Fort Myers, Florida, March 7–15 (Part 4 of 4)

I promise that this is the last post about my 2019 Florida trip. Nobody cares anymore, I know. After this, we are back to birding in the PNW (until I go to Utah, then watch out).

This post is a handful of mini-posts. I’ll keep the text “short,” and I’ll be generous with the photos. Here we go.

March 11, 2019: After my trip to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, I headed north to find Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. En-route, I found another target bird—the Roseate Spoonbill! The spoonbills were in a wet field with an assortment of egrets, etc. If Florida had an egret-heron punch card, I would have all spots punched except for one at this point. eBird checklist here.

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A medley of waders; Immokalee Road; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Roseate Spoonbill; Immokalee Road; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Roseate Spoonbill (judging you) and a Snowy Egret; Immokalee Road; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Roseate Spoonbills; Immokalee Road; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Great Egret and Snowy Egrets; Immokalee Road; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Great Egret; Immokalee Road; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Snowy Egret; Immokalee Road; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Cattle Egret (hey I’m different!); Immokalee Road; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork; Immokalee Road; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

After enjoying this wader medley, I went straight to my flycatcher spot, scared an alligator into a canal (splash!), and then a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher flew into view! How perfect. It stayed long enough for me to get a really terrible photo. I’m including it here because it’s a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher! My goal next year is to get better photos of this bird. It’s a gorgeous bird. I also saw Swallow-tailed Kites here and continued to see them (always while driving) for the remainder of my trip. eBird checklist here.

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Scissor-tailed Flycatcher; Church Road; Hendry County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

March 13, 2019: My dad and I spent the day at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It was really hot. We didn’t find any Mangrove Cuckoos, but we did find another one of my target birds—the Reddish Egret. My Florida egret-heron punch card is complete!  Florida has a total of 6 heron species and 4 egret species, and I saw them all on this trip. eBird checklists here and here and here.

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My birding partner, my dad, Tom; J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

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Tricolored Heron; J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

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Osprey; J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

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Little Blue Heron; J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

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Mangrove Swamps (with some Blue-winged Teals); J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

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Coolest Birders; J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

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Mangrove Swamp (Mangrove Cuckoo I’ll find you next time!); J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

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Mangrove Swamp; J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

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Along Wildlife Drive; J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

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White Pelicans; Mangrove Swamp; J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

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White Pelicans and a Reddish Egret; J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

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Reddish Egret; J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

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Reddish Egret; J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge; March 13, 2019.

March 14, 2019: My last day in Florida, and I’m off to return my rental car to the airport. But wait! Was there not a reliable spot to find Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks? Yes, there was/is, and it’s just north of the airport. Off to get the whistling ducks (piles of them!), then to the airport for a very long day of travelling.

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Gateway Boulevard; Lee County, Florida; north of the airport; March 14, 2019. This was my view of the whistling-ducks. This is a gated community and I had to be discrete and quick! I parked at some type of mega-church across the street, ran across the street, enjoyed the whistling quackers for a few minutes, took a few zoomed-in shots, and absconded.

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Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks (very nervous looking); Gateway Boulevard; Lee County, Florida; north of the airport; March 14, 2019.

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Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks; Gateway Boulevard; Lee County, Florida; north of the airport; March 14, 2019.

Florida, I will see you in exactly 1 year.

With love, Linda

 

 

Fort Myers, Florida, March 7–15, 2019 (Part 3 of 4)

Florida has its own species of scrub-jay. It’s endemic to Florida, federally threatened, and appropriately named the Florida Scrub-Jay, Aphelocoma coerulescensFlorida also has its own subspecies of Burrowing Owl, Athene cunicularia floridana. Both species have some overlapping habitat preferences: open sandy areas with low-growing scrub-shrubs. Fortunately for me, this habitat is in the Fort Myers area in nearby Cape Coral. Before I drove out to the site, I reviewed this beautiful map of the Cape Coral area.

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A computer motherboard or Cape Coral, Florida?

Welcome to Cape Coral, Florida, where you get your own canal. You also get your own alligator, but they don’t advertise that part. This area went through a complete landscape transformation in the 1960s. Not surprisingly, the area was “swampy” and uninhabitable by human standards. Mangrove swamps and palmetto scrublands dominated the area. Out-of-state dreamers were convinced they could turn this place into a real estate paradise. The main developer at the time “… passed off inaccessible mush as prime real estate, sold the same swampy lots to multiple buyers, and used listening devices to spy on its customers” (Grunwald 2017).

