Tag Archives: Palm Warbler

Haney Creek East

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I often wander the Haney Creek North section but a few days ago I finally explored “East” shown on the map above highlighted in yellow. It’s located in Stuart, Florida north of the St. Lucie River.

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A trail leads away from the pull-off area along Dixie Highway.

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We can thank Stuart City Commissioner Jeffrey Krauskopf for helping save this land from development. There is a freshwater marsh on the right hand side here, and brackish swamp with mangroves on the other.

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An Osprey rested on top of a pine tree.

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Enjoy this good bird news: Ospreys Have Made a Remarkable Recovery

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Blue flag? It used to bloom by our New Hampshire pond in spring. I didn’t know it grew in this part of Florida.

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Boardwalk with plenty of cautionary signs.

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Got a good look at a young Little Blue Heron. Yes, they start off as Little White Herons.

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Little white.

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Maple? Also haven’t noticed that around here. Maybe swamp maple… which also grew by our old pond 1400 miles north of here.

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Palm Warbler in the trees.

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Unless you live in Canada, spring, fall, and winter are your best times to see Palm Warblers. They spend the winters in the Caribbean and in a narrow strip along the southeastern United States and occasionally along the West Coast. They’re a fairly common early migrant across much of the East, reaching New England by mid-to-late April. They start slowly heading south in late August.

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Weedy fields, forest edges, and scrubby areas are great places to look for them during migration and winter. Look through groups of birds foraging on the ground—they’re often with sparrows, juncos, and Yellow-rumped Warblers—so watch for their characteristic tail wagging to pull them out of the crowd. They also forage in low shrubs and isolated trees in open areas, where they sometimes sally out for insects like a flycatcher. Palm Warblers typically aren’t skittish, so if you find one, you should have enough time to get a good look.

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I like the way the light hit the bird’s eye in this shot.

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Also spotted a Downy Woodpecker, near the southern end of its range too.

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View walking back on the boardwalk over freshwater.

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Great Egret.

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Great Blue Heron, with “civilization” beyond.

Breakfast bird club

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Great Curassow pair on the grounds of the Volcano Lodge, Hotel & Thermal Experience near Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica.

Very large game bird of tropical forest, eliminated from most areas by hunting. Rarely found except in protected parks or very remote areas. Usually seen on the forest floor, singly or in small groups, but also feeds in trees. Males often sing from high in canopy: song is a very low-pitched, almost subliminal, booming sound. Not likely to be confused if seen well. Both sexes have distinctive curly crest. Female plumage is variable: some have bold barring, others have darker and mostly unbarred plumage.

 

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Finally got photos of the Orange-chinned Parakeet. I keep seeing them fly over in small flocks.

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Small, fast-flying parakeet of humid lowlands on the Pacific slope. Favors forest patches and fairly open country with hedges and tall trees, including towns and villages. Usually seen in pairs or small flocks; associates readily at fruiting and flowering trees with much larger and longer-tailed Orange-fronted Parakeet. Flight is distinctively bounding, not direct like larger parakeets. Plumage is green overall with bronzy shoulders; small orange chin patch is very hard to see.

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The feeding station was very active this morning. Crested Guan pauses for his portrait.

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Crimson-collared Tanager appears.

The Crimson-collared Tanager is beautiful and easily identified black and red bird with a strikingly pale bill that is endemic to Middle America, where it is found from southeast Mexico south to Panama.

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Fruit lovers.

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So many species in one spot.

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Parakeet banana face.

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Clay-colored Thrush, Blue-gray Tanagers, Palm Tanagers and a parakeet.

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Yellow-throated Euphonia on the scene.

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Tiny finch of tropical lowlands and foothills, mainly in humid areas. Found in forest canopy, adjacent clearings with trees, gardens.

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Palm Tanager and Greyish Saltator.

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Montezuma Oropendola is a large member of the blackbird and oriole family. We have seen a lot of them here in the Arenal region.

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I think that’s a female Scarlet-rumped Tanager.

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Crested Guan has a nice mohawk.

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Tiny crest – we have seen these little sparrows all around.

The Rufous-collard Sparrow is a ubiquitous resident of lowland and montane scrub from Mexico south to Tierra del Fuego.  Rufous-collared Sparrows have a gray head with two broad black crown stripes and a blackish line through the eye, prominent rufous collar, rufescent upperparts streaked black and white underparts with black patches on either side of the chest.  The sparrows are very tolerant to human presence, and are a common sight in settlements across South America.  Rufous-collard Sparrows are often encountered hopping on open ground as they forage for seeds and insects or singing from a  prominent perch on a shrub or rock.

