This is the time of the year when I like to take a day or two off from work and do some serious birding. I took Monday off so I could have a nice three-day weekend and on Monday my good birding buddy Cheryl and I drove the four and a half hours up to Ft De Soto in search of some migrants and other birds not found in Palm Beach County.
Fort De Soto is a spit of land right at the end of Tampa Bay and when the winds are just right trans-gulf migrants will get blown in off the Gulf of Mexico and can make for some amazing birding. Monday wasn’t one of those monumental days but we had a wonderful assortment of birds none the less and I was happy to see a few birds I probably wouldn’t have seen if we had stayed and birded locally.
One of the stand out features at Fort De Soto are a couple of Mulberry Bushes that are huge attractors of a multitude of species. Grosbeaks, Catbirds, Waxwings and Orioles can all be found gorging themselves on the ripe fruit. It can become kind of humorous as their bills and facial feathers become stained in purple.
The water fountain is also another great feature at the Park. For a bird that has just flown all night long fresh water can be a life saver. I’ve sat and watched the fountain here and in the Dry Tortugas and watched as the birds sit in nearby trees just waiting for their turn. This fountain is large enough at the base that Ibis and others actually can bathe in it.
Warblers are probably the number one sought after birds when visiting Ft De Soto and we managed to see nine species including … Palm and Praire Warblers, Black-throated Green, Blackpoll, Blue-winged and Hooded Warblers, Black and White, Northern Parula and a Common Yellowthroated Warbler. There are days at the park when you can see 20 plus species of Warblers and I hope to get up there for a fallout like that.
Just a few more pictures to show the variety of birds you can see at Fort De Soto even on a “Normal” day!!
Hardcore all day birding is not something you can do everyday. Cheryl and I spent 10 hours or so birding and with the 9 hours of driving it made for a very long but very satisfying day and I look forward to more birding adventures.
Thank you so very much for visiting. I had an exciting day yesterday picking up a couple of County Birds and I’ll share those soon!!! God Bless!