Back to the Burrowing Owls and Florida Scrub-Jays, because that’s why we’re here and because they live here, in this motherboard.

On March 10, 2019, both species were within walking distance from each other in the red circle on the image below. You can even go onto eBird and search for the scrub-jay, and you’ll see a whole cluster of points at this very spot. When I was there, so were other birders.

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Cape Coral area, Florida;  Imagery 2018 Google, Map data 2018 Google.

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Florida Scrub-Jay; Cape Coral, Florida; March 10, 2019. Seeing this species was pretty special for me. I now look at my own local scrub-jays (California) with more admiration.

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Burrowing Owl; Cape Coral, Florida; March 10, 2019. This was a bit of a surprise. I thought I would have to drive to the other side of the motherboard to see the Florida Burrowing Owl, but apparently there are burrows throughout the motherboard. And, Florida Burrowing Owls will sometimes dig their own burrows!

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Florida Burrowing Owl; Cape Coral, Florida; March 10, 2019.

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Eastern Meadowlark; Cape Coral, Florida; March 10, 2019.

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Loggerhead Shrike; Cape Coral, Florida; March 10, 2019.

And that, my readers who made it this far, is all I have to say right now. I thought I could fit my last few Florida posts into one post. Nope. There’s more to come. Maybe I need to move there and do a Florida big year? I’m realizing now that this blog needs a new name, too.

Next up: SPOONBILLS!

Literature Cited

Grunwald, M. 2017. The Boomtown That Shouldn’t Exist. Politico Magazine.  November/December 2017

 

 

Fort Myers, Florida, March 7–15, 2019 (Part 2 of 4)

And we’re back!

Before my trip, I did a literature review of the area, searching Florida birding websites, eBird, etc. I started a list of target birds and target areas near Fort Myers and also purchased A Birder’s Guide to Florida from the Book Bin in Salem*. The book was basically written for birders from (or travelling to) Florida and who want to know exactly where to go to bird. It’s a great book.

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While reading this book, searching online, and dreaming of Painted Buntings and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, I happened upon a Fort Myers–area birding club, the Caloosa Bird Club. Formed in 1958 as a mostly seasonal club for birding “snowbirds” (aka future Linda), the club hosts field trips in the Fort Myers area in the winter, and they were holding a field trip to the Corkscrew Swamp during my stay in Florida. I quickly signed up a guest.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

On fieldtrip day, Monday, March 11, I left Fort Myers before sunrise and drove down to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, arrived just after sunrise, found a parking spot, and met with at least 20 other birders and our Audubon tour guide.

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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

The sanctuary is owned by the National Audubon Society. From their website,

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary occupies approximately 13,000 acres in the heart of the Corkscrew Watershed in Southwest Florida, part of the Western Everglades. It is primarily composed of wetlands. These include the largest remaining virgin bald cypress forest in the world (approximately 700 acres), which is the site of the largest nesting colony of Federally Endangered Wood Storks in the nation. (Audubon 2019)

This place is an oasis. We birded all morning along the boardwalk trail that travels through cypress swamps, pine flatwoods, and wet prairies. The birding club members were also very gracious; because I was an out-of-state guest, they did their best to make sure I saw nearly every bird. At first, before they remembered my name, I’d hear “Where’s the guest?!” “We’ve got the bittern!” They also have club hats and nametags that they wear. Of course I wanted both.   

In all, the group collectively saw 61 species that morning! Highlights or lifers for me were Painted Bunting, Summer Tanager (the trip bird!), Anhinga, Indigo Bunting, White-eyed Vireo, Brown-headed Nuthatch, and Tufted Titmouse.

Ok, time for photos—some good, and some for the sake of simply seeing a particular bird. Enjoy!

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Slash pine habitat; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Brown-Headed Nuthatch; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Caloosa Birding Club; slash pine habitat; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Pileated Woodpecker; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Indigo Bunting; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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American Bittern; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Giant bald cypress; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Giant bald cypress; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Giant bald cypress; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Purple Gallinule; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Anhinga; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Mama alligator; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Baby alligators; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Purple Gallinule; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Anhingas; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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New Florida friends and a alligator; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Caloosa Birding Club; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Green Heron; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Florida cottonmouth; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Barred Owl; Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary; Collier County, Florida; March 11, 2019.

I love that this trip to Florida included not only new birds, but also new birding friends/contacts. I can’t wait to bird with this group again next year. 

My eBird checklist from the fieldtrip is here

Literature Cited

National Audubon Society. 2019. The Sanctuary. Available at: http://corkscrew.audubon.org/about/sanctuary.

