Turkey Creek, February 23, 2014

First, my apologies; I forgot to check my camera batteries before arriving at the park, and they were dead, so no photos from today.

I decided to drop in on Turkey Creek to see how things are going on now that winter is waning. It was a pretty good morning, all things considered.

The most noticible change over my last visit was the sound. Although the area nearest the start of the trails and boardwalk was pretty quiet, once you got closer to the creek, things picked up. There was a pleasing jumble of Blue Jays, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Northern Cardinals, Gray Catbirds and Northern Parulas. Northern Parulas are a year-round species in this part of Florida, but they make themselves fairly scarce through the winter. The males are now in their breeding plumage and are singing from the canopy. It was nice to see them (and hear them). Yet another sign spring has arrived in the Sunshine State. Don’t worry, my northern friends, it’s coming I promise!

Other notable wintering species were a Blue-headed Vireo and a couple of Black-and-white Warblers.

I didn’t venture to the canal or weir today, but I did see a small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks fly over.

At one point I heard a very distinctive sounding whining roar overhead, and looked up to see an Osprey, high in the sky! No, not THAT Osprey, THIS kind of Osprey:

image
CV-22 Osprey, via Wikipedia.

It was pretty high up, but the unique engine sound and one of the rotors (on the left wing), catching the sunlight making it almost shimmer, made it hard to miss.

Complete species list for this morning:

  • Northern Cardinal
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Tree Swallow
  • Black-and-white Warbler
  • Northern Parula
  • Carolina Wren
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Gray Catbird
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Black Vulture
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Black-bellied Whistling Duck
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Wood Stork
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • Boat-tailed Grackle
  • Fish Crow
  • Osprey
  • American Goldfinch
  • Eurasian Collared Dove
  • Mourning Dove
  • Rock Pigeon

Notably absent were the Palm Warblers I expected to see, which have been everywhere else in eastern Florida in droves. The large flocks of American Robins also seem to have dispersed, indicating the nearness of spring not just for Florida, but for points north.

It was nice to see the old place perking up a bit after such a silent fall and winter. 

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