Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ospreys, Flycatchers With Forked Tails, and The Manatee Inhales

Good day to you birders. How have you been handling November? Hopefully you are getting sparrowed enough to properly cope with SWAD (Seasonal Warbler Affective Disorder, which seems to only strike birders). Of course, some places are stiill blessed with some warbler diversity, but most of us are drowning in the brown/gray/white sea of Yellow-rumped Warblers that has flooded much of the United States. 

Attempting to escape SWAD, I have been birding a bit last year bird was a Harris' Sparrow, which I finally nailed on my third inspiring Zonotrichia to be to follow.

I rewatched The Big Year with Booby Brittany last night, so she could potentially understand my addiction better. Well, as Bostick puts it...its more of a "calling". If you are a birder (or just have the shame of personally knowing one), it's worth watching, although its leaves a lot to be desired. Still waiting, as always, for the Christopher Guest movie.

Right. Here is the last of the Everglades shots.

Florida is blessed with a plethora of Osprey. Flamingo, in Everglades National Park, is a great place to watch them close up.

Ospreys rank in the top 10 species that nonbirders ask me about. This is one of the few relatively noticeable birds someone will notice on a drunken river trip.

Ospreys lack the humungo feet of eagles, but look at the length of those talons! Who knows how many fish have met their fate in the grips of this bird.

Less than a mile outside Everglades National Park, I looked up and saw a couple Scissor-tailed Flycatchers (year bird) perched on the power lines. This is a young bird, lacking the insanely long tail feathers of an adult, but an adrenaline-producing site nonetheless.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is a rare but regular visitor (even uncommon?) to south Florida. I also saw one in the Everglades on my previous trip, so it seems to be a good place to find them.

Perched with the Scissor-tails was a Gray Kingbird, which seemed quite late to be remaining in Florida (this was on October 16). Note the deeply-forked tail and excessive drabness. They do have a red crown, but they keep it well-hidden most of the time.

Just the slightest tinge of yellow on the underwing.

I was pretty pleased to run into this bird. I can now claim that I have seen three (3) Gray Kingbirds...this is a great number, because I expected to come back with none at all.

Although the water is murky, manatees are easy to spot at the Flamingo marina. These amazing, incredibly fat creatures are unwary of people can stand right above them on the docks. A tiny calf was among the adults while I was there.

A young Green Heron borrows a pose from the bitterns.

The Everglades are not a "must" for birders (unless you are crazy enough to look for flamingos), but they have many area specialties and are definitely worth checking out.  Hopefully, I will have the sense to go during the dry season next time.


  1. I was wondering if there was a yellow rumped and pine explosion this year or was it my imagination. I think there's more of them than mosquitos right now.

    Nice catch on that osprey. I hear the glades gets really crowded late winter/early spring. One of these days I'm going to make it down there.

  2. Yellow-rumps are abundant every winter here in the west...can't say I know about how abundant they are in your neck of the woods though. Send some of those excess Pine Warblers this way please, thats a hard bird to find in California.

  3. I am embarrassed that before I read the caption I could not actually figure out what that manatee was.

    Speaking of the The Big Year, how's the competition with Bostick going??

    1. I am up on Bostick by about 30 birds or so...the Florida trip gave me a huge advantage. Bostick was stuck counting raptors in Oregon for the fall so he has gotten very few year birds lately, although post-Florida I have managed all of 2 new birds for the year (Tropical Kingbird and Harris' Sparrow). Things are looking up for me, as long as he doesn't suddenly take a trip to someplace with weird birds, which he is prone (and can afford) to do.

    2. Ooh sweet! Hopefully moneybags doesn't pull any last second shenanigans.