Footnotes

* The Book Bin in Salem has become a sort of book-version of the Room of Requirements for me. If I have a book in mind (or really a topic I hope is covered in a book), I simply need to walk in there with intent, and within 15 minutes in the store, I find the exact book I need. I don’t even need a wand for this (even though I have one). This Florida birding book is one example, but another time, I went in looking for a book on telemark skiing, and they had such a book.

Fort Myers, Florida, March 7–15, 2019 (Part 1 of 4)

My parents are vacationing in Fort Myers, Florida, with a bunch of other retired Ontarians who have just about had it “up to here” with dirty city snow and freezing rain. My Mom would correct me right now and say that she does, actually, enjoy winters in Ontario and loves the snow. Sure you do ; )

I flew down from rainy Oregon to visit them last week, to remind myself of what the sun feels and looks like, and to bird the entire dang time. My sister and her family were also there, so I got some quality time with my 1.5-year-old nephew. Turns out, he really loves birds, or “Ba!” as he calls them right now. Oh my heart.

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My parents’ street; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

I’ve been a birder for a couple of decades now, but I’m usually able to turn down the birding volume. It’s kind of like having to turn down the volume on a song you really love because you have to talk to somebody instead, or because somebody is sleeping. After doing a big year, turning down the birding volume is next to impossible, especially in a new area. Plus … FLORIDA. I warned my family ahead of time. Birding rock and roll, folks.

I flew into Fort Myers late Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, I heard a Northern Mockingbird singing outside my bedroom window. I’ve seen maybe two mockingbirds in my life. Turns out, they are ubiquitous in the Fort Myers area. What a damn treat already. Then, outside on the lawn were two White Ibis—a lifer, and quite possibly the oddest looking bird. Additional highlights from our morning walk in my parents’ neighbourhood were a handful of Palm Warblers (in actual palm trees this time), Myrtle Warblers, Northern Parulas, a gorgeous Yellow-crowed Night-Heron (lifer), and both Turkey and Black Vultures (how nice to compare these for once side-by-side). Oh, and a gator.

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Northern Mockingbird; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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White Ibis; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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The neighbourhood American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in the pond down the street; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Snowy Egret; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Snowy Egret; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Palm Point; Caloosahatche River; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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My Dad, Tom (a new birder!); Palm Point; Caloosahatche River; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Yellow-crowned Night-Heron; Palm Point; Caloosahatche River; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Yellow-crowned Night-Heron; Palm Point; Caloosahatche River; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Yellow-crowned Night-Heron; Palm Point; Caloosahatche River; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

Of course, this was just the beginning. There are so many more birds and adventures that were seen and had. Hopefully I have time to draft Part 2 of ? later on today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 9, 2019

I’m continuing to find really birdy wetland/ponded areas in my 5MR.

Today’s 5MR birding spot was the Claggett Creek Natural Area. This 42-acre area is in NE Salem and is tucked in between Highway 99E and the railroad. The area is owned by the city.  Claggett Creek runs through the area,  there are two reservoirs, and wood-chipped walking trails provide pedestrian access. Parking appears to only be at the Kroc Center across the street. Very little information about this area is available online. A heads up that the area does have a few homeless camps and associated debris strewn about. We spent a little over an hour here and got 24 species.

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Claggett Creek Natural Area; Salem, Oregon; Imagery 2018 Google, Map data 2018 Google.

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Claggett Creek Natural Area; Salem, Oregon; February 9, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Hooded Merganser (and an American Coot); Claggett Creek Natural Area; Salem, Oregon; February 9, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt. 

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Claggett Creek Natural Area; Salem, Oregon; February 9, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Ruddy Duck; Claggett Creek Natural Area; Salem, Oregon; February 9, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Claggett Creek Natural Area; Salem, Oregon; February 9, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Canvasback; Claggett Creek Natural Area; Salem, Oregon; February 9, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 12, 2019

Working some more in our 5MR, we started our day at  Mirror Pond just north of the Salem Courthouse. Here, our first bird was a Scarlet Macaw (no kidding). There was some type of exotic animal trade show that day at our convention center, and this guy escaped for a tour of the Salem Riverfront. We met his “owner” who did not appear to be too worried.

