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a very birdy morning

2003-04-09 - 11:35 a.m.

An early morning visit from 7-9 P.M. at Fontainebleau State Park. The weather was unusually cold for this time of year and rather breezy. There were lots of somehow hidden birds loudly singing and lots of "unidentifieds," including a small flock of ducks, several warblers (one of which may have had yellow on its head), and a completely unidentified LBJ* that didn't seem to be a warbler but didn't seem to be anything else I could think of at that moment.

Notables: The surprisingly noisy copulation of the Boat-Tailed Grackle. Fortunately, the female was already crouched and ready, with lifted tail, when he stopped talking and started doing, because he managed to stay aboard an astoundingly brief period of time. I checked the Loggerhead Shrike nest, which at first I thought was empty. However, when I walked away, a parent bird suddenly emerged, perhaps no longer feeling the need to stay hunkered down, and the babies made their presence known with outraged complaints. A flock of White Pelicans (migrants?), a Northern Harrier being harrassed by a Grackle, a fully adult Bald Eagle soaring lazily in all its splendor. There were mixed species clouds of Swallows, mostly Barn Swallows but including Tree Swallows, that surrounded me at times -- not quite enough to be a true tornado but impressive nonetheless when birds swooped and dived almost close enough to touch.

Note: All birds were seen in Fontainebleau, except the Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, which was seen near the entrance to the Nature Center boardwalk. Unfortunately, I couldn't progress very far on this trail, because the storm had brought down a great many trees, including at least one large oak. This is bad news for the Bird Fest, which starts tomorrow, because it won't be humanly possible to get those trees moved and the path open again before the Fest.

  1. Common Loon -- it seemed to be in the process of molting into its breeding plumage
  2. White Pelican
  3. Brown Pelican
  4. Double-Crested Cormorant
  5. Little Blue Heron -- blue phase
  6. Great Blue Heron
  7. Snowy Egret
  8. Great Egret
  9. Blue-Winged Teal
  10. Northern Harrier - brown immature/female
  11. Bald Eagle
  12. American Coot
  13. Common Moorhen
  14. Killdeer, heard
  15. Solitary Sandpiper -- not on the official Fontainebleau bird list, but neither is Brown Pelican!
  16. Laughing Gull
  17. Forster's Tern
  18. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  19. Eastern Kingbird
  20. Barn Swallow
  21. Tree Swallow
  22. American Crow
  23. Fish Crow -- both crow species "spoke," making ID easy
  24. Blue Jay
  25. Carolina Chickadee, heard
  26. Tufted Titmouse
  27. Sedge Wren -- sheesh, this bird is fast, but there were a lot of them to check for the absence of "eyebrows," may have seen a Marsh Wren as well but I'm not sure enough to feel comfortable counting it
  28. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
  29. Northern Mockingbird
  30. Loggerhead Shrike -- with active nest
  31. Yellow-Rumped Warbler -- "myrtle"
  32. Northern Cardinal
  33. Red-Winged Blackbird
  34. Common Grackle
  35. Boat-Tailed Grackle -- brown eyed "Gulf Coast" type, male "singing" and then copulating with willing female
Hummingbird Report: Not sure if I have more male Ruby-Throats passing through or the same male returning to the feeder at intervals.

A broccoli and cheese baked potato and mug of hot chocolate later

This is funny. The female Northern Cardinal perched on top of the Carolina Chickadee house, and an adult Chickadee pecked her on the back and chased her off post-haste.

*Little Brown Job.

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