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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Warblers are Coming!

Where are the migrants? Hooded Warblers are early migrants and there are lots to soon come. The map shows where they are now. You can see that many Hooded Warblers are still in Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula, getting ready to fly across the Gulf of Mexico to the U.S. Soon they will be coming your way. Can't wait.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Northern Waterthrush ID, here's how!

Northern Waterthrush, one of the early migrant warblers, on Sanibel, FL Pond Apple trail yesterday. I heard it call and photographed it. People get confused about waterthrush ID. Here is why it is a Northern Waterthrush. It is yellowish buff below (Louisiana is cream colored below) with a streaked throat (Louisiana usually does not have streaks on throat) and a evenly colored buff eyebrow (Louisiana has bicolored eyebrow with buff in front and white above and behind the eye). Dark heavy elongated dashes on this bird are arranged into streaks on underparts (Louisiana’s medium brown dashes form blurred loose streaks on underparts). Eyebrow thickness and length not always a reliable clue. The legs were pinkish (Louisiana’s are bubble gum pink) and this bird was bobbing the tail not whole end (Louisiana bobs whole rear end in often a circular motion).
Here is some additional information,
Comparison Tips from our Stokes Field Guide to Birds of North America national field guide, page 629.
“Start with shape and behavior. Louisiana is bigger, more elongated, with larger bill; tail extends less past undertail coverts than Northern’s. Louisiana bobs tail (often in a circular manner) and more of rear end than Northern. Northern’s eyebrow solid yellow or solid white; Louisiana’s is bicolored, with buff in front, white above and behind eye. Length and thickness of eyebrows not always a reliable clue, since individual’s vary greatly. Northern’s throat usually with fine streaks; Louisiana’s usually clear white. Northern is white or yellowish buff below with heavy dark streaking, sometimes pale buff-brown on flanks; Louisiana is creamy white below with somewhat paler streaking and yellowish or salmon wash on flanks. Louisiana’s legs are brighter pink than Northern’s. The two species songs are distinct; their call notes are quite similar."

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bringing Spring To You

As our friend said when she saw a photo of our view of palm trees at our Florida home, "you live on a different planet." As northern areas are under a blanket of snow and northern bloggers are keeping warm by the fire and browsing internet garden images, we are in a land that has a different rhythm. The Cardinals in our yard are singing in the Bougainvillea and getting ready to breed.

Gulf Fritillay butterflies are on the wing, nectaring on newly opened wildflowers.

The Red Kapok Tree in a tropical garden here, is in bloom.

But soon the North will change and Yellow-rumped Warblers will return.

Down here they are in small to large flocks and eat insects and berries, getting ready for their journey.

Tree Swallows wintering here by the thousands,

will return to their breeding grounds, bringing spring with them.

So, think spring wherever you are. Keep your feeders full, fresh water in your bird bath, plant red tubular flowers for the hummingbirds, put up some birdhouses, and the birds will come to you!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Green Birds -Happy St. Patrick's Day

Green-winged Teal

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Chestnut-sided Warbler, 1st winter, f.

Wearing of the green. Happy St. Patrick's Day! How many North American green birds can you name besides this Green-winged Teal, Ruby-throated Hummingbird and lime green Chesnut-sided Warbler, 1st winter f.?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Willet Aggression, Why Now?


Willets are common shorebirds that you see when you go to the beach. Here is Willet aggression, enhanced by the dramatic wing pattern. This big, bland shorebird becomes quite a different animal when the wings are lifted. Willets, unlike most of the arctic bound other shorebirds here in FL, breed mainly along coastal areas in the eastern half of the country and the upper West. It's no wonder they are becoming less tolerant of closeness now as breeding time is near.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Black-necked Stilts Have Returned!

Black-necked Stilt, female

Black-necked Stilt, male

These beautiful Black-necked Stilts have just returned to their breeding grounds in FL. The female has a brown back and male has a black back as you can see in these photos. Their habitat is shallow water of marshes, fields and impoundments and they breed along coastal areas and in much of the West.  They nest on the ground. Look for them returning to your area.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Green Heron Breeding Fights

Green Herons are breeding now in FL and there's lots of activity. Here is Ding Darling NWR, pairs are choosing their nesting area and defending them from other Green Herons. This pair was huddled in the shadows thinking about a nesting site above them, then another heron landed near them and was chased away. Soon it will all be settled and there will be eggs, then babies.