North Florida … Final Chapter

I ended my North Florida swing with a quick pass through Ft DeSoto County Park near Tampa.  There were a couple of real nice birds being reported from there and I was fortunate to find both of them in a relatively short period of time.

Franklin's Gull

Franklin’s Gull … My 3rd “Lifer” of the trip!

I started the morning early at the beach near the pier where a young Franklin’s Gull was being reported hanging out with a large group of Laughing Gulls.  This species can be tricky to ID … unless it’s standing right next to the larger Laughing Gull.  The slightly smaller size and darker cap with larger white eye arcs set it apart from the similar looking Laughing Gull.

The second bird I was searching for was a Western Tanager.  I spent an hour or so looking for it with a few other birders and came up empty.  Ft DeSoto is a wonderful place to see a few species that are very tough to see in Palm Beach County so I headed to the North Beach area and recorded these nice guys.

American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatcher

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit

Willets are a fairly plain-looking bird when you see them on the shoreline … but when they are in flight they are some of the flashiest.  The below picture is a good example that if you click on the image it will make it much larger and much easier to appreciate their beauty.

Willets

Willet

Sandwich Tern

Sandwich Tern

Very similar to what happened when looking for the Snowy Owl just as I was leaving the North Beach a young couple told me they just got done looking at the Tanager.  I raced back up to the area where it was being seen and fortunately it was still there and a few people were looking at it. While it was difficult to get a good picture of it due to it being very high in the tree and feeding quite slowly I was happy to get another new “State” bird!

Western Tanager

Western Tanager

I finally sat down and figured out the statistics for the trip.  I drove 1248 miles and walked probably another 15 or so.  I found 3 “Life” birds … the Snowy Owl, Franklin’s Gull and Nelson’s Sparrow.  I added 5 new birds to my state list … the above three plus the Western Tanager and the Sedge Wren.  My total species count for the trip was 126 including a few I might not see the rest of the year, so all in all it was one fantastic trip that I look forward to repeating every January.

Thank you all so much for following and I really do appreciate all the lovely comments.  God bless!

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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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One Response to North Florida … Final Chapter

  1. When I first glanced your photo of the Franklin’s gull, I was fascinated by the whole color scheme which made it look white, cold and snowy-ish down in Florida! Love your photos and enjoy learning about these birds.

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