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

 

 

September 1, 2018

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and Greater Area

Diamond Loop Road

New species: Loggerhead Shrike and Sage Thrasher (not great photos)

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Loggerhead Shrike; Diamond Loop Road; Harney County, Oregon; September 1, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Somewhere along Diamond Loop Road; Harney County, Oregon; September 1, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Sage Thrasher; Diamond Loop Road; Harney County, Oregon; September 1, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

Rockford Lane

New species: Sagebrush Sparrow (no photo)

Benson Pond (full eBird list here)

New species: Long-billed Dowitcher

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Mostly America Avocets transitioning into their winter plumage; Benson Pond; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; September 1, 2018.

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Great Egrets; Benson Pond; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; September 1, 2018.

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Long-billed Dowitchers and American Wigeons; Benson Pond; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; September 1, 2018.

New Birds for 2018: 4
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 222

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 17, 2018

The Winter Wings Festival, a fantastic yearly birding festival in Klamath Falls, Oregon, yielded me 26 new species for my 2018 Oregon list! We birded all day this past Saturday, as part of the festival, with some local experts who I believe knew how to summon specific species.

Tour leader: “We often see Ferruginous Hawks in this area. I’m sure we’ll see one today.”

a few minutes later …

Tour leader: “Look, a Ferruginous Hawk.”

The bus quickly slows to a stop, and said hawk lands on the ground for us, and we are able to admire its distinguishing features.

This happened with a few more species, including a Loggerhead Shrike (on the California side of the show, so I can’t count it toward my formal 2018 Oregon list).

We planned on birding this past Sunday, too, as part of the festival, but winter decided to finally visit Oregon, so we hit the road early Sunday morning so that we could get to Salem before dark. We did, but what took us 4 hours on Friday took us nearly 7 on Sunday.

Back to Saturday, and the details of which are as follows (I’ll let the bullets and photos speak for themselves; y’all aren’t actually reading any of this anyway):

What: Big Day Birding Field Trip, Winter Wings Festival, Klamath Falls, Oregon

When: Saturday, February 17, 2018, 7am to 4pm

Where: Lake Ewauna, Putnam’s Point, and Running Y Ranch in Klamath Falls, Oregon; Lower Klamath Lake Road, Klamath Hills, Oregon; Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, California

Why: To bird with local experts and to bag some southern Oregon bird species

Species Total: 71
*New Birds for 2018: 29
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 115

These numbers include the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker I saw near Beaverton, Oregon, earlier in the week; see end of post)

*List of New Birds for 2018 from the Winter Wings Festival

Greater White-fronted Goose
Cackling Goose
Canvasback
Barrow’s Goldeneye
Black-crowned Night-heron
Rough-legged Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Golden Eagle
Eurasian Collared Dove
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Acorn Woodpecker
Prairie Falcon
Say’s Phoebe
Black-billed Magpie
Tree Swallow
Mountain Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Pygmy Nuthatch
Marsh Wren
Townsend’s Solitaire
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Tricolored Blackbird
Red Crossbill
Evening Grosbeak 

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Barrow’s Goldeneye; Running Y Ranch; Klamath Falls, Oregon; February 17, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Black-crowned Night-Heron roost (total individuals estimated at 104!); Klamath River, just north of Lake Ewauna; Klamath Falls, Oregon; February 17, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Barred Owl; Running Y Ranch; Klamath Falls, Oregon; February 17, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Canvasback; Running Y Ranch; Klamath Falls, Oregon; February 17, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Hermit Thrush; Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge visitors’ center; February 17, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt. I can’t count this species because I saw it in California, but look at this guy!

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Loggerhead Shrike; Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge; February 17, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt. I can’t count this species because I saw it in California, but it’s a Loggerhead Shrike!!

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Prairie Falcon; Lower Klamath Lake Road, Klamath Hills; February 17, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt

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Birding Pals; Lower Klamath Lake Road, Klamath Hills; February 17, 2018; photograph by Clint Burfitt

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Me and my K. Falls Birding Pals; Lower Klamath Lake Road, Klamath Hills; February 17, 2018; photograph by Clint Burfitt

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Our drive back to Salem, Oregon, somewhere along Highway 58 near Crescent Lake; February 18, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt

 

Earlier that week:

Also, as planned, I stopped by Commonwealth Lake Park this past Tuesday to see if I could find the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker again. I did, or rather some other birders did already, so this was rather effortless.

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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker; Commonwealth Lake Park; Beaverton, Oregon; February 13, 2018.

 

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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker; Commonwealth Lake Park; Beaverton, Oregon; February 13, 2018.