Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fully Warblered

This Worm-eating Warbler was working on an insect on the other side of the leaf. It appears that the warbler removed the leaf and wedged it in the bark of the branch, which is pretty wild and crazy. Key West Botanical Gardens, Stock Island, FL.

I didn't see any mythical fallout events in South Florida, but I did pretty good with migrants on my trip. 24 warbler species were more than I hoped for, with a lot of those being year birds. I ran into good flocks at Zachary Taylor State Park, Indigenous Park, the botanical gardens, and of course on the Dry Tortugas, where birding reached a crescendo. Dipped on Cape May and Kentucky, but I am in no position to complain. Again, for any birders who have not had the fortune of birding the east coast during migration...you are really missing out. Landbird migration is significantly more pronounced than it is in the west, and an average-sized (for an easterner) accumulation of migrants can seem staggering to a westerner.

For northeastern birders, good luck with "storm waifs" this week, but of course staying safe and making good decisions takes precedence. A birder I knew lost his life while seawatching on a jetty, and that wasn't even in a hurricane...don't do anything stupid!

Worm-eating Warbler. Looking inside dead leaves is more of their thing...I kind of like this weird perspective. Key West Botanical Gardens.

Palm Warblers were literally everywhere. The amount of tail-wagging I witnessed was mesmerizing. Little Hamaca City Park, Key West, FL.

Ah, the Ovenbird. I would say that this is one of the best warblers, given their stylish strut, thrussish markings and unmistakable attempts to summon the attention of nearby teachers. Indigenous Park, Key West, FL.

My best herp siting of the trip was this Florida Box Turtle that was scuffling through the leaf litter, which is what they spend most of their lives doing. I dig the carapace markings. Thanks to JK of Camera Trapping Campus for providing the correct identification. Key West Botanical Gardens.

I don't know what this is, but I like it. Key West Botanical Gardens.

Northern Parulas were plentiful. Looking at too many may cause the pupils to dilate...so I recommend welder's goggles to shield yourself from harmful parula-watching effects. Key West Botanical Gardens.

I only saw a handful of Red-eyed Vireos, I reckon most of them probably move through a little earlier in the fall. Key West Botanical Gardens.

You don't have to be the Number 7 birder in the nation to know that Prairie Warblers are not hard to come by in South Florida. They are very sharp birds, and one of the few year round resident warblers. Key West Botanical Gardens.

Brown Anole. It's no doubt bummed that it's replacement tail growing in makes it look like it is perpetually pooping. Key West Cemetery, Key West, FL.

Yet another sunset picture, which is further evidence that this was not a birding vacation. I enjoyed this birdless sunset very much. I swear.


  1. gahhh, shut up! these are awesome, but my jealousy level is a little extreme right now, i need to leave.

    1. Do your homework and I will stop looking at birds

  2. I am no expert on Eastern herps but that doesn't look like any old Eastern Box Turtle to me. That looks like the Florida Box Turtle, a subspecies of the Eastern T.c.bauri

    This subspecies in nearly endemic to Florida. So even cooler man.

    Looks fairly similar to an ornate box turtle (your post tag),, but carapace pattern is slightly different. Also way out of range so would have to be an escaped pet, but don't discount that in Florida. The eye iris is also dark rather than light or red which should eliminate ornate and suggests one of the Eastern subspecies.

    1. Thanks for the info, very helpful. Will update.

  3. Oh ho very nice!

    I appreciate the tasteful censorship with the leaf in the first picture too. Worm-eating Warblers are such meticulous masticators.

    I have to whole-heartedly agree with your praise and ranking of the Ovenbird too. I've only seen them twice, but they were totally stunning, charming, and, yes, very pro-teacher (so there's a professional connection). It's nice to hear a high-ranking birder shogun saying as such, gives the Ovenbird boosters some credence.

    Looking forward to the Dry Tortugas and an update on your campaign against Bostick.

    1. Even I am looking forward to seeing a Tortugas post...so stoked to have made it there finally.

    2. Were they called the Dry Tortugas because Rum/Alcohol there was banned at one point or somethin?

      It is a crime and an outrage that a storm/hurricane named Sandy isn't bringing birds to the desert.

  4. eep! What a tasty review! And I think the ovenbird must have in its contract SOMEwhere that it will always be in fabulous light. LORD, that's a beautiful, glowing bird.

    Poor little anole. However, better one's tail than everything but (no pun intended). A small fence lizard living dangerously among my chickens (in the spaces between the boards, etc.) finally fell at the wrong time today and BAM! My largest hen had him/her in her beak instantly and skulked off to wolf it down in peace. I looked down at where the lizard had fallen, and there was a wee, slender brown tail, twitching in vain. Probably not the plan.