A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: skwclar

Ross’s Goose!

Chicago, IL

overcast 19 °F

A lifer in the bag - today’s after school birding adventure was successfully finding my life bird Ross’s Goose on Museum Campus. It’s a beautiful bird!
Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 940 Species (1 life bird today: Ross’s Goose)

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Posted by skwclar 14:52 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Back in Illinois: Varied Thrush!

Palos Park, IL

overcast 27 °F

Today, I went birding after school in hopes of finding a vagrant Varied Thrush from the Pacific Northwest which has recently been appearing under a residential bird feeder in Palos Park, IL.

The birds were extremely quiet - not a peep could be heard, only the wind rushing through the leafless tree branches. Amazingly, I caught a glimpse of ONE BIRD in the trees hundreds of yards down the road and zoomed in on it. Low and behold, it was my VARIED THRUSH! And within ten seconds, it disappeared from sight, thankfully not too early for me to snag this diagnostic photo of its dark breast band, though:
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Then, I figured out why the birds might have been so scarce - this gigantic COOPER’S HAWK was diligently patrolling the area:
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Bird-of-the-day to the Varied Thrush, which I have only heard once before in Washington State but never before seen. Runner-up to the COOPER’S HAWK.

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 929 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 17:16 Archived in USA Tagged varied_thrush Comments (0)

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge!

Edgewater, FL

sunny 55 °F

Today my mom and I had a wonderful morning of birding in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. A huge thanks to her for driving!

BARRED OWL I spotted from the car on the way there:
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The main birding location for the morning was a slow drive up Black Point Wildlife Drive in search for the many aquatic avian species found there. It did not disappoint!

PIED-BILLED GREBE:
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NORTHERN SHOVELERS:
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AMERICAN AVOCETS and a NORTHERN PINTAIL:
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Male HOODED MERGANSER:
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ANHINGA:
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TRICOLORED HERON:
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ROSEATE SPOONBILLS:
large_87EE978A-7..092791C51D6.jpeglarge_C5848701-5..C4E703AC3B0.jpeglarge_F7FAF174-A..7A651CF7FD2.jpeglarge_ADB8329A-C..18BE2573856.jpeg

BLUE-WINGED TEAL:
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MARBLED GODWIT flyover, an uncommon species!
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CATTLE EGRET:
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LEAST SANDPIPER:
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PIPING PLOVER, an endangered species!
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NORTHERN PINTAIL:
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WOOD STORK:
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REDDISH EGRET:
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BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE:
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LESSER SCAUP:
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SALTMARSH SPARROW, a rather unexpected and amazingly rare and shy life bird!
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Next, we went to the Visitor Center to hopefully find the Painted Buntings which spend the winter there.

Sure enough, a female PAINTED BUNTING appeared:
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Followed by the INCREDIBLE male!!!!!
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Next, it was off to the Scrub Ridge trail to look for Florida Scrub-Jays. We first found this immature RED-SHOULDERED HAWK!
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Then, we nailed the scrub jay which was a life bird!
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Finally, we drove down Biolab Road in search of more waterbirds. It did not disappoint with this raft of thousands of AMERICAN COOTS:
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COMMON GROUND-DOVE:
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ZENAIDA DOVE:
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We had a pretty good view of the Kennedy Space Center:
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And seeing this Alligator was very cool!
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Overall it was a wonderful morning of birding and nature watching! Bird-of-the-day award will be shared by the Saltmarsh Sparrow and Painted Bunting, with runners-up to the Reddish Egret and Florida Scrub-Jay. The full list is below. So much fun, thanks Mom!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 939 Species (2 life birds today: Saltmarsh Sparrow, Florida Scrub-Jay)

1. Blue-winged Teal
2. Northern Shoveler
3. Gadwall
4. Northern Pintail
5. Lesser Scaup
6. Hooded Merganser
7. Pied-billed Grebe
8. American White Pelican
9. Brown Pelican
10. Double-created Cormorant
11. Anhinga
12. Great Blue Heron
13. Great Egret
14. Snowy Egret
15. Little Blue Heron
16. Tricolored Heron
17. Reddish Egret
18. Cattle Egret
19. Green Heron
20. White Ibis
21. Glossy Ibis
22. Roseate Spoonbill
23. Wood Stork
24. Black Vulture
25. Turkey Vulture
26. Osprey
27. Bald Eagle
28. Red-shouldered Hawk
29. American Kestrel
30. Common Gallinule
31. American Coot
32. Semipalmated Plover
33. Piping Plover
34. Killdeer
35. American Avocet
36. Marbled Godwit
37. Ruddy Turnstone
38. Sanderling
39. Least Sandpiper
40. Wilson’s Snipe
41. Greater Yellowlegs
42. Laughing Gull
43. Ring-billed Gull
44. Royal Tern
45. Sandwich Tern
46. Common Ground-Dove
47. Zenaida Dove
48. Barred Owl
49. Belted Kingfisher
50. Eastern Phoebe
51. Florida Scrub-Jay
52. American Crow
53. Fish Crow
54. Tree Swallow
55. Gray Catbird
56. Northern Mockingbird
57. Common Yellowthroat
58. Palm Warbler
59. Northern Cardinal
60. Painted Bunting
61. Red-winged Blackbird
62. Common Grackle
63. Boat-tailed Grackle
64. Saltmarsh Sparrow

