August 2013 Number 250
Finally, after more than three and a half years of birding, I’ve almost reached the halfway point in finding and photographing Florida’s 500 plus birds. Fortunately, with 25 new birds since December, I’m still seeing an average of almost 3 new birds a month. But that won’t last too long. The next fifty will be much harder to find. However, it is encouraging to know that there are at least a dozen Florida birders that have already seen or photographed over 400 birds!
Bird “Number 250” is a Pectoral sandpiper, which I saw when visiting the Hague Dairy near Gainesville (Alachua County) for the first time.
Also on hand at the dairy, in a flooded old corn field, were a number of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Killdeer, and Spotted and Solitary sandpipers.
And as you might expect, being a dairy farm there were lots of Cattle egrets. Here’s one looking for its cow.
On another trip to Gainesville I had the opportunity to visit Paynes Prairie Preserve with local bird expert Rex Rowan. We saw/heard (at least Rex did) 50 different species, which to me was quite remarkable for a hot summer day. My best looks included a hummingbird, several Prairie warblers, a Purple gallinule and a juvenile Little Blue heron.
Further away from home, I got the chance to visit Ft De Soto in St Petersburg for a day to look for warblers. No luck there, as fall migration had barely begun, but I did see Oystercatchers at the beach, small flocks of Nanday (Black-hooded) parakeets on the wires, and large kettles (groups) of Frigatebirds wheeling and circling in the air.
Closer to home, in St Augustine at the St Johns County Agricultural Center, I saw a couple of juvenile birds–Blue-gray gnatcatchers and a Red-shouldered hawk.
And just fifteen minutes from our house I saw two more juvenile birds once again at Hanna Park–a Green heron and one of the Common gallinule fledglings.
I also saw a Forster’s tern in summer dress–full black cap, orangish bill with black tip, and reddish-orange legs.
And got a good look at a Cormorant in the park, along with an Anhinga that surfaced for air.
Finally, in our own back yard I found this juvenile Great-crested flycatcher, possibly the offspring of a pair of adults I heard and saw in the trees on almost a daily basis this summer.
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Phil Graham–Photo Naturalist