April Fools Day turned out to be one of my best birding days this year. In keeping up with my Bigby I decided to undertake a pretty long bike ride and adventure and headed North to Riverbend Park in Jupiter. I didn’t think I could manage a 100 mile plus ride all in one day so I packed my camping gear on top of all my camera gear to the back of the bike. I have a nice bike rack as well as Panniers and another top bag so I was pretty well set up, if a little bit heavy.
I left the house at 3:15 Am with the hope of making it to Riverbend right around sunrise. I had Google mapped my route and it measured just over 40 miles from my front door to the front of the park. The ride was pretty straight forward and after 3 1/2 hours of cycling I was at my destination.
My good friend and birding buddy Cheryl met me there a little after 7 and off we went on what would turn out to be a wonderful day of birding. We probably covered about 10 miles riding around the park looking for a number of species that I can’t find in the Southern parts of the county. We ended up seeing 61 species throughout our 10 hours of birding which included a new county bird for me and also seeing the relatively rare Tufted Titmouse that has been hanging out there for the last six months or so.
We started and ended our day looking for Barred Owls. I had met a birder in the parking lot who had told me that there were a pair of babies in the same area that they were two years ago but unfortunately we never did see or hear them.
In the same vicinity that the Owls were reported in we did run into a nice family of Limpkins. There were 3 babies along with the two parents. The parents were very busy finding Apple Snails to feed to their newborns and were totally disregarding us as they foraged for their breakfast.
We worked our way around the park finding a few nice birds here and there including many Cedar Waxwings and this Red-eyed Vireo, a new bird for the year.
Around noon time we had made our over to the newer side of the park where there are many large Oak trees. I was laying on a picnic table when Cheryl discovered a nice little feeding flock of Passerines. There was a pair of Great-crested Flycatchers, 4-5 Black-throated Green Warblers along with a few Northern Parula’s and Black and White’s. While watching and photographing these guys the Tufted Titmouse showed up.
Up to this point I would have been satisfied with the Titmouse and the other new birds I had added for the Bigby. Little did I know that the bird of the day would come after we had lunch. Cheryl was wonderful and drove over to Pollo Tropical and brought back a wonderful late lunch/early dinner which I enjoyed immensely.
It was now a little after 3 pm so we decided to go look for the Owls again. There are many ways of getting to the area where they have nested before and thankfully Cheryl chose the way to go. We were only a couple hundred yards up the path when she spotted a Hermit Thrush. This was a new bird for me for the county and one I really didn’t expect to see at Riverbend. The Hermit Thrush was now by far the “Bird of the Day!”
We rode around the park for another couple of hours and eventually Cheryl had to leave. I then rode around scouting out a spot to stay for the night. I spent the night camping in the park and will detail my night’s adventure along with the next days ride home in my next post. Thank you all so much for stopping by!!