|Great Horned Owl having lunch.|
No, not as a child ... I was spoiled as a birder. You see, shortly after I became a birder I was present at an incredible fallout of spring migrants in Cedar Key. It started with several species of swallows, and Rex Rowan, the trip leader saying, "This could be a good sign." We had warblers crowding the trees at the Shell Mound Campgrounds. We couldn't get to our parking space at the cemetery because of the warblers hanging from the trees along the entrance road. There was a Blackpoll here, a Chestnut-sided there, a Magnolia in the next tree north, a Prothonotary in the next tree west, and Black-throated Blues and Greens everywhere. There were three thrush species in one corner of the cemetery. There were Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, Summer and Scarlet Tanagers, and Rose-breasted and Blue Grosbeaks all in the same loquat tree. I had two dozen lifers that day; a day unlike any I have had since then.
This year, my first year of retirement, I've searched for migrating warblers more often than in several previous years combined. At first I had no success at all, but gradually I've seen a few good birds here and there. The numbers are still low, but this week brought some encouragement. I made three different trips to Cedar Key on April 14, 15 and 17 and led a field trip today, April 20. Taken together, it wasn't a bad tally.
We went back the next day hoping the trend would continue. It did, but in small numbers. We found a Swainson's Thrush; some Tennessee, Black-and-white and Prairie Warblers; several Indigo Buntings and a few Blue Grosbeaks. We got a great look at a Great Horned Owl that was lunching on something ... maybe a possum ... high in a pine while a chorus of crows squawked at it. Later we added a fabulous male American Redstart and finally what I'm certain was a Broad-winged Hawk.
|Cape May Warbler|
On each of the day we saw between 40 and 45 species. A master list would show a total of about 70 species across the three days including about a dozen warbler species. Not a fallout for sure, but the numbers don't lie. Migration season is in full swing. So I'm off to Cedar Key again tomorrow morning. Maybe I'll find another fallout!
|The first bird photo with my new camera!|
|The view from the back porch at Kona Joe's|