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 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.