Friday, July 12, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

  With June over I only have a month left of free birding before having to buckle down again and start looking for fall migrants. Basically this means I am running out of time to find a Wild Turkey and Hairy Woodpecker. These are two birds that are known to occur in the county but are extremely difficult to come across. Having given turkey a few tries I decided to grab the Leica V-LUX 4 and head west on Tamiami Trail to check for Hairy Woodpecker at the Dade-Collier line on the 1st of July.

My first photogenic Fox Squirrel!

  US-41 (AKA SW 8 street AKA Tamiami Trail) has several seasonal specialties along with county specialties that are a must during the year. In the summer months this is a great spot to find nesting Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, White-eyed Vireos, Common Yellowthroats, Prothonotary Warblers, Yellow-billed Cuckoos and Carolina Wrens. Of course that's not including the county specialties like Wood Duck, Tufted Titmouse and Hairy Woodpecker! This was my third time out west this year and so far I hadn't had much luck with the woodpecker. They are not very common anywhere this far south and it would have to be by complete luck that I were to find one down the trail. I started at the county line and slowly worked my way back east. I not only came across the before mentioned nesters but also found several singing Northern Parulas and a family group of Eastern Kingbirds. After having a great day and coming across some neat summer birds I still managed to dip the woodpecker. 

This fledgling was a pleasant surprise

  Missing Nanday Parakeet on the 23rd of June was definitely a blow to the ABA Exotic Big Day and was eating away at me. Finally on the 2nd I had enough time to get to the roost before dawn and wait for them to wake up. It was a gloomy morning at 6:45 am when I arrived and not a single bird was out. Slowly the morning chorus began - Blue Jays, Northern Mockingbirds and Cardinals were singing away but no parakeets. I knew I wasn't too late and I just had to  be patient... unfortunately that's not one of my virtues but finally out of the cavity I saw a little dark head poke out! The first bird checked the area and made sure the coast was clear before coming out and perching on the power line. Then it was followed by a second and a third! By the time they all left the roost there were 5 birds total hanging out squawking and preening on the power lines before finally taking off and flying to the north. With all the Mango trees in fruit around the area they can literally be anywhere and tracking them during the day is pretty much a lost cause. Thanks to Leica Store Miami I still had the Leica V-LUX 4 handy and started shooting this great video of them before they left for the day. The great thing about the camera is the ability to lighten the picture with just a few turns of a wheel on the body of the camera. The overcast morning made taking pictures difficult and for the most part not even worth it. Luckily Bill Boeringer had to told me about this spot and helped me get year bird #263!

  The mornings of the 3rd and 4th were spent doing a little beach birding while running the morning sea turtle survey. This is actually how I found the Roseate Tern last year for the June Challenge! It was nice and windy so I was hoping to get an interesting tern on the beach but just like all of June there was nothing but Least and Royals gathered between the life guard towers. After finishing up I headed home for the day and that's when I received a very interesting text message from Jack Crittenden. He had a CAROLINA CHICKADEE at A.D. Barnes Park!!! I couldn't believe it... I got my  brother and flew out there at fast as possible. Earlier in the year Larry Manfredi found one in Matheson Hammock but in the 20 minutes it took me to arrive it had completely disappeared.  Well not this time! We got there to find Jack standing underneath the bird who was in full song! Even if he wasn't around to point it out, we would have been able to find the bird from just how loud it was singing. The chickadee continued to be vocal as he flew from one Live Oak to the next until about 10:15 am. After following him around all this time the bird completely stopped singing and just disappeared - just like what happened to Larry! Never in a million years would I think a chickadee would appear in the middle of summer but I'm definitely not complaining! 

For as vocal as this little guy was he never gave me an opportunity for a decent shot

  With just 36 birds left to go it's crunch time! With storm season in full effect I'll hopefully be able to go one a couple more pelagics and come across that Red-footed Booby... now that's wishful thinking!!

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