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The Scarlet-rumped female among the breakfast crowd.

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I tinkered with camera settings and I’m happy with today’s photos. Still a lot to learn!

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Rainforest feast.

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Birds small and large.

I had help seeing the birds

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This is a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, first thing in the morning when it was still kind of dark for my camera.

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Looking into the mangroves at a Roseate Spoonbill.

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Spoonbill with its cousin the White Ibis.

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On Saturday morning I was invited to join three more experienced birders for a walk in a bird-friendly spot between wetlands and the Indian River Lagoon on Hutchinson Island. So helpful to have them notice birds by sight and sound and explain how they could identify them.

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Morning light in a spider web.

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Yellow-crowned Night Heron.

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This was identified as a Tennessee Warbler. Not a great photo, but a new bird for me so here it is!

A dainty warbler of the Canadian boreal forest, the Tennessee Warbler specializes in eating the spruce budworm. Consequently its population goes up and down with fluctuations in the populations of the budworm.

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Black-crowned Night Heron.

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Night herons have such big eyes.

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Palm Warblers are back in town.

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Fluffball.

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We see lots of these in Sewall’s Point in winter, hopping around on the ground, wagging their tails up and down.

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We were surprised and happy to spot a Painted Bunting. Well, I did not notice it – I had help from the other birders! How could I miss such a bright bird?

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This is a new bird for me, #192 on the sidebar blog list.

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It really let us get a good look (if not a very good photo).

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With their vivid fusion of blue, green, yellow, and red, male Painted Buntings seem to have flown straight out of a child’s coloring book. Females and immatures are a distinctive bright green with a pale eyering. These fairly common finches breed in the coastal Southeast and in the south-central U.S., where they often come to feeders. They are often caught and sold illegally as cage birds, particularly in Mexico and the Caribbean, a practice that puts pressure on their breeding populations.

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Cattle Egrets perched up high.

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White bird, blue sky.

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A bit further down the path, a green (female or immature) Painted Bunting was scuffing around in leaves and grass.

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In migration and winter, search for Painted Buntings by targeting sources of seeds such as weedy fields or bird feeders. In the summer, cruise through secondary growth or edge habitats with dense understory and listen for the species’ metallic chip call or the sweet, rambling song of a male. Painted Buntings spend a lot of time hidden in dense habitat so patience might be necessary; however, the wait will be worth it when you finally spot this gem, surely one of North America’s finest songbirds.

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Such a pretty green color.

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Very exciting for me to see these buntings for the first time!

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Great Crested Flycatcher poses nicely in the morning sun.

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Northern Parula.

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Peekaboo.

Planting shrubs can be for the birds

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A treetop Osprey, Pandion haliaetus.

Our town of Sewall’s Point is on a narrow peninsula between the St. Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon and there are lots of these fishhawks living here.

A few more pics from yesterday morning’s bird walk.

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Blue Jay on a wire with a wind-blown punk hairdo.

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Many, many Palm Warblers are here in winter and this is one of them.

Unless you live in Canada, spring, fall, and winter are your best times to see Palm Warblers. They spend the winters in the Caribbean and in a narrow strip along the southeastern United States and occasionally along the West Coast. They’re a fairly common early migrant across much of the East, reaching New England by mid-to-late April. They start slowly heading south in late August.

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  • Though the Palm Warbler’s name might imply it is a tropical bird, it’s actually one of the northernmost breeding of all warblers (only the Blackpoll Warbler breeds farther north). They got their name from J. P. Gmelin who named them based on a specimen collected on Hispaniola, a Caribbean island with a lot of palm trees.

 

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Lots of yellow on this warbler.

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Palm Warblers primarily eat insects including beetles, flies, and caterpillars. During the winter they also eat seeds and berries such as bayberry, sea grape, and hawthorn when available.

Create a bird friendly backyard for migrating or wintering Palm Warblers by planting native plants. Learn more about birdscaping at Habitat Network.

Yesterday we planted more native shrubs in our backyard, a couple of beautyberry and a couple of cardinal firebush. Last year we planted Simpson’s stoppers, wild coffee, silver buttonwood and Bahamas maidenbush along the back fence and three dwarf firebush in one corner of our little backyard.

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Last year’s firebush is about to bloom and feed the butterflies.

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American Beautyberry, just planted. The bird-feeding berries will look like this

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2018 is the Year of the Bird and the recommended action to help birds in March is to add native plants to your backyard. Here’s how to do it where you live: Native Plants Audubon.

