2017 Christmas Bird Count Report

Posted by on 06 Jan 2018 | Tagged as: birding

It was a blustery start to the day for the 34 volunteers participating in the 2017 Ponce Inlet Christmas Bird Count.  It started as 45 degrees and calm wind, and the wind soon stopped being calm.  It was really overcast, but by noon, turned more sunny.  All teams reported fewer numbers of birds, probably because they were tucked in against the cold.

We had plenty of volunteers to fill all the teams, and everybody enjoyed the day.  The wrap-up at Blackbeard’s was also a hit. Continue Reading »

Dec 11 Riverbreeze Park Field Trip Report

Posted by on 13 Dec 2017 | Tagged as: birding

cold birders Seven hardy folks braved the cold and somewhat rainy, but certainly raw, Florida wintery day to visit Riverbreeze Park. 

We started in Seminole Rest since Joe went past the turn to Riverbreeze and stopped by the traffic light in Oak Hill.  Don suggested we go to Seminole Rest since it was pretty close by.  It was very productive, netting us the bulk of our species for the day. 

Then we went to the overlook by Goodrich’s Restaurant and checked out the area.  Not much there. No White Pelicans yet, but some Blue-winged Teal flew by.  Then Joe said he would buy us all a hot drink in the restaurant.  We were all OK with that.  As we were being seated, the servers brought out menus and Joe upped his offer to breakfast for everyone.  Thank you, Joe. Continue Reading »

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:

Continue Reading »

Ken and Beth’s Arctic Adventure HA – 11

Posted by on 12 Nov 2017 | Tagged as: Wandering Members

  Our last day started a little later than usual as this was the ship’s last voyage before dead heading to Halifax and being completely restocked for Antarctic service starting in October.  We were recruited to help empty their liquor stocks.  FREE BOOZE!  After Beth and I retired, the sauna across the hall from us became the center of the party so sleep was rather sporadic.   Continue Reading »

Ken and Beth’s Arctic Adventure HA – 10

Posted by on 07 Nov 2017 | Tagged as: Wandering Members

Our last full day at sea was September 3.  We awoke nearing Monument Island on a cold, wet, blustery morning. The island is so named as the top apparently resembles a monument.  Unfortunately, ceiling this morning was about 100 feet so we have no idea what the island looks like.

I don’t think any of the weather or sea requirements were met but we were told they were putting the zodiacs in the water to explore the rocky shore of the island. (I suspect this would not have been risked had it not been our last day.)  At any rate, the dumbest 2/3 of us were in the zodiacs and away from the ship by 9:15, heading to the island a couple of miles away.

Once we got away from the lee side of the ship, waves and wind became more severe but by that time we were committed.  Continue Reading »

Ken and Beth’s Arctic Adventure HA – 9

Posted by on 07 Nov 2017 | Tagged as: Wandering Members

(My apologies:  I lost my phone with all my photographs between this and the previous post so have to rely on fellow travelers for the rest of the posts.)

Going to shoreCalmer seas overnight and this morning and we were amongst a great many smallish icebergs.  We sailed down Davis Strait and turned into the island community of Qikiqtarjuaq.  The community originated in the early 1960s when an air strip was built to support the nearby DEW Line station.  It now has a population of over 500.   Apparently icebergs traveling south sometimes divert inland around the island and often are grounded. Not sure if the grounding is assisted by the locals or not but, in any case, they provide drinking water for the community.  They claim it makes excellent tea. The sea water in the port is very clear.  As we came ashore we could see the bottom quite clearly even though we were in several feet of water.  Caption: Coming to shore in Qikiqtarjuaq. Photo by Justin Peter.

Continue Reading »

Ken and Beth’s Arctic Adventure- High Arctic – 8

Posted by on 31 Oct 2017 | Tagged as: Wandering Members

Next stop as we headed down the coast of Baffin Island was Isabella Bay. That morning Beth went to the lounge on the top deck to get a coffee.  All of a sudden she came running back into our room – there were no locks on any of the doors- yelling “Gyrfancon, Gyrfalcon.”  We rushed out the door at the end of our hallway, looked up, and there was a beautiful Light Morph Gyrfalcon gliding along right over our heads.  It had an obvious full crop so must have caught a small seabird quite recently. It coasted along above us for several minutes then peeled off and disappeared.  What a magnificent species. Continue Reading »

Ken and Beth’s Arctic Adventure: High Arctic – 7

Posted by on 31 Oct 2017 | Tagged as: Wandering Members

We travelled south down the east coast of Baffin Island and in the top end of iceberg alley.  Some of the icebergs are calved from glaciers on Ellesmere Island but most come from Greenland.  The latter travel north in the West Greenland Current then turn and head south through Baffin Bay and the North Atlantic riding the Labrador Current.  They leave their mother-glacier as dirty, grubby grey masses of ice but before long, ocean spray and rain and snow turn them into the gleaming white bergs we typically see.  They come in all shapes and sizes.

Continue Reading »

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