Beyond the Backyard

Migrant Birds at Fort De Soto

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Summer Tanager (male)

Two weekends ago I had the most amazing morning photographing the migrant birds at Fort De Soto.  The trees were literally dropping with colorful birds.  Red tanagers, orange orioles, blue buntings and grosbeaks, and warblers everywhere.  It was a birder’s paradise. Good birding isn’t always good for the birds.  Most of these birds spend the winters in South America.  In April, they fly north to their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada.  Many cross the Gulf of Mexico, flying nonstop across the ocean in an incredible journey.  They take advantage of the winds to make their flight easier.  But when they encounter a front, their tail winds suddenly become headwinds, which can be deadly for the birds if they are still over water.  They land as soon as they can in what is called a “fallout.”  Fort De Soto is a place where such fallouts sometimes occur.  It offers the birds land, trees, fresh water, and a food source – mulberries. If you’re like me, you may have visited Fort De Soto several times and never known where the famous “mulberry trees” are.  Well, they are by the ranger’s house.  When you pull into the park, turn right […]

Beyond the Backyard

Updates to my Bird Life List

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Common Eider

I recently dusted off my bird life list, organizing it by species and counting only American Birding Association countable species.  Like most birders, I enjoy keeping track of the birds I’ve seen, but as a bird photographer, I only count the birds that I’ve photographed.  The ABA has documented 976 species in North America.  About 300 of those can be found in my home state of Florida.  I’ve photographed 223 species so far, which is a decent start.  The ABA only counts birds that are native to North American, so some of my birdie friends from the Lake Morton menagerie don’t count! As I went through my list, I realized that I had photographed several species that hadn’t made it to my blog or life list.  So today’s post will include several lifers… My first lifer of the day is a Monk Parakeet, photographed last spring at Brian Piccolo Park.  My neighbors may notice a striking resemblance to their pet bird Pickles!  The Monk Parakeet, also known as a Quaker Parakeet, is an introduced species in Florida.  There are plenty of them living in and around Brian Piccolo. While I was in Maine, I photographed several Black-Throated Green Warblers.  They […]