Bird ID Class, March 7, ’08

Our local Audubon chapter Bird ID class began at Blowing Rocks Preserve, operated by the Nature Conservancy, on Jupiter Island, Florida. Jupiter Island (map) is a barrier island. On the leeward side is the southern end of the Indian River Lagoon; the opposite side faces the Atlantic.

Blowing Rocks Preserve

Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter Island, FL

Larger copy of this photo here.

The location takes its name from a geological phenomenon. Holes in the limestone force water upward like a fountain. I’m not sure that’s what’s happening in the photo, though.

It was windy this morning, so not many birds were out flying. (Tiger Woods and Celine Dion live here, but they weren’t out, either.) As I neared the Preserve, though, some Magnificent Frigatebirds flew right overhead. Wish I could have taken a photo, as they were quite low. This one passed overhead later.

Magnificent Frigatebird, Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter Island, FL

We saw gulls and terns, too far off for photographs. Some Brown Pelicans flew by:

Brown Pelicans, Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter Island, FL

And a Starling hung onto a dead tree.

Starling, Blowing Rocks Preserve, Jupiter Island, FL

Peck Lake Park

After a classroom session we went to Peck Lake Park in Hobe Sound, which combines wetland and upland habitats, and also borders the Lagoon, on the mainland side.

We watched a lone Palm Warbler (we were hungry for sightings!), then walked out a boardwalk to the Lagoon. There was an Osprey in a tree on a mangrove island across the Lagoon, and a nearby nest.

Osprey nest, Indian River Lagoon, Hobe Sound, FL

There might be a bird peeking up from the nest, but it doesn’t seem to move across several photos I took.

Port Salerno Stormwater Pollution Treatment Facility

From Peck Lake Park we drove to Port Salerno, and birded the Storm Water Pollution Treatment facility I visited Sunday. It was windy there, too.

Stormwater Treatment facility, Port Salerno, FL

I merged larger images from today’s visit with those I took on Sunday. They are on page 2 at this link on my gallery. Here’s a sampling of what we saw today.

Belted Kingfisher, Stormwater Treatment facility, Port Salerno, FL

A male Belted Kingfisher. They are winter visitors to Florida.

Little Blue Heron, Stormwater Treatment facility, Port Salerno, FL

A Little Blue Heron, a year-round resident.

Halpatiokee Regional Park

After we wrapped up, I went to Halpatiokee Park, to see how much standing water was left by yesterday’s deluge. A large flock of Ring-Billed Gulls was wandering around the soccer fields. High winds will do that.

Ring-billed Gull, Halpatiokee Regional Park, Stuart, FL

As I feared, the trails are inundated again.

Flooded trail, Halpatiokee Regional Park, Stuart, FL

Last year at this time, the trails were completely dry, but we need the water.

I walked around the sidewalk that circles the baseball diamonds, and saw a mockingbird, two Mourning Doves and a vulture. Oh, well, at least it didn’t rain.

4 Responses to “Bird ID Class, March 7, ’08”

  1. Robert Halprin Says:

    This blog consistently has great images. I’m hoping to get back to Florida soon. In the meantime, you inspired me to finally purchase that Panasonic digital camera that we have discussed previously. So I’m heading over to Heublein Tower today to give it a bit of a workout–it’s supposed to be a balmy 40 degrees this afternoon. As a first-time user, the functionality of this camera seems “massive,” however, so it will take me some period of time to figure out all the bells and whistles!

  2. Jim Says:

    Blow a few more bucks on an image-editing program. I understand Photoshop Elements is good. PaintShop Pro isn’t bad. Sometimes you can’t zoom in far enough, and will want to crop the image. And you’ll want to optimize files before emailing them. No one needs to receive a 3000-pixel-wide, 2-MB picture. You also can manipulate brightness and contrast. It isn’t cheating to do this; Ansel Adams did it with film. Good luck with the new camera.

  3. Jeroen Says:

    To be honest, I’m worried about the coot population in Florida. Where are they?

  4. Jim Says:

    Oh, we have lots of coots in Florida! And not all of them have feathers. 🙂