Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Florida trip Jan 17-21

Willet, Merritt Island NWR, FL, Jan 19, 2014
Just back from a short trip down to central Florida and lucky for me I arrived just before the arrival of another snowstorm and more below zero temperatures! At least it was nice down south even if it was a bit chiller than normal down there on a couple days. We stayed in Orlando and made a few day trips to various spots. Nothing too exciting but did mange to find a total of 105 species without too much effort during my time there.
Red shouldered Hawk, Southport Rd, FL, Jan 18, 2014
Eastern Meadowlark, Disney Wilderness Preserve, FL, Jan 18, 2014
Orange crowned Warbler, Disney Wilderness Preserve, FL, Jan 18, 2014
On the first full day down there I headed south of Orlando to Southport Road and then down to the Nature Conservancy's Disney Wilderness Preserve. Southport road is a good spot for open country birds in among the large working cattle farms. The Disney Wilderness Preserve is a large area of pine savannah with a different groups of birds. No luck with the Red cockaded Woodpecker on this trip but spent lots of time looking.
Northern Pintails, Merritt Island NWR, FL, Jan 19, 2014
White Pelican, Merritt Island NWR, FL, Jan 19, 2014
Belted Kingfisher, Merritt Island NWR, FL, Jan 19, 2014
Dunlin with leg band, Merritt Island NWR, FL, Jan 19, 2014
Dawn, Merritt Island NWR, FL, Jan 19, 2014
On Sunday I headed to the coast for the morning going to Merritt Island NWR and the nearby Canaveral National Seashore. A few other spots I have stopped at on previous trips were closed on Sunday so I had to be satisfied without hitting those areas. Merritt Island NWR held lower than normal numbers of waterfowl once again. The area was not as dry as last year so I have no idea why the numbers were so low. I actually did not find a single American Coot (normally there are thousands)...weird. I also ran across a group of three Dunlin that were fairly freshly dead along one of the side access roads. I didn't see any obvious trauma. Perhaps they hit some nearby power lines or perhaps someone killed them...who knows? One of the birds had a federal leg band which I reported. I'll post more details when I get them back about the bird.
Split Oak Preserve, FL, Jan 20, 2014
On the last day we took a trip over to the Split Oak Preserve east of the airport and enjoyed a long walk during our warmest day down there. A few nice pockets of birds but once again nothing too unusual.
Wilson on the run, Jan 21, 2014
Once I got home I decided to take Wilson on a short walk despite the arctic like conditions. We got our walk in without freezing to death and before the snow arrived.  A short stop at the still open water of the Quabbin didn't feature any waterfowl at all...just a couple of Bald Eagles and a handful of other species. Perhaps with this next shot of cold weather the water will freeze over?

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