This year I spent Thanksgiving in Florida visiting family and squeezing in as much birding as possible. Luckily, Florida makes that pretty easy. I visited two years ago and gained a new respect for birds I didn’t appreciate while growing up in the Sunshine State and I was excited to return and find more critters.
My mom lives in Tampa near the University of South Florida, Lettuce Lake Park, and a small but productive pond right next to the house. She would have a pretty bad-ass 5 mi-radius if she wanted. Two years ago, her yard produced my lifer Black-throated Green Warbler, and this time it gave me a lifer Prairie Warbler!
Blurry, but there’s a bright yellow chest and throat, dark streaks on the sides, olive back yellow eye crescents, and black eye-line. I refound it the next day to try for better photos.
This bird was tough to get! The best I could manage:
One easy warbler to find is the Palm Warbler.
They’re everywhere with that yellow undertail continually wagging.
Another easy find was Eastern Phoebe always calling “Fee-bee!”
And Brown Thrashers, another great southern yard bird.
And of course, the ever ubiquitous, Northern Mockingbird.
One morning I heard a tussle of raspy high-pitched trills that turned out to be a NOMO street fight.
An Eastern Gray Squirrel and I watched safely from the sidelines.
Closer to the pond I found a juvenile Little Blue Heron.
Almost all white with a hint of light blue coming in. Makes me wonder what evolutionary advantage having white followed by blue feathers could be? Curious.
Nearby I caught a quick glimpse of one of my favorite birds, the Gray Catbird.
And higher up in the trees were gobs of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.
It’s funny to think how popular the one gnatcatcher in Portland was, when there are so many here, but that’s the fun of rarities.
Other birds I saw were Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and bubbly House Wren.
I heard a Carolina Wren singing before I finally spotted it deep in the shrubs.
And I saw another iconic yard bird, the Northern Cardinal.
I happily eye-balled all these birds I haven’t seen in so long, then noticed a bunch of raucous Blue Jays.
And realized I wasn’t the only one eye-balling them. Cooper’s Hawk!
Fun stuff, I could spend days enjoying the yard birds, but we had to check into the condo on the beach the next day.
Many more Florida birds to come!
Tweets and chirps,