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A Scouting Trip to PEAR Park

My goldfinches had a problem last weekend.  We were out of niger seed.  And out of millet for my buntings!  Time for a trip to Wild Birds Unlimited, and on my way, I stopped at PEAR Park in Leesburg to check it out.  I’d read that it was good for sparrows.  It was a foggy morning, and I didn’t stay for long, but I will definitely be going back.

Have you ever seen a fog bow?  It’s like a rainbow, but in the fog.  A fog bow greeted me as I drove into PEAR Park.  I took it as a good sign for the birding opportunities to be found there!

Fogbow at PEAR Park
Fogbow at PEAR Park

PEAR Park is pure Florida.  Scrub habitat.  Think bluebirds, kestrels, and sparrows.  I had a great time meandering around.  Best of all, there were so few people there!

Grasshopper Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow

My second Grasshopper Sparrow this month!  Actually, I saw at least three Grasshopper Sparrows.  Not bad, huh?  There were plenty of Savannah Sparrows also.  I know there are Vesper Sparrows there also, but none wanted to pose.

This Swamp Sparrow obliged me by posing in full view, in good light.  I learned the right way to walk the paths during my scouting trip.  It doesn’t pay to walk against the light.  By the time you get on the right light angle, you’ve startled the birds, and they’ve hidden.  :(

Swamp Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow

There were all the normal winter birds at PEAR Park.  Plenty of Eastern Phoebes…

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe

…and I found a couple of singing White-eyed Vireos, too.  You know it’s starting to be spring as you hear the birds starting to sing.  Apparently the birds didn’t get the Groundhog Day memo from Punxsutawney Phil.  It’s an early spring in Florida!

Caw, caw went the crows.

American Crow
American Crow

But the best bird of the morning was also the most cooperative.  This American Kestrel flew in to a nearby tree and let me photograph him.  Repeatedly.

American Kestrel
American Kestrel

The park caretakers told me that they often see bluebirds on the trails.  As if I needed more enticement to go back! :)

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