It was another pin-drop-quiet day at Turkey Creek Sanctuary today. I had entertained the thought of going elsewhere, but trying to decide on an alternate destination for my birding just confused me, so before I came to any decision, I was already at the Sanctuary. The first part of my morning was almost painfully quiet. Things picked up near the end as I came back to the exit. Along the creekside along McKinnon’s Way, before the Canoe Deck, I did see a small alligator, which was neat. And I got a good shot of a strange moth or skipper of some kind.

photo gator.jpg
See you later, alligator!

photo weird-skipper.jpg
Weirdy skipper

Birds seen on in the Sanctuary this excursion:

  • Grey Catbird
  • Blue-grey Gnatcatcher
  • Yellow-throated Warbler
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler
  • Pine Warbler
  • Blue Jay
  • Black Vulture

I have to admit, it was cool to see the Black-throated Blues in the park, as I had seen some during spring migration as well. Many of the ones today were in immature or fall plumage, some females, and at least one male showing a lot of blue.

I may not make it out next weekend, due to prior non-birding commitments, but next time I think I’ll try to go outside the envelope a little and see what can be salvaged from this abysmal migration season in eastern Florida.

Pictures from Sunday (August 25, 2013).

  • Sand Pine Trail, Turkey Creek Sanctuary in the early morning.
  • Ultralight over Turkey Creek! NEATO!
  • Beauty Berry (notice how it’s more purple than pink now).
  • Large black beetle of some kind (over 1” long!).
  • I think these are sweet potato flowers.
  • While Peacock butterfly.
  • Zebra Longwing (Florida’s State Butterfly!).
  • Juvenile/Fledgling Northern Mockingbird resting on my shed.

Click images to enlarge and browse.

Youth Day!

Sunday was another quiet morning at both Turkey Creek Sanctuary and Erna Nixon Park. What activity there was revolved around juvenile Northern Cardinals (making the usual racket) and some Northern Parulas and Blue-grey Gnatcatchers high in the canopy (at least at Turkey Creek; almost nothing was to be had at Erna Nixon). Still, it was a pleasant enough morning and not too hot since it was mostly overcast. Toward the end of my Turkey Creek hike it started to rain rather steadily, but the rain hadn’t affected Erna Nixon Park when I drove there later in the morning.

After returning home, at some point during the early afternoon, my wife excitedly drew my attention to the antics of a bird on the wire between our house and the utility pole. It was a fledgling Northern Mockingbird leaping off the wires and making short almost flycatcher like sorties before landing back on the wire. We watched it for a few minutes and then noticed another fledgling along the power lines running along the right-of-way behind our house. And then ANOTHER. Then I noticed a fly-catcher along the same wire. It was a bit tougher to identify, but I finally figured out it was a juvenile Great-crested Flycatcher. It seemed a bit more adept at flying, so likely was past fledgling stage.

Looks like the day belonged to the youngsters.

[Edited to add: I’ll have a few photos from the parks later this week (more flowers, bugs and trees), and I’ll see how my only shot of one of the youngsters turned out.]

Front yard chorus and fly-bys

This morning while waiting for my ride to work (yay, carpool!), I took a few minutes to concentrate on the bird songs and calls in the neighborhood.

Apart from the usual cacophony of grackles, I could hear 2 species of dove singing simultaneously (Eurasian Collared and Mourning), at least one American Robin (alarm calls), a Red-bellied Woodpecker (call), what was most likely a Northern Mockingbird (might have been masking a Carolina Wren, but I am not certain of that).

In flight, I saw some terns flying overhead. I usually see them heading inland, toward the west in the morning. I don’t know why that is. I wonder if they are heading toward Lake Washington? A pair of cormorants were heading east, and a pair of White Ibises flew over the house to the south.

Not bad for a few minutes just looking and listening.