Also: A Yard Full of Native Plants Is a Yard Full of Well-Fed Birds

As for feeding the Osprey, whatever keeps the rivers and oceans healthy and full of fish keeps the skies full of fishhawks too. Obviously!

Haney Creek list

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Green Heron!

Not an uncommon bird, but hard to spot. This is my first sighting since we moved to Florida.

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I went for a walk at Haney Creek yesterday late morning. I kept track of the birds I saw and heard and posted an eBird checklist for the first time in a while.

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The first to greet me: a couple of Gray Catbirds.

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Meow.

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Next, a non-bird.

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A slow-moving Gopher Tortoise was grazing at the edge of the path.

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On the fence at the dog run, an Eastern Phoebe.

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“Phoebe!” it said, helpfully.

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I expected to see more wading birds in the wetlands but only came up with this immature Little Blue Heron.

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That is a school just beyond the wetlands.

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The Little Blue is starting to get its adult colors.

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Why do they start off white and turn slaty blue-gray? I don’t know.

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On the hunt.

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Mirror, mirror.

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Last time I was at the dog park at Haney Creek (two days before), there were a pair of Sandhill Cranes and a pair of Great Egrets having a turf battle. I did not have my camera. I was hoping to see them this day but no luck.

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Next I walked a trail through sand pine scrub.

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There were little birds calling but I only got a good look at a few, including this Yellow-rumped Warbler.

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There have been a ton of butterbutts around this winter. I’m almost getting sick of them.

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More info on Florida sand pine scrub, an endangered subtropical forest ecoregion.

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Another gopher tortoise out for a stroll.

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Finally an animal that can’t outrun me, or fly away.

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Lots of Northern Cardinals around.

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I think it’s nesting season for them.

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Chestnut cap helps identify this (out of focus) Palm Warbler.

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Who doesn’t love a Green Heron??

Strike a pose

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Great Blue Heron is a big bird, from three-and-a-half to almost five feet tall, with a six-foot wingspan. They hold still for photos too.

The feathery “ruff” around this one’s neck indicates it’s an adult.

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I saw the GBH today at the little pond across the street from the Sewall’s Point town hall. The Indian River Lagoon is just beyond those mangroves.

Cool, rainy and windy weather… with a cold snap to follow.

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A beak that stabs like a dagger. En garde, fishes and amphibians!

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Also by the pond, a lone Palm Warbler.

Birds at the golf course

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Loggerhead Shrike.

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I took a walk past the Ocean Club Golf Course at the Hutchinson Island Marriott yesterday morning. Photos could be better, since most of the birds were on the wrong side of the light and far away.

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This is the most interesting bird. These shrikes don’t live in NH, where I started watching birds, and I’ve only seen a couple them in Florida.

Audubon Field Guide: Loggerhead Shrike

In open terrain, this predatory songbird watches from a wire or other high perch, then pounces on its prey: often a large insect, sometimes a small bird or a rodent. The Loggerhead is gradually disappearing from many areas, for reasons that are poorly understood.

Forages mostly by watching from an exposed perch, then swooping down to take prey on or near ground or from low vegetation. Kills its prey using its hooked bill. Often stores uneaten prey by impaling it on thorn or barbed wire, returning to eat it later.

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Wikipedia: Shrike…

Shrikes (/ʃraɪk/) are carnivorous passerine birds of the family Laniidae. The family is composed of thirty-one species in four genera. They are fairly closely related to the bush-shrike family Malaconotidae.

The family name, and that of the largest genus, Lanius, is derived from the Latin word for “butcher”, and some shrikes are also known as butcherbirds because of their feeding habits. The common English name shrikeis from Old English scrīc, alluding to the shrike’s shriek-like call.

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In a tree near the pond, an Osprey was dining on a freshly caught and still wriggling fish.

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So many Ospreys around here. I like to watch these big, beautiful fish hawks.

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Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottus, is the only mockingbird commonly found in North America.

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Wikipedia: Northern Mockingbird

The northern mockingbird is known for its intelligence. A 2009 study showed that the bird was able to recognize individual humans, particularly noting those who had previously been intruders or threats. Also birds recognize their breeding spots and return to areas in which they had greatest success in previous years. Urban birds are more likely to demonstrate this behavior. Finally, the mockingbird is influential in United States culture, being the state bird of five states, appearing in book titles, songs and lullabies, and making other appearances in popular culture.

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I spotted a pair of Mottled Ducks. This one with a yellow bill is the male. Female has an orange bill.

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Palm Warbler, I do believe. They never seem to be in palm trees.

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Snowy Egret.

