Western Palm Beach County and Lake Okeechobee

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.

Swallow-tail Kite

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.

Painted Bunting … Another species I did not expect to see in the summer in Florida!

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.

Young Common Yellowthroat

There were lots of young Common Yellowthroat Warblers who seemed very interested in me and my pishing.

Brown Thrasher

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.

Cliff Swallow … Palm Beach County Photographic Big Year Bird #192 !!!

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.

Lesser Yellowlegs … did I mention that it was raining!!

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!!!


About sheriffsmith

I have worked for the Broward County Sheriff's Office the last 13 years and spend most of my free time birdwatching / naturewatching and photographing the birds and nature that I encounter. I believe God has blessed us with a world that is so absolutely fascinating and wonderful and I'm doing my best to discover and show others all that he has provided us with in nature.
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5 Responses to Western Palm Beach County and Lake Okeechobee

  1. If you haven’t been and ever get a chance, I highly recommend coming to Canada and enjoying the stopping off place for many species of birds, Point Pelee National Park http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/on/pelee/natcul/page3_e.asp It’s the perfect place for birdwatchers.

  2. newbiebird says:

    You are a brave man birding in this weather!

  3. Deb Platt says:

    I especially liked seeing the photo a the swallow kite flying.

    I just did a post on the Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk, and I included a photo of a Lesser/Greater Yellow Legs (I can’t tell them apart). I’m an aspiring bird watcher, but honestly I don’t have that much luck locating birds when I’m in a wooded setting. However, when I’m near the water those birds seems so much easier to see.

    I was just at the Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk yesterday evening and I saw Cedar Waxwings there for the first time. Of course I didn’t have a camera with me. DOH! I should never go there without one.

  4. Wow! Great pictures! We love all the pictures especially the close-ups.They are beautiful!

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