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Ken and Beth’s Arctic Adventure: High Arctic Birds

Posted by on 07 Dec 2017 | Tagged as: birding, Wandering Members

During the course of our trip we saw a number of birds but not a great variety.  We saw Common Ravens around every settlement.  The range maps show this bird over all but the northernmost tip of Ellesmere Island year around, but we only saw them around human habitation.  Every shore stop yielded several Snow Buntings.  Again maps show the High Arctic as their summer range but these birds seemed pretty con tent there at the end of August.  Admittedly, their interpretation of summer and mine may differ; they winter in Northern Alberta.  I saw an American Pipit on the north end of Baffin Island and others saw Lapland Longspur and Common Redpoll at our last Gyrfalconstop near the south end of that island.  No one on the trip saw a Snowy Owl, which was a disappointment.  On the other hand, the highlight of the trip for birders was three visits by Gyrfalcons.  They would seemingly appear out of nowhere, always in the morning, glide over the ship for a few minutes, then bank and glide off.  They are beautiful birds almost as large as Osprey but with a much shorter wingspan.  What a treat!

Caption: Gyrfalcon, note full crop.  Photo by Terry McIntyre Continue Reading »

November 17, Lake Woodruff NWR Field Trip Report

Posted by on 24 Nov 2017 | Tagged as: birding

The group Ten of us spent a glorious morning at Lake Woodruff NWR.  They had just opened the road to the closest parking lot and mowed the berm so we could walk on them.  The water levels were still very high so the species count was lower than we would have oped for, but we did see 34 species.  Then, many of us adjourned to the Ponce de Leon State Park for a pancake breakfast.

Species list and more photos follow. Continue Reading »

Nov 11 Indian River Lagoon Park Field Trip Report

Posted by on 15 Nov 2017 | Tagged as: birding

Snowy EgretSeven of us had a very nice morning of birding at the Indian river Lagoon Park in New Smyrna Beach.  It was mostly cloudy and a bit rainy, but managed to coax 23 species to reveal themselves, in less than two hours.

The species list follows:

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Oct 14 Buschman Park Field Trip Report

Posted by on 17 Oct 2017 | Tagged as: birding

Great Blue HeronEight folks enjoyed a rather spectacular morning of birding in Buschman Park, Port Orange.  As we gathered in the parking lot, we were met by a woman and her dogs who had just come from the park’s interior.  She told us she saw a pair of Barred Owls and that got us psyched. We crossed the bridge and went to the left to keep the sun out of our eyes.  Our first sighting was a Little Blue Heron and then a very scruffy, worn Great Blue Heron.    

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Ken and Beth’s Arctic Adventure: High Arctic – 4

Posted by on 12 Oct 2017 | Tagged as: birding, Wandering Members

We travelled east then north from Dundas Harbor heading for Grise Fjord.  This was another of the forced relocation settlements of the 1950s.  It currently has a population of 125 and is the coldest permanently inhabited location in the world.  Unfortunately, heavy ice and strong winds caused our visit to be scrubbed.  Not sure I wanted to get any colder anyway.  Scenery along the north end of Devon Island and south end of Ellesmere Island was spectacular so the venture wasn’t a dead loss.

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Washington Oaks Gardens State Park field trip report, dec 8, 2016

Posted by on 19 Dec 2016 | Tagged as: birding

2016dec_wash_oaks_groupSix people showed up for a blustery walk through Washington Oaks Gardens State Park.  It was cold and windy by the river, but not so bad in the gardens and road area.   The birds were pretty much tucked in against the cold wind, and only showed themselves for the briefest of moments.  Most of the time we could not get an eyeball on them, let alone binoculars.

On the way out, we wanted to see the beachside of the park but it was still closed from the hurricane Matthew damage.  The entire place apparently was unstable and unsafe.  So we stopped further south on AIA to look for shorebirds.  Not much there, but interesting photos of the hurricane damage near the road.


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Birding in Invergordon, Scotland, Jul 23, 2016

Posted by on 04 Aug 2016 | Tagged as: birding, Wandering Members

Invergordon-13Maureen and I just returned from a 12 day cruise to Northern Europe with friends and family.  Bob and I are avid birders and Maureen is fast catching up. Bob is the father of Jeff, the husband on our younger daughter, Danielle. Jeff is the one who instigated the venture. Prior to the trip, on the recommendation of Ken Gunn, I organized a day of birding on shore with Dave Slater, owner of Birding-Ecosse.  The ship docked at Invergordon and it turns out to be near where Dave lives.

Invergorden is near Inverness, and near to the well-known Loch Ness with everyone’s favorite, elusive “monster”. Continue Reading »


Posted by on 10 May 2016 | Tagged as: birding

Eight of us enjoyed a beautiful day on a buggy ride through Orlando Wetlands Park led by Sondra and Mike.  Our guides were really attuned to what we wanted to see and really accommodated us. 

Unfortunately it was late in the season and all the “good birds” had left but it was worth the trip anyway.  Many of the usual suspects from Anhingas to Purple Gallinules.  There was a large nesting rookery of Wood Storks and Cattle Egrets on the property which we could see from an overlook. 2016apr_owp-10We spent about ten minutes watching an Anhinga work to disengage a catfish from its bill.  Unlike Cormorants that snatch fish in their jaws, Anhingas spear the fish.  They have barbs on the outer edges of their bills so the fish remain attached until they resurface.  Unfortunately, that means the Anhinga must spend some time and effort trying to disengage the fish from its bill before they can eat it.  It was really fun to watch the process.  Did I mention it was a buggy ride the entire three hours? Continue Reading »

Mar 2016 Peacock’s Pocket Field Trip Report

Posted by on 28 Mar 2016 | Tagged as: birding

Black-necked StiltSeven folks, including three snowbirds, spent a beautiful day at the MINWR focusing on the Peacock’s Pocket road.

We first stopped at the bridge on SR406 and saw many scaups and an Osprey on the nest. Crossing the bridge there was a Horned Grebe and lots of Ring-billed Gulls. A few Black Skimmers let us watch them feeding.

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Audubon Park Field Trip Report, 29 Feb 2016

Posted by on 02 Mar 2016 | Tagged as: birding

Great EgretMany thanks to Eli Schaperow for taking the time to lead our group on this trip. Eli has been involved with the park since its inception and is very knowledgeable of its function as a storm water retention area and its other natural habitats and plant and wildlife species. This is a beautiful place for a walk in the woods whether one sees birds or not. But we did see birds from eagles, hawks and harrier to wading birds and ducks. Also 4 species of woodpecker, 6 species of warbler, gnatcatchers, kinglets, vireo and titmouse. A nice walk in the woods and very good day of birding. We ended with 45 species. Eli also introduced us to some orchids growing in the park.

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