November 2011

Monthly Archive

Viera Wetlands Field Trip Report

Posted by on 24 Nov 2011 | Tagged as: birding

Loggerhead ShrikeEleven of us, including two new folks we met at the November meeting, gathered for a relaxing day at Viera Wetlands.  The day was mostly cloudy and the high temp was about 80 degrees.  The wind was up, probably about 10-15 mph.  Great weather for birding.

We hadn’t heard anything about the Masked Duck that had been frequenting the place for the last couple of winters,so we didn’t expect it.  But we had hoped to see the Crested Caracara.  No joy!  Somewhat disappointing.  But we did have two really good sightings, a group of Horned Grebes and a Peregrine Falcon.

In all, we saw 62 species.  To see the full list as well as some photos, click the picture of the Loggerhead Shrike.

Late Fall In Alberta

Posted by on 24 Nov 2011 | Tagged as: birding

I returned to Alberta the day after our October meeting. It’s been an interesting six weeks. Our cabin is west of the main flyways but we have local ducks and geese and get the odd small flock of migrating northerners.
On my first weekend I checked the sloughs around Cochrane for swans. These are magnificent, elegant birds and well worth looking for. Local ducks and coots were still on many of the puddles, standing on ice or busily swimming around to keep the water open. I checked eight sloughs and saw a lot of Mallards, some of them migrants, small numbers of Shovelers, Pintails, American Wigeon, Gadwall and Hooded Mergansers, a pair of Ruddy Ducks and several American Coots. Finally I found one pond with eight beautiful Trumpeter Swans, dunking in open water, just a few yards from the road. I spent a quarter hour just ogling! I did see several more Trumpeters during my stay but I didn’t identify any Tundra Swans. Continue Reading »

Osprey migration can turn deadly.

Posted by on 13 Nov 2011 | Tagged as: birding

Since the banning of DDT a long time ago, Ospreys have become ubiquitous in the watery areas of Florida.  I have seen as many as 18 of them in one field of view while kayaking on the Indian River.  Many people assume that since we see them here year-round, they do not migrate.  But consider how they would feed up North when the rivers and lakes freeze over.

There is an interesting story in today’s Orlando Sentinel about three Ospreys that were tagged up North and met with disaster during their migration.  Richard O. “Rob” Bierregaard Jr., a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has tagged nearly 50 ospreys with satellite transmitters in the past decade, including one that was recently tracked until it plunged from the sky over a ranch in Seminole County. The bird’s body was decomposing by the time it was recovered from a pasture, and the cause of death may never be known, though Dr Bierregaard thinks it was most probably shot down.

Bierregaard and other scientists think that Florida may be the planet’s busiest osprey crossroads. Some of the birds breed in Maine and winter in Florida. Others breed in the Midwest, New England and Southeast and follow the length of Florida toward wintering places in South America‘s Amazon forests.

Other Ospreys are routinely shot if they stray near the ponds of fish farms in Cuba and Venezuela, or chicken flocks in theDominican Republic.

To read the full article and get some interesting information on Ospreys, click here.