February 2013 Life Bird

I did get one new Florida “life bird” this month though I tried and hoped for more.  Thanks to reports from other birders I was able to easily locate a Cassin’s Kingbird south of Jacksonville.  It breeds out west, but is occasionally seen in Florida during the winter.

Cassin's Kingbird

Cassin’s Kingbird

In an unsuccessful attempt to find another new bird, the Iceland Gull, I found a close “look a like”, a Glaucous Gull.  It’s another occasional visitor which I had seen for the first time last winter. 

Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull

It was in a mixed group of gulls which included some regular winter visitors, adult Great Black-backed Gulls.

Great Black-backed Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

The most birds I saw at one location this month were at Hanna Park.  Regular Florida residents included a Red-shouldered Hawk, Double-crested Cormorant, American Coot, and my first of the year Green Heron.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Doubled-crested Cormorant

Doubled-crested Cormorant

American Coot

American Coot

Green Heron

Green Heron

I also saw my first adult male Lesser Scaup at the park, a winter visitor.

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

At Howell Park I found a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers.  As you can see the male is distinguished from the female by its red moustachial stripe (hers is black), and his larger red crest which extends to its forehead.

Pileated Woodpecker (Male)

Pileated Woodpecker (Male)

Pileated Woodpecker (Female)

Pileated Woodpecker (Female)

I followed them for a while and at one point I heard pecking sounds coming from a dead tree, but couldn’t find either one of them on the trunk.  Finally the female’s head popped out of a hole to discard some wood chips and I realized they were excavating their new home!

Pileated Woodpecker (Female)

Pileated Woodpecker (Female)

Nearby in the park was another Florida resident, a Wood Stork, who looked amused at something.

Wood Stork

Wood Stork

Castaway Island Preserve was fairly quiet, but I did see Hooded Mergansers there for the first time, down by the boat ramp.

Hooded Mergansers

Hooded Mergansers

Finally, I was glad to see that the adult eagles I saw last month had successfully bred, and two eaglets were on the nest again in north Jacksonville.

Bald Eagles (Immature)

Bald Eagles (Immature)

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Thanks again,

Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist

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