Orlando Final Week

Post interesting sightings here - note: Do NOT post grid references for breeding birds - thank you.

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Imber Eye
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 8:08 am
Location: Potterne

Orlando Final Week

Postby Imber Eye » Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:24 pm

The tour of duty is nearly over and this is my final report from Orlando. Allegedly this is it and I will not be back here on duty but never say never as there are a few months left before we go live across the MoD. The question is what do I include in this report. First a few hints on getting about in central Florida. Everywhere is a long way to go however the roads go direct; there is no ancient way to follow that twists and turns. Here it is point the bulldozer in a direction and off it goes. To that end speed limits are advisory, indicators are optional and to make sure you are seen by the driver in front keep real close so you fill the rear view mirror. One final aspect is that it is nearly compulsory to drive with a mobile phone in one hand either for talking or texting. Next I would like to make some comments on habitat. One swamp is the same as another swamp. One oak hammock is the same as another; are you getting my drift? Central Florida is a mix of swamp, lakes, trees and concrete. No matter which park, wildlife management area or reserve you go to they all look the same. That stated it was good to travel around as I can state that one part looks like another part no matter where you go: I have been to Hicksville. My final point is the weather. Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun. I would like to re-phrase that as mad dogs do not leave the air-conditioning; no-one does if they have any sense. Summer in Florida is not the time to go bird watching. The ideal time is March. Migration is in full swing and you will get a mix of local birds, those that have wintered in the sun and those escaping the heat and humidity to come. In summer by 0800 hrs it is so hot and humid that I started to impersonate a fountain. Everywhere I went I took a cool box with lots of ice around bottles of water and cans of soda. They were a life saver. With the heat comes a difficulty in spotting birds never mind having to re-condition optics on the way to the site. All the small birds fly from the central shade of one tree or bush to the central area of another tree or bush. Therefore it takes time and perseverance to hunt them down never mind getting a chance to photograph them. They hardly make a call and so many are similar in their calling and the massive number of Mockingbirds does not help either. What seems a great area seems dead on arrival and often is! Florida is not Texas for species numbers however it does have a well developed and signed bird trail. There are brown signs on the roads to help you get to a site.

Now you want to know whether I cracked 100 species which is a day’s work in UK. I did add to my tally over the weekend with a tanager and two warblers. My total for 8 weeks is therefore 94 species seen/heard. Of course I learnt at the end that a colleague of one the Vice Presidents here owns an eco-estate and the next time I come out will link me up. This is my last visit; how about linking me now and we all take a day off work! Sadly the work ethic here does not allow social life or hobbies. I have only had 50 hour weeks unlike the contractor staff who have been working 80 -90 hour weeks. My enthusiasm for birding has rubbed off on a few people and it would have been nice to go out birding together. Anyway 94 species is a very good total given that it is summer; well I think so. Finally I have an acknowledgement to David Sibley and his guide to Birds of Eastern America; it has gone with me everywhere. Just one more thing; air-conditioning is a brilliant invention.

Species List
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
Double Crested Cormorant Phalactocorax carbo
American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Great Egret Ardea alba
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Tricloured Heron Egretta triclor
Cattle Egret Bubulucus ibis
Green Heron Butorides virescens
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
White Ibis Plegadis albus
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
Wood Stork Mycteria americana
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
Wood Duck Aix sponsa
Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Carthartes aura
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway
Wild Turkey Maleagris gallopavo
Northern Bobwhite (h) Colinus virginianus
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica
American Coot Fulica americana
Limpkin Aramus guarauna
Whooping Crane Grus americana
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Royal Tern Sterna maxima
Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri
Least Tern Sterna antillarum
Black Skimmer Rynchops niger
Feral Pigeon Columba livia
Mourning Dove Zeaida macroura
Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaoto
Eastern Screech Owl Otus asio
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
Barred Owl Strix varia
Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris
Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocpus pileatus
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus
Gray Kingbird Tyrannus dominicensus
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus
Blue Jay Cyanocitta critata
Florida Scub-jay Apkelocoma coerulescens
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stegidpteryx serripennis
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
Pine Warbler Dendroica pinus
Yellow-throated Warbler Dendroica dominica
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Bachman's Sparrow (h) Aimophila aestivalis
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Common Crackle Quiscalus quiscula
Boat-tailed Crackle Quiscalus major
House Sparrow Passer domesticus

roger dickey
Posts: 100
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 pm
Location: Somerton, Somerset