Posted by skwclar 10:04 Archived in USA Comments (6)

Canaveral National Seashore

New Smyrna, FL

sunny 50 °F

Yesterday afternoon, my family and I visited Canaveral National Seashore near our rental place in New Smyrna, FL. The main activity of the day was walking up and back down Apollo Beach in search of Wilson’s Plover.

BROWN PELICAN:
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LAUGHING GULL:
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SANDWICH TERN:
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SANDERLING:
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WILLETS:
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We ended up finding a single WILSON’S PLOVER which allowed for great views!
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More birds from the preserve - here is a BLACK VULTURE:
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BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER:
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YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER:
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Horizontally-growing Palm Tree:
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Oranges from a wild-growing orange tree:
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View of the preserve from atop a lookout called Turtle Mound:
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Immature RED-SHOULDERED HAWK:
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Then, we went go-carting as a family which was a blast!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 937 Species (no life birds today)

Posted by skwclar 09:59 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Great Central Florida Birding!

Florida

sunny 49 °F

Today, my family and I planned on visiting Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge for the day, which is considered the greatest birding spot in this part of the state.

We were treated to Chicago-like temperatures, which ranged from 30-49F today!

On the way, this Otter crossed the road far away:
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Our first stop was Shiloh Road, in search of Saltmarsh Sparrow, Clapper Rail, and Reddish Egret.

Immature WHITE IBIS:
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BELTED KINGFISHER:
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TRICOLORED HERON:
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REDDISH EGRET, one of my target birds for the day and a life bird!
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I also had my life bird CLAPPER RAIL cross the trail in front of me, but it disappeared too quickly for photos.

AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN:
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LESSER SCAUP:
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LESSER YELLOWLEGS:
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WILLETS, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, AMERICAN AVOCET, RING-BILLED GULL, and SNOWY EGRET:
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BONAPARTE’S GULL:
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Female COMMON YELLOWTHROAT:
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We were then notified by another birder that unfortunately pretty much the rest of Merritt Island was flooded from recent storms! We therefore shifted gears to inland birding and concentrated our focus on Deer Path Road primarily in search of Burrowing Owls.

EASTERN PHOEBE:
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SANDHILL CRANE:
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LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE:
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CRESTED CARACARA, I’ve only ever seen this bird before once before in Costa Rica and it was not nearly as excellent of a look!
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Calf:
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AMERICAN KESTREL:
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RED-SHOULDERED HAWK:
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Unfortunately, we dipped on the Burrowing Owls.

The next stop was Hal Scott Regional Preserve & Park where I hoped to find Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, and Bachman’s Sparrow. Unfortunately, due to the time of day and windy conditions, I missed all three species.

There were a few consolation birds to be found though, including PALM WARBLER:
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EASTERN BLUEBIRDS:
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YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER:
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BLUE-HEADED VIREO:
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BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER:
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BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER:
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PINE WARBLER:
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Our final stop for the day was Orlando Wetlands, which turned out to be quite fruitful.

BLACK VULTURE:
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ROSEATE SPOONBILLS:
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ANHINGA:
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Here it is swimming:
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SNOWY EGRET:
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Immature GLOSSY IBIS:
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TRICOLORED HERON:
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LITTLE BLUE HERON:
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COMMON GALLINULE:
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Here is the view of the wetlands:
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BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE:
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WOOD STORK:
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And a nice BALD EAGLE to end the day!
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Bird-of-the-day goes to the Reddish Egret, my only photographed life bird today, with runners-up to the Crested Caracara and Roseate Spoonbill.

More to come, stay tuned!
Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 937 Species (2 life birds today: Clapper Rail and Reddish Egret)

Posted by skwclar 13:38 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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