Fabulous (Lifer) Weekend and So Much More

For those of you who may not be hard-core birders a “Lifer” is a bird that you have seen for the very first time ever.  Usually when I bird, unless I travel to another state, I have little chance at getting a new bird but today I actually saw not one but two “Lifers”!

The two new species I saw were both Ducks and both on the same lake.  That was very convenient as I only had to drive to one location.  Today I ventured about 2 hours North to the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.  This was the first ever National Wildlife Refuge and they have a super cool observation tower that has every NWR and the year it was built as part of the entrance walk … something I should have taken a picture of but since I didn’t, here’s a link to someone who did!  Name Planks 

The Eurasian Wigeon is a species that is regular in the US every Winter but is still quite rare and I thought that with the weather being as perfect as it was I just had to go see one for myself.  The 100’s of ducks on this lake were all quite skittish and most of them never allowed anything even close to a close shot but I did manage to get many long distance shots and had a few that show both the Eurasian Wigeon and an American Wigeon for comparison.

Eurasian Wigeon ... He is the one with the Red head !!

Eurasian Wigeon … He is the one with the Red head !!

The second “Lifer” was the White-cheeked Pintail.  This is a Bahamian species that is seen every couple of years in South Florida.  When one of these shows up many birders question whether it is a wild bird or an escapee.  This one seems to be one of the wild ones as he has no bands and has been hanging out with this large group of ducks for 3-4 weeks now.  The group got spooked by an Eagle a couple of times while I was observing them and each time this guy blasted off with the rest of the Ducks just like he should have.  He just did not seem like an escapee to me so I am definitely going to count him!!!

White-cheeked Pintail ... This was a lucky one ... the group had just come in for a landing and I was sitting on the bank right where they came down!

White-cheeked Pintail … This was a lucky one … the group had just come in for a landing and I was sitting on the bank right where they came down!  They didn’t stay long once they saw me!

Beside these two species there were Northern Shovelers, Blue-winged Teal, Ring-necked Ducks, Scaup and American Widgeon.  Quite a wonderful assortment and quite a surprise for me!!

Sebastain Inlet State park is only about 5 miles further North from Pelican Island so I decided to see what was cooking up there.  Boy was I happy I did as there was tons of stuff to take pictures of and being a perfect blue sky weather day I took advantage of it.  Here are a few of my results from today!

Northern Gannet ... This is a not often seen species ... at least from the beach but there were a dozen or so fishing right next to the pier.

Northern Gannet … This is a not often seen species … at least from the beach but there were a dozen or so fishing right next to the pier.

Northern Gannet ... This guy even decide to rest awhile!

Northern Gannet … This guy even decide to rest awhile!

Willet ... This has to be one of the prettiest shorebirds in flight and to get four at once was even better!

Willet … This has to be one of the prettiest shorebirds in flight and to get four at once was fantastic!

I then spent a little time right on the beach and managed to get very close to the resting flock of Gulls and Terns and Black Skimmers.  The group had to number close to 200 and allowed for some really cool closeups.

Black Skimmer ... He was coming in for a landing!

Black Skimmer … He was coming in for a landing!

Sandwich Tern ... This guy is in FULL breeding plumage.  His feathers really are that pinkish color !!!

Sandwich Tern … This guy is in FULL breeding plumage. His feathers really are that pinkish color !!!

Willets

Willets

Semi-palmated Sandpipers

Semi-palmated Sandpipers

Today was a fabulous day and I had almost as good of Saturday having visited Loxahatchee NWR and Green Cay.  I haven’t added it up yet but I’m sure I saw over 100 species of birds for my two days off including the two lifers and a couple of new birds for the county!

Thank you all for visiting and thank you for your patience with my skimpy number of posts lately … I keep promising to do better and then life  seems to get in the way!!

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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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2 Responses to Fabulous (Lifer) Weekend and So Much More

  1. CK says:

    Revisit this page, really like the black skimmer shot

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