One day, two birding trips

Our local Audubon Bird ID course took us to two places today. We started at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, then headed west to Jones-Hungryland Wildlife Management Area after lunch. There are a few larger pictures on my gallery, but I didn’t get as many as hoped, which is going to disappoint someone. Birds against the sky, and flying birds far away, are beyond my ability to photograph without blurring. But there are a few good photos here, cropped out of larger frames.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park is named for a 17th-century ship captain who wrecked nearby. It’s right on US 1, about 15 miles south of where I live. It was chilly when we started at 8 this morning.

Birders gather at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

One of the first birds we say was this Red-Bellied Woodpecker…

Red Bellied Woodpecker at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

warming up on the same tree as several Robins. I know Robins are pretty common, but I thought Yankee readers would like to see that we are taking good care of them while they are here.

Robin at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Here are four photos of the same Loggerhead Shrike. While it looks cute enough, shrikes often impale their live catches on barbed-wire fences and thorns.

Loggerhead Shrike at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Loggerhead Shrike at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Loggerhead Shrike at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Loggerhead Shrike at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Some Fish Crows, common near our coast, a little smaller than American Crows.

Fish Crows at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Fish Crow at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

A Mockingbird warming up on the wire.

Mockingbird at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Along the Loxahatchee River we saw several Osprey, and a nest.

Osprey at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Osprey at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

On to Jones-Hungryland Wildlife Management Area. The Jones family had something to do with the state obtaining some of the property, but the Hungryland story is more interesting. The Seminole Indians fled to Florida to escape persecution up north, and sought refuge at an Army post on what is now Corbett WMA, which I visited yesterday. When they were left to starve, the local population renamed a slough (“slew,” a deeper stream of water flowing through a marsh), the Hungryland Slough.

This area is largely wetlands, and we were hoping to see some Snail Kites. We didn’t have to wait very long.

Snail Kite, Jones-Hungryland

Snail Kite, Jones-Hungryland

Snail Kite, Jones-Hungryland

We saw several Snail Kites, a rare treat. Snail Kite beaks evolved to specialize in eating Apple Snails, which used to proliferate in the Everglades. As Apple Snail habitat was lost, the Snail Kites were unable to modify their dietary requirements. Despite visiting many wetlands in this part of Florida, I saw more Snail Kites today than at all other places combined, including a previous visit to Jones-Hungryland (more Snail Kite photos at that link).

We also saw several Wood Storks. This is the first time I have seen one in a tree. They nest in trees, but this stork was just taking a break.

Wood Stork, Jones-Hungryland

It wouldn’t be a Florida Birding Trip without an alligator. (Larger photo here.)

Alligator, Jones-Hungryland

A far-off Banded Kingfisher. They’re winter visitors, and will be leaving soon.

Banded Kingfisher, Jones-Hungryland

A Great Blue Heron does some Peopling.

Great Blue Heron, Jones-Hungryland

While I failed to get any spectacular Snail Kite photos, I did get a good shot of our group looking at a Snail Kite. In a place as wide open as Jones-Hungryland, a spotting scope is as useful as good binoculars.

Birding group, Jones-Hungryland

Tags: ,

One Response to “One day, two birding trips”

  1. MB Clark Says:

    Thanks, Jim. It was fun to “relive” our outing.