see them! Had it not been for the weather I might not have been home to see your post about not seeing them. I guess I am glad the weather was crappy for me!

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    1. Mia, me too! And I do hope that one of these days we can bird together in person! Thanks for being with me virtually!

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  2. Thanks for the links! I cannot wait to go. My friend is excited.....I just hope she can keep up with me:) I bet she'll be sick of birds by the time I leave:)

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    1. Chris, she will either be sick or in LOVE!

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  3. Oh!!!! Good to know about the Muscovy Duck!

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  4. HI Kathie What a wonderful trip this has been for you and I would have loved to have been with you to see all these fantastic birds. I am looking forward to seeing your photos.

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    1. Margaret, I will be torn between unpacking boxes and wanting to blog!

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  5. Kathie, sounds like your Florida trip was awesome. A great count of birds seen and congrats on your lifers. The Scrub Jay is a cool sighting. Happy Birding!

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    1. Eileen, it was so exciting once it finally happened!

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  6. Congratulations on taking the initiative, hiring the car and achieving your no. 1 goal of seeing the Florida Scrub-jay. It sounds like a productive holiday and I'll be looking forward to the photos.

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  7. That's so great that you got your 100 species here! Congrats!

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  8. Congratulations on surpassing 100 birds on your Florida trip. Have a safe trip home.

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  9. Hi Kathie

    Congratulations on all the birds. I am looking forward to your photos.

    Guy

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Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.