I’ve been kind of stuck indoors for the last couple of days due to rain from Tropical Storm Debbie. It’s just really hard to get motivated to go out when it’s cloudy and you can get drenched at any second. I did get out early Sunday morning and was able to find one new year bird and a couple of other nice June challenge birds.
I started the morning at Tory Island Recreation Area which is right on Lake Okeechobee. There is a nice campground and marina there as well as a 6-7 mile long nature trail that leads through a portion of the Island. The reason I came here was because there HAD been a breeding pair of Orchard Oriole’s there as late as last week. I was able to find the nest but there was no Orioles anywhere around. I stayed for 3 hours touring the area but didn’t have any luck.
One constant for the day was that I saw tons of Swallowtail Kites. This is one of the cooler looking Raptors and it was also a June Challenge bird as I had missed it at Riverbend earlier in the month.
I rode my bike about 3 miles down the nature trail and saw a couple of nice birds with the best being this female Painted Bunting.
There were lots of young Common Yellowthroat Warblers who seemed very interested in me and my pishing.
This Brown Thrasher also was curious as to why this strange creature was making all those weird noises. I don’t think this nature trail (really a road) is used much as it is in terrible shape with many, many huge potholes and ruts. I just rode very slow and picked my way around all the hazards.
So having dipped on the Oriole I decided, due to it starting to rain, that I would head inland to a more sure thing for a year bird. I was told by a good friend the location of a bridge where Cliff Swallows are nesting. This was certainly easier than most year birds as there were 20+ Swallows all around the bridge. It was raining when I got there so my pictures stink but it does show the main identifying feature … the cream-colored forehead. Cave Swallows are very similar to the Cliff but they have dark foreheads.
The bridge that the Swallows are on leads to a huge … really huge sod field. This could be the place for shorebirds in a month or so. I did manage to pick up another bird for the June Challenge in some of the wetter fields. There were four Lesser Yellowlegs feeding with a bunch a Black-necked Stilts.
So at this point in my quest and this time of the year I’m always thrilled to add a year bird. I’ll probably go back out and see if I can get some better shots of the Swallows with a blue sky. I was also very happy to find these sod fields as they look like they will be very accessable to birders.
Thanks for taking your valuable time and visiting, I do really appreciate it!!!