Rebecca arrange at trip to Fort DeSoto PArk with Bob Sanders leading along with Beck and I from Archaeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours. We had 92 species including beautiful views of Wood Thrush, Kentucky Warbler, and Scarlet Tanager. Whimbrel was a re-lifer for Beck and group loved trip and many got lifers and stunning views of migrants.
We lead 3 trips for the Bird of a Feather Fest and met lots of new birders and had a great time. Beck got Ruff as a state bird on Saturday’s trip. Friday’s trip nabbed Ash-throated and Vermilion Flycatchers. Got to spend more time with Greg Miller as well.
Rebecca Smith and Gallus Quigley of Archeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours rose early to drive to Shiloh Marsh in Volusia County, part of Merritt Island NWR to assist Greg Miller of Wildside Tours in leading 15 participants out to see saltmarsh sparrows. It was a foggy and slightly chilly morning as we hiked into the marsh. We had a few “muck sucking” incidents along the way and only managed one Saltmarsh Sparrow but we did see 52 other species, including this Bonaparte’s Gull photographed below, there as well and Greg Miller passed on his great wisdom of birding to all present. Rebecca Smith got a LIFER and number 300 on here Florida list! Congratulations Beck!
We met up with Eli Shaperow at Port Orange Causeway Park (Seabird Island) so he could take us to his Clapper Rail spot but while there we added American Oystercatcher, Red Knot (a lifer for one participant) and White Morph Reddish Egret.
We continued on to Ponce Preserve and everyone got Clapper Rail which was a re-lifer for Rebecca Smith who use to work with them back before she started keeping a bird list. IT was also bird number 301 on her Florida List.
Rebecca Smith taking photo of Clapper Rail
Group taking photos or waiting for everyone else to finish taking photos of Clapper Rail
We then headed to lunch at Norwood’s Eatery and Treehouse Cafe which was delicious.
After lunch we made an attempt to find the Common Eider that had been reported but had no luck so we continued on to Fred Reden Park and the great gull watch. Over 20,000 gulls on the beach and Greg Miller talked in detail about gull ID as we scanned for the “rare one” in the mass of gulls. In end we ran into Michael Brothers who as always finds the good stuff an Iceland Gull and as we were leaving for the day we had Parasitic Jaeger harassing the gulls on the water.
Iceland Gull 2nd Cycle
Rebecca Smith, Gallus Quigley, and Greg Miller finished off our day at Guru Indian Restaurant in Clermont with three (3) delicious vegan dishes and lots of beer to wash it down. We follow that up with some dark and stormy while relaxing on sofa after a long and productive day.
Rebecca Smith and Gallus Quigley of Archeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours and Greg Miller of Wildside Tours lead a great group of participants across the North Shore of Lake Apopka. We had some great birds including Barn Owl, Redhead, Purple Gallinule, Ash-throated and Vermilion Flycatchers, Fulvous Whistling-duck, and Horned Grebe (missed by us but seen by others). Greg Miller was not only informative but entertaining as always making for a great day for all.
On January 20 1018 Rebecca Smith and Gallus Quigley of Archeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours lead a trip for the Apopka Birding Festival to Clearwater Lakes Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest to target woodpeckers, especially the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Starting at 5:30am in the morning the group hiked back to an active cluster and got great views of two Red-cockaded Woodpecker. We had five (5) species of woodpecker total, a daytime Great Horned Owl, Carolina Chickadee and Brown-headed Nuthatch. Rebecca Smith who worked for FWC doing both banding and monitoring of these species gave a great talk about these special bird.
Only January 19 Ralph Risch of State Forest Service and Rebecca Smith of Archeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours lead a group to explore the beautiful habitat that makes up the Seminole State Forest-Bear Pond Trailhead area. We had Florida Scrub-jays and Red-headed Woodpecker as highlights.