Top O’ The Morning…

I returned to Turkey Creek Sanctuary today hoping to catch some early migrants and to cover more of the paths than last week.

For the most part the “winter residents” are still holding the fort, with a plethora of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Pine Warblers, Black-and-white Warblers, Northern Parulas, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Northern Cardinals (who are getting even more vocal) and Gray Catbirds. I do beleive that the Palm Warblers have pretty much vacated the sanctuary.

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We meet again, my monochromatic friend.

The trees are really starting to leaf-out (even more than last week), casting a greenish light on the boadwalk, which might suit those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow!

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May the road (or in this case, boardwalk) rise with you.

I’ve noticed that the Yellow-rumped Warblers in the area have shifted their foraging strategies a bit. They seem to be skulking more in the underbrush than they had been earlier in the winter. I am fairly sure this is related to what food items are availble for them as springtime approaches.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler.

An exception to the status quo (that is, more signs of Spring) was the unmistakable call of Yellow Warblers in the canopy. Among my first “regular” birds during the summers in New England, Yellow Warblers were always a great sighting on any birding day for me. They were cheerfully loud, beautifully conspicuous, and easy to identify. I tried my best to get an actual visual on one, but they remained stubbornly up in the foliage. (NOTE: The following photo is not mine, but from Wikipedia).

Yellow warbler, via Wikipedia user “Mdf”

I also noticed that the boardwalk at the end of the Floodplain Trail is almost finished. I did not see or hear the Boy Scouts working on it today, but I think they just have some finishing work and clean-up left.

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Looking back from the end of the new Flood Plain Trail Boardwalk.

The big surprise of the morning happened when I was looking up into some foliage through a hole in the understory along the Hammock Loop. Just as I Iooked directly above me, a Peregrine Falcon flew right through the clear patch of sky. One second or one foot difference and I might have missed it!

I was also excited to see a flock of Cedar Waxwings near the weir. I somehow missed seeing this species during the Blue Heron Wetlands field trip during the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, so being buzzed by a 20-strong flock today was a real treat. 

Species list for today (♫ = voice only; FOY=first of the year):

  • Northern Cardinal
  • Gray Catbird
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Northern Parula
  • Black-and-white Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Pine Warbler
  • Yellow warbler (FOY) ♫
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • Fish Crow
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Peregrine Falcon! (FOY)
  • Tri-colored Heron
  • American Coot
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Carolina Wren ♫
  • American Goldfinch ♫
  • Mottled Duck
  • Downy Woodpecker ♫
  • Cedar Waxwing (FOY)

That brings us near to the first of “Official” Spring later this week and the hope of some great birding during migration coming up.

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