Last week we were treated to Tropical Storm Isaac as it brushed by South Florida. We had some strong winds but nothing to dramatic. What we did get out of the storm was tons and tons of rain. Something like 10-15 inches, depending on your location. For bird watchers this was like the perfect situation. We had the strong winds out of the East and that helped to blow in some really nice, but rarely seen birds and the worst of the storm and damage stayed away. I actually added 5 new birds to my year list this past week and the storm was responsible for 4 of them.
(You can click on any picture and it will resize to fit your screen and the image is sharper)
I managed to capture images of three different Pelagic birds the day after Isaac passed. The most unusual was a group of Brown Noddies that were on the intercostal side of the Boynton Beach Inlet. Generally the only time we see this species is down in the Dry Tortugas or once in a while on a Pelagic boat trip. I was happy to see these guys and even happier that I got two birding friends to come out and see them.
I also picked up two Tern Species. Bridled and Sooty Terns are very similar in appearance and that is why I prefer taking pictures. I personally could never ID these guys in flight with certainty as the differences are pretty subtle. The Sooty Tern is all one color on the top side of the bird. Its Black cap is the same color as its back while the Bridled Tern also has a Black cap but its back is Gray in color. The Bridled Tern’s White forehead extends back above the eye while the Sooties is much shorter and stops in front of the eye. Taking pictures confirms the ID but what it really has done is help me be more confident the next time I see one of these two.
The last three species were photographed the day after Isaac had passed. I was one of the brave/crazy ones who went out the day it was really blowing and while the Inlet and most of the other parks were closed I managed to find a spot in Lantana that was still open. I found a corner of the building where I was mostly out of the wind and while I didn’t see a huge variety of birds I did have a very friendly Willet drop in and stay just long enough for me to capture his image. Willets are not that hard to find, I just had not seen one yet this year.
So there is 4 out of the 5 species. The last new one is a little different. The Purple Swamp Hen is a species that at the beginning of the year I couldn’t count but recently the Florida Ornithological Society has added it to Florida’s official list. It is a fairly common bird in the Western part of the county and I actually saw one today so it’s good to be able to now count it! This picture was from 2 weeks ago at STA 1 East.
I’ve been fortunate to get out and bird a lot lately and will post tomorrow about an unplanned big day that kind of just happened Wednesday.
Thank you so much for following, and all the likes and specially all of your wonderful comments. If you’d like to see all 209 species I’ve photographed this year in Palm Beach County Florida you can click here for my Flickr page.