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This Belted Kingfisher was swooping around noisily over the pond, but I captured it in a rare moment of perching.

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Back home we had some interesting “birds” overhead. A couple of F-18s were looping around over Sewall’s Point. The Stuart Airshow is this weekend!

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The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft (hence the F/A designation). Designed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter’s YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations and, since 1986, by the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.

I had help identifying these birds from my husband, who is an airline pilot and flew a variety of fighter jets in the Marine Corps.

 

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As the F-18s took a couple of turns overhead, an Osprey was perched atop our Norfolk Island pine.

Palm warblers are back

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These little birds showed up on our street about a week ago. Small but impossible to miss because they were IN the road every time I drove or walked that way, hopping here and there, bobbing their tails constantly.

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I got some ID help from the Facebook group What’s This Bird. They are Palm Warblers.

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I met them for the first time in late February last year: LINK.

But they looked a bit different because their plumage was changing towards breeding season. Also, they may be part of the western not eastern subspecies, according to a Facebook birder. They “summer” a-way up north in the boreal forest and winter here in Florida, where there are palm trees.

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From Cornell Lab of Ornithology…

Though the Palm Warbler’s name might imply it is a tropical bird, it’s actually one of the northernmost breeding of all warblers (only the Blackpoll Warbler breeds farther north). They got their name from J. P. Gmelin who named them based on a specimen collected on Hispaniola, a Caribbean island with a lot of palm trees.

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Canada’s boreal forests stretch for miles and miles. The great boreal forest, often called “North America’s bird nursery,” is the summer home to billions of migratory birds and an estimated 98% of all Palm Warblers.

Palm Warblers breed in bogs and areas with scattered evergreen trees and thick ground cover in the boreal forest. During migration they stop in weedy fields, forest edges, fence rows, and other areas with scattered trees and shrubs. They use similar areas on the wintering grounds including second-growth forest patches, marshes, prairies, parks, and coastal scrub.

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Important, interesting, worthy! Boreal Conservation: Boreal Songbird Initiative

As the voice for boreal birds, the Boreal Songbird Initiative (BSI) is committed to protecting the Canadian Boreal Forest—the largest intact forest on Earth—on behalf of the billions of migratory birds that rely on it.

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And while we are focusing on road creatures, I found this run-over snake a couple of streets away on Lucindia North. I took a photo in order to ID it later. It’s a VENOMOUS Eastern Coral Snake!

Winter bird

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Forget the palms. Palm Warblers like live oaks and other deciduous trees. Or being down near the ground hunting for bugs and berries.

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The Florida Gardener’s Guide (which I borrowed from our excellent local library) waxed poetic about these trees that are such an important part of the neighborhood.

A Southern Live Oak may live for 300 or more years. Its massive branches can stretch horizontally, if allowed, so that the canopy is wider than the tree is tall. Its furrowed bark and leathery leaves support millions of living creatures, smaller than we can see, and a good many large enough for us to discern: Lichens, Mosses, Liverworts, a couple of squirrel nests, gnats, aphids, hair-streak larvae, germinating seeds of Bromeliads, mats of Resurrection Fern and Thick Fern, an ant highway, and a well-worn path of raccoons that teeter from topmost branches and watch the goings on below. A whole world lives in this one organism, and on, around, and under it, while it, too, thickens, stretches, and lengthens through complex metabolic activities.

It pulls water from the ground at the rate of hundreds of gallons a day, and it takes in carbon dioxide from the air and releases oxygen. The mycorrhizae attached to its roots are probably connected to other trees around it, like the invisible strings of matter in the universe, linking and interacting with other trees.

Wow!

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Spotted this little Palm Warbler down low where I could see it, in a neighbor’s yard on Ridgeview Road.

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Zoomed in.

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From the Florida Eco Travel Guide

Palm warblers are common winter residents in Florida, arriving in late September and staying on until April. You will see these small, active birds along forest edges, in open woods, and disturbed areas, including farmlands and marshes. They feed mostly on insects, but occasionally eat berries. Palm warblers are easy to recognize because they continually bob their tails.

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Getting to know my neighbors!

Palm warblers

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Palm Warbler finally holds still for the briefest of moments.

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I have been seeing these active little birds with wagging tails and chestnut caps around the neighborhood. Their calls are “weak trills,” “thin tsips” or “sharp chips.”

Snowbirds like some of my neighbors, it appears…

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Despite its tropical sounding name, the Palm Warbler lives farther north than most other warblers. It breeds far to the north in Canada, and winters primarily in the southern United States and northern Caribbean.

And despite their name, I haven’t seen them in any palm trees!