Story time at Bird Island, it looks like.
Wood Storks together.
We watched from a boat.
Roseate Spoonbill comes on the scene.
Very common in parts of the southeast until the 1860s, spoonbills were virtually eliminated from the United States as a side-effect of the destruction of wader colonies by plume hunters. Began to re-colonize Texas and Florida early in 20th century. Still uncommon and local, vulnerable to degradation of feeding and nesting habitats.
They have a darker pink sort of epaulet on their shoulders.
View from the top of the mangroves, with Brown Pelicans too.
Juvenile Magnificent Frigatebirds and one male off to the left.
Spoonbill on Bird Island beach.
Brown Pelican with fuzzy chicks.
Frigatebirds and a couple of cormorants. The northwest corner of the island is their territory.
Mixed flocks of migrating warblers graced us with their presence these past few days.
It was easy to learn this one a few years ago: American Redstart, so boldly black and orange.
This Black-throated Blue Warbler isn’t too hard to see because it visits lower shrubbery down near eye level.
Northern Parula was curious and stayed right in a neighbor’s tree while I shot a few pics.
I heard this bird before I saw it. Its song is a “rising buzzy trill with a final sharp note”.
All the warblers in this post are males, easier to spot because of colors and sounds.
The key to finding a Northern Parula during the breeding season is to look for forests draped with long, wispy plants like Spanish moss and “old man’s beard.” Northern Parulas tend to stick to the canopy, which means you may end up with a bit of “warbler neck.” Luckily during migration they also forage lower in the forest giving your neck a break. Parulas sing a lot during migration—so listen up for their distinctive buzzy trill.
Cape May Warbler. I’ve seen them before but needed an ID doublecheck from What’s This Bird. I guess I haven’t gotten this bird into long-term memory yet. That’s one negative to my method of taking a bunch of photos then IDing the birds using online sources.
Must learn my warblers.
Looking up at a warbler… butt.
The Cape May Warbler breeds across the boreal forest of Canada and the northern United States, where the fortunes of its populations are largely tied to the availability of spruce budworms, its preferred food. Striking in appearance but poorly understood, the species spends its winters in the West Indies, collecting nectar with its unique curled, semitubular tongue.
These four species of warblers I managed to photograph for this post all winter in the Caribbean. I wonder if they traveled together the whole way?
Audubon.org: Flyways of the Americas. The Black-throated Blue Warbler is featured for the Atlantic Flyway.
A Red-tailed Hawk was perched atop our Norfolk Island pine a couple of days ago.
It was being harried by the neighborhood Fish Crows and finally lifted off.
Crows seem pretty territorial at this time of year.
I was out in the driveway with my camera, watching.
I walked from Santa Lucea Beach almost to the House of Refuge.
Busy beach Saturday, not a lot of parking left along the southern end of Hutchinson Island. Lots of people.
I focused on the peeps.
Sanderling at rest.
Ring-billed Gull (second winter?)
Brown Pelicans were fishing.
A little bird and shelly grains of sand.
Ruddy Turnstone bathing in a tide pool.
Ruddy Turnstone rocks.
Heading south towards House of Refuge.
Here is the Blue-headed Vireo I watched for a few minutes this morning in an old live oak tree near the Henry Sewall House in Indian RiverSide Park.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love the writing at Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds? …
The Blue-headed Vireo offers a pleasing palette of moss green, bluish gray, and greenish yellow, set off by bold white “spectacles” (the eyering plus a “loral” spot next to the bill), throat, and belly. The wings and tail are a sharp black and white. Like most larger vireos, Blue-headed forages for insects and their larvae in trees, moving deliberately along branches, where it can be challenging to spot. Males sing a slow, cheerful carol, often the first indication of the species’ presence in a forest.
That “slow cheerful carol” was what got me to look up into the tree I was passing under.
Nearby, a gray squirrel.
It’s spring in Florida.