Did you miss Me? I’ve been birding.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

We’ve been taking one big birding trip every year. A trip where we actually fly away from Wisconsin and try to find some birds that we would never see here in the Midwest. It’s fun, it is usually warmer and we get to expand our life list. One of the other people on this trip (obviously a beginner) asked what a life list is, so for the rest of you newbies, this is the list of all the birds you have seen for the first time. According to Audubon there are more than 800 species in the US, 654 are native to the United States. In 1998, Sandy Komito, set the current record of 745 species seen in one year. A man named Neil Hayward may have beat that record in 2013 with 747 birds, but his list is still being verified. My personal life list is about 420 but I’ve been working at it for 30 years.

Our previous trips have taken us to Southern Arizona, Southern Texas (Brownsville area), the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Magee Marsh and South Bass Island in Ohio so this year we picked Florida to get some birds and some warm weather. We were right about the birds but not the weather. Don’t get me wrong, it was warmer than Wisconsin but mostly upper 60’s and rainy. However the birds totally made up for the weather. So let me give you some highlights with a few of the pictures we managed to get.

This is the migration and breeding season in Florida so a lot is going on. The birds are either putting on a show to get a little action…

egret

Great White Egret displaying for the gals.

brpelican

Brown Pelicans: the left is in breeding plumage

or they are hiding out, guarding a nest or feeding young.

Can you see see the Black-crowned Night Heron?

Can you see the Black-crowned Night Heron?

A zoom lens was necessary to pick this Green Heron out of the reeds

A zoom lens was necessary to pick this Green Heron out of the reeds

The Nanday Parakeet blends in very well.

The Nanday Parakeet blends in very well. This guy was about 30 feet up.

A Limpkin w/ a snail. He was a long way off and behind tall grass.

A Limpkin w/ a snail. He was a long way off and behind tall grass.

I really had to zoom to get that last picture above. He was a long way off and behind grass. I cropped the heck out of the picture so you could see this interesting bird. Click on the picture to enlarge, it looks very painterly.

There were even some star-crossed lovers. Who am I to judge?

White Pelican & Double crested Cormorant

White Pelican & Double crested Cormorant

All in all it was a great trip. It finally got into the lower 70’s by the end of the week and the sun appeared on the day we left. Florida is a nice place to visit and out of the 120 species we saw, 10 of those were life birds for us. But I would never live there because even warm weather can’t make up for fire ants, snakes and these guys.

Taken from a bridge and I did not zoom in very much, he was big.

Taken from a bridge and I did not zoom in very much, he was big.

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6 thoughts on “Did you miss Me? I’ve been birding.

  1. Loved the pictures….chilly or not, it was a worthwhile trip. Turkey Vulture sailed overhead yesterday as I was coming from the office. He/theyshe are around every year in this area.
    .

  2. Cool! Did you get to Corkscrew Swamp in the Everglades?It was the best birding trip I’ve been on (for an amateur like me). Looks like you guys had fun 🙂

  3. You saw some beauties! I like your “who am I to judge” comment–and I’m with you on not wanting to live where snakes and gators call home. Welcome back!

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