On my weekends I like to spend a little more time in places that I can’t get to during the week. Palm Beach County is a very large county with a good portion of it being wilderness areas. This is specially true of the Northern part of the county and the spot I birded this morning. The J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area is over 60,000 acres of Pine Scrub and Wetlands habitat. I have hopes of finding Brown-headed Nuthatch, Red-cockaded Woodpecker and a few other other wood loving birds one of these days.
While I didn’t find any of those species I did find something equally exciting. In South Florida the Raptor we most generally see is the Red-shouldered Hawk and this was a beautiful adult in full color. I was soon to find out where it was going to in a big hurry.
There are many little side roads that are not navigable by anything less than a Swamp Buggy and I had stopped at one right after taking the shot of the above Hawk. I had not seen where it had gone but had decided I needed to stretch my legs and was going to explore this side road. As soon as I stepped out I heard the Hawk calling and when I looked up I saw her fly down to her nest. I feel truly blessed every time I’m out in nature but to watch this nest for an hour or so was truly a God moment! Thank you Lord!
I finally left these guys and moved down the road a bit when I heard Killdeer calling. I slowed down and just then a pair of Greater Yellowlegs flew right in front of me. Well, I just had to stop and investigate. Four pair of Killdeers had made their nests in the wheel ruts left by some off-roaders. The lighting was terrible so I was just enjoying watching the goings on when one of them decided he was going to circle me and let me know who was boss. He flew around me 3-4 times before I got the hint and moved on.
While not finding the Red-cockaded Woodpecker I managed to get most of the other Florida species missing only the Hairy. I had Pileated, Downey, Red-headed, Red-bellied, this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Northern Flicker!
My local birding partners will notice that the Flicker is a new year bird! I’ve been chasing this one all year and it was incredible how I found him. I had packed up my gear and was heading out of the park. The road out is a dirt road that is 3-4 miles long. It was quite warm and I had the windows down and just as I left the dirt portion of the road I heard this guy call. I whipped around and he flew right up and stayed on this branch and allowed me to get MANY nice shots. If he had been even 50 yards down the road I would not have heard him do to the road noise from the dirt, another thank you God moment.
I have to relate a quick story from last week. While birding with Clare and Eric who are doing a lower 48 States Big Year they had commented on how they immediately knew when they heard a Fish Crow calling. In Indiana all they have are American Crows so as soon as they heard the Ungh-Ungh call they new what it was. In PBC we have like 99% Fish Crows and I’ve heard them calling a million times. Today I heard and photographed a pair of American Crows. I KNEW right away they were not Fish Crows and they were the 164th species I’ve managed to capture this year. The pictures are not blog worthy but can be seen on my Flickr page here.
Thank you for visiting and believe it or not there were more exciting things from today that I’ll share tomorrow!