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Scarlet Macaw; Salem, Oregon; January 12, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

After that, we headed to the north end of our 5MR to check out, for the first time, the Keizer sewage ponds, that is, the Willow Lake Water Pollution Control Facility. I knew this area wasn’t 100% open to the public, which is one of the reasons I’ve never bothered checking it out. Because it’s not open to the public, it’s not birded much, so any birding data from this area pale in comparison to the everyday-it’s-birding-Christmas Philomath Sewage Ponds. It’s also possible that the types of ponds/cells here are not as attractive to birds are other ponds/cells.

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Willow Lake Water Pollution Control Facility; Keizer, Oregon; Imagery 2019 Google, Map data 2019 Google.

But, because it’s in our 5MR, and because of what it is, I’d be remiss to not at least do a drive-by. Maybe there’s a berm outside that I could climb up with my scope? I could have examined the Google imagery more, but it’s within my 5MR. Just drive on up there!

To our surprise, adjacent to the facility are walking paths through a constructed wetland complex. It’s called the “City of Salem Natural Reclamation System” (NRS). Well what the heck does that mean? It means this, from the City of Salem’s website:

NRS is a five-year demonstration used to determine whether a constructed wetland approach can provide reuse water for farming and could provide us with a new way of dealing with treated wastewater, reusing it instead of directly discharging it into the Willamette River. (City of Salem 2017)

I’m slowly learning that my 5MR is chocked full of natural and constructed wetlands, and I could not be happier. Naturally, we spent the rest of the day here and got 25 species in under 2 hours, including a flipping Virginia Rail!. We also met a really nice man named “Bob” who goes for his daily walks here. We could see the actual circular cells from the wetland complex, but it was through a gate. The cells were also full of gulls, and I wasn’t really in a “gull” mood that day.

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City of Salem NRS interpretive signage; January 12, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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City of Salem NRS constructed wetlands; January 12, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Snowy Egret, eh? Hmmm; City of Salem NRS interpretive signage; January 12, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Song Sparrow; City of Salem NRS; January 12, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

 

January 1, 2019

Birding Ctrl+Alt+Delete!

My first bird of 2019 was a Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) followed soon after by my front-yard 9-to-5 suet-cake monitor, this female Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Audubon).

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon), making sure nobirdy is misbehaving in the front-yard magnolia tree; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

I’m a little relieved that my 2018 Oregon Big Year has come to a close. Chasing birds, seeing a handful of lifers, exploring Oregon, and meeting new friends were wonderful, but the disappointment that came with missing chased birds, not being able to chase birds because of other commitments, and things like my failed 8-hour pelagic tour weighed on me too much sometimes.

Onward, and enter two new birding challenges that I think will be a little easier on my well-being:

  1. Participating in the 5MR challenge!
  2. Seeing my truly sought-after, missed Oregon 2019 birds (e.g., both rosy-finches)
My 5MR in Salem, Oregon!
Map data 2019 Google.
Radius generated using https://www.mapdevelopers.com/draw-circle-tool.php

Let’s start with the 5-mile-radius challenge (the 5MR challenge). This isn’t an incredibly new idea, but Jen at http://www.iusedtohatebirds.com/ has given this idea some fresh light and has rallied a handful of birders from across the country (and beyond) to participate, including me.

This challenge for me has three categories:

  1. See as many bird species as I can within 5 miles of my house.
  2. Bird places in my 5MR that I may have overlooked in the past, and discover new potential birding eBird hotspots.
  3. See the highest % of bird species relative to the number of birds seen in your county.

The bonus (and possible hindrance in terms of category #1) for me is that we’ll be moving this year, so I’ll be switching from one radius to another at some point. But I do know that my second 5MR will include the Columbia River, both the OR and WA sides!

Starting with my 5MR here in Salem, OR, we birded all day on January 1, starting with the feeder birds in our yard. Species total: 13.

After, I headed over to Mirror Pond just north of the Salem Courthouse in downtown Salem, because an American Dipper was seen there a few weeks ago. I dipped on the dipper, but if I get an American Dipper in my 5MR, I’ll be truly ecstatic. Species total: 13.

Mirrow Pond; Salem, Oregon; Imagery 2019 Google, Map data 2019 Google.
Mirror Pond; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Common Merganser and a pair of Hooded Mergansers; Mirror Pond; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Common Merganser and a pair of Hooded Mergansers; Mirror Pond; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Common Merganser; Mirror Pond; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Downy Woodpecker; Mirror Pond; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Red-tailed Hawk; Mirror Pond; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

Our next stop was the Salem Audubon Nature Reserve in West Salem. The reserve is a 7-acre woodlot in the middle of a residential area. The Salem Audubon Society (with help from the Rotary Club of Salem) has done incredible work here, including building a pond, putting up feeders, and working on controlling invasive plans species (e.g., English ivy, Himalayan blackberry). Volunteers work every Wednesday at the Reserve to improve it. Our highlight was the Western Bluebirds. They were high up in the Oregon white oaks, feeding on the mistletoe berries. Species total: 8.

Salem Audubon Nature Reserve; West Salem, Oregon; Imagery 2019 Google, Map data 2019 Google.
Western Bluebird; Salem Audubon Nature Reserve; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Western Bluebird; Salem Audubon Nature Reserve; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Western Bluebirds; Salem Audubon Nature Reserve; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Salem Audubon Nature Reserve; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Salem Audubon Nature Reserve; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

Following this, we headed over to Straub Nature Park in West Salem, where the highlights were Townsend Warblers and a Varied Thrush. Overall, it was a quiet and expedited trip. Species total: 6.

From here, we went to the Fairview Wetlands near the Salem Airport. This wetland complex was created in the 1990s to mitigate impacts to natural areas in this same area from the development of an industrial commercial business park. Species total: 19.

Fairview Wetlands; West Salem, Oregon; Imagery 2019 Google, Map data 2019 Google.
FYI: this complex is much more impressive than what this imagery shows.
Scoping Wilson Snipes; Fairview Wetlands; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
American Kestrel; Fairview Wetlands; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt
Fairview Wetlands; Salem, Oregon; January 1, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt

As you can see from the above picture, the sun was setting, but I knew we could get two more species—Gadwalls and Pied-billed Grebes—at a pond in Minto-Brown. And we did, just in the nick of time before the sun completely set. Species total: 7.

EOD Species Total: 43

December 30, 2018

I ended by big year doing the Yaquina Bay CBC with Clint and my birding sister Lindsay. It was a beautiful day weather-wise, but a tough day because I had the worst sleep of my life the night before. I mean, it was so bad that it’s just worth mentioning here because it coloured my day a bit 😦 But …

The CBC was fruitful! And, my 2018 big year has come to a close!

265!

Honestly, I could have chased another bird on the 31st, but why mess with a number like 265 (plus I had to work). 265 is perfect.

Bird 265 was a FETCHING BLACK-AND-WHITE-WARBLER! A rare bird out here in Oregon, the black-and-white is a mostly eastern warbler that generally winters in Mexico and Central America. This individual has been hanging out for at least a month now in a stand of alders across the street from Ona State Park just south of Newport, OR. Interestingly enough, another (or the same?) black-and-white overwintered in this same spot in Oregon last year.

In Ona State Park I got bird 264, the Magnolia Warbler, another rare warbler for Oregon that’s been seen in this spot almost daily for a couple of months. The Magnolia is also an eastern warbler that generally winters in and near Central America.

I got photos of neither warbler because they were moving pretty fast, and my camera is sub-far for fast-moving birds in poor lighting. The Magnolia, I suspected correctly, would only be in view for a few minutes, so I just enjoyed her with my bins. I attempted to get photos of the black-and-white, but instead I ended up with many photos of moss and lichen growing on alders. Many. If anyone out there is doing a study on moss and lichens growing on alders in the PNW, I have photos for you. Bonus points if you can find a Black-and-White Warbler in these shots. I cannot.

Birds 261 through 263 were a Brandt, Eurasian Wigeon, and an Eared Grebe.

What follows are some out-of-order photos from the day!

For those of you who have made it this far and have followed/read my blog in 2018, holy smokes thank you!

Or, thank you, Dad, for being my one reader!

I have blog posts that will follow this one that detail my next birding adventures and challenges for 2019!

Yaquina Bay Estuary Trail; Newport, Oregon; December 30, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
South Jetty; Newport, Oregon; December 30, 2018; photography by Lindsay Willrick.
Yaquina Bay; Newport, Oregon; December 30, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Oregon Coast; south of Newport, Oregon; December 30, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Yaquina Bay; Newport, Oregon; December 30, 2018; photograph by Lindsay Willrick.
Fox Sparrow; Ona State Park; Seal Rock, Oregon; December 30, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Western Grebe; Yaquina Bay; Newport, Oregon; December 30, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Horned Grebe; Yaqhina Bay; Newport, Oregon; December 30, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Surf Scoter; Yaqhina Bay; Newport, Oregon; December 30, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Common Loon; Yaqhina Bay; Newport, Oregon; December 30, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.
Surf Scoter (look at my cute tail!); Yaqhina Bay; Newport, Oregon; December 30, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

New Birds for 2018: 4
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 265