Turkey Creek Sanctuary: Parulas and Vireos

I had my first Turkey Creek outing of the year today. I got to the sanctuary just as some of the morning fog was lifting. I decided to start on the upland sand pine trail before doing the boardwalk loop, and ended by doing the scrub trail and the jogging trail before heading home.

[Note: The photographs in this entry are royalty free images I found to illustrate the blog. I did not take them myself]

This is my first official outing with my new Carson 8X42s as well. Solid performance from my optics!

The first bird I got a visual ID on was a Brown Thrasher. I don’t normally see them around; the last one I saw was at my parents’ house several years ago. There was a Grey Catbird nearby, but the main backdrop to all this was the persistent call of the Northern Parula and the occasional “Per-chick-wee-chip” of the White-eyed Vireo.

While trying to stalk those birds, I ran up on the inevitable hordes of Northern Cardinals that roam the sanctuary. At one point while close to homing in on the Parulas, I was surrounded by an entire family of angry Cardinals. I must have been too close to some nests or something. So I quickly moved along.

I finally caught my first White-eyed Vireo – most likely an immature, given it’s black eyes, but he seemed happy enough, singing and flitting about.

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White-eyed Vireo

A good number of trees are stating to leaf out, which made finding the Northern Parula a bit more difficult. But I probably would not have seen them (or as soon) if I hadn’t bumped into another birder on the boardwalk. Frank is an older gentleman who seems quite familiar with the sanctuary and has been birding there a long time. He had a lot of tips about when and where to see various birds. I wrote those tips down, of course. 

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Blue-headed Vireo

When I first met him, I was getting a good look at some vireos, but was only able to see the shape and the bottom halves of them. He asked what I was tracking and so I told him. He was watching the same birds, but from his vantage point, he could see their heads, so he told me they were Blue-headed Vireos. We watched them together for a few more minutes, and I did get several good full views. 

We moved along and could hear some Northern Parulas singing in a live oak. Eventually, I caught a good look at several in the tree. Mostly males. 

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Northern Parula

We parted ways a bit after that, and I continued on to the scrub trail and jogging trail.

Here’s a list of birds for today, mostly in order of sighting:

Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Brown Thrasher
Grey Catbird
Carolina Wren
White-eyed Vireo
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher
Green Heron
Blue-headed Vireo
Northern Parula
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Heard but not seen:

Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Fish Crow
Northern Mockingbird
Undifferentiated warbler spp.

All in all, an nice and tidy morning of birding!

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