Florida Birds

I often tell folks that I don’t chase birds and generally that is correct. However, when I planned the 1500 mile trip to Florida to trade my truck in on an Airstream Interstate RV, I started to put a short target list together. I have never birded Florida so I wanted to grab a few of the common birds in the short time I would be there — I put a list of Limpkin, Wood Stork, and Florida Scrub Jay on a scrap of paper.

Well, the first early evening there, before the purchase was settled, I heard some sharp calling just outside the motel and got a new life bird of Nanday Parakeet. These are a lot like the Green Parakeets we see in Texas – the first time you see and hear them it is exciting, then it gets old pretty fast.

I had decided that if the transaction went ok, I’d stay in the area for a day or so. After a long Monday morning, I took possession of the new rig and drove about an hour over to Myakka River State Park and within an hour, was walking with the dog and finding two new life birds, Wood Storks and Limpkins.

 

Dozens of Limpkins and their young live in the park and are easy to spot as they forage.

Dozens of Limpkins and their young live in the park and are easy to spot as they forage.

There are many trails where in addition to birds, you might see opossum, alligators, raccoons, and plenty of squirrels. 

There are many trails where in addition to birds, you might see opossum, alligators, raccoons, and plenty of squirrels.

The next morning, we got up early and walked down to a fishing access area which was teeming with birds. Hundreds of Black Vultures (wait for a later post) were interesting to Penny but I found a new life bird foraging. I have seen many Common Gallinules but have never seen a Purple Gallinule. It was neat to see them on the same morning and note the very apparent difference.

Purple Gallinules are pretty striking looking birds.

Purple Gallinules are pretty striking looking birds.

 

This White Ibis was pretty showy in the early morning light.

This White Ibis was pretty showy in the early morning light.

So we packed up and headed out about 8 AM with four new life birds, in less than a day. Then, as the day’s fortune continued, I saw another life bird, a Swallow-tail Kite, right overhead as I drove up I-75. About a half hour later, I saw another one low over the road. They are tough to miss — lovely birds — and a nice bookend to a short Florida birding stop.

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4 Responses to Florida Birds

  1. Heather Campbell says:

    It made me so happy to read this post. Florida has a way of drawing you back over and over…I camped in Myakka River SP too, and finally saw a limpkin there in April this year. Life birds get tougher to add as the years mount up!
    My Mom and Dad once visited a friend in Florida who had just moved there; an enthusiastic if inexperienced birder. She kept raving about the “purple Galliano” and insisting they must see one! I’m afraid the bird was less memorable than that story, because Mom told it to everyone.

  2. Dick,
    I’m so happy for you . I loved seeing many wonderful wood storks at the Corkscrew preserve south of Ft.Myers. Don’t miss the wonderful birds on the preserve on Sanabel Island.

  3. Peg Hilson says:

    So happy to see you are on the road and hope you will have county highway 6 on your itinerary !

  4. So glad you found some beautiful new birds on your first Florida birding excursion. I’m not an a real birder – I don’t have a life list – but I do enjoy looking for birds and photographing them. We have made many trips to Florida through the years and there are so many places to go and birds to see. There are also great birding opportunities along the Georgia coast. It’s probably too late for you now but if you travel on I95 you would go close to Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge where we saw Wood Storks nesting in early April and posted about it on my blog. I hope that you will one day be able to add Wood Stork to your list.

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