Today I was fortunate enough to join the Everglades Chapter of the Audubon Society on a car trip around the normally closed Stormwater Treatment Area 1 East. I had gone on the previous trip on Feb 18th and was blessed again today. A bonus for today’s trip was that the leader was David Simpson. He is regarded as one of the very top birders in the state of Florida and his expertise paid off today.
I saw and photographed three new species for the year today but I’m only going to count 2 of them. We had a couple of Grasshopper Sparrows at the beginning of the trip but they were so far away my pictures are not worthy of keeping. I’ll see more before the years over so no worries!
The first big impoundment that we stopped at had White Pelicans, 100’s of Black Skimmers, Blue and Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, American Widgeon, Gadwell and Mottled Ducks, Caspian Terns, Spoonbills and much more. There was a large group of Long-billed Dowitchers and mixed in with them were some Stilt Sandpipers which are a new year bird! The Stilt Sandpiper is the one in the top middle of the frame with the smaller down-turned bill. There is a Long-billed Dowitcher on the right side that makes for a good comparison of the bill length and body size.
Thanks to our wonderful leader we were all treated to a Bronzed Cowbird. This was a new county bird for me and of course a new one for the year. David picked this bird out from 100 yards away. It was way to far away for photographs but unlike most birds that fly away this guy came right to the wires above our cars so everyone got good looks. The definitive field mark for this species is the red eye.
One of Florida’s exotic species is the Purple Swamphen. This bird resembles our Purple Galinule but is larger and much more skittish. We stopped four times today before we finally had a pair that sat still for a couple of minutes before fleeing to the reeds. This is a non ABA countable bird so he can’t go on the list.
I was so stoked to get to 160 species today. Earlier in the week Linda and I had been discussing that number before I went away and sure enough God blessed me with two great bird today!! All 160 species that I’ve photographed in PBC this year can be see right here!
I won’t be Blogging after today until I get back from a cruise with Terri in a week or so. I do really want to thank everyone for visiting my blog and I feel so incredibly blessed when anyone takes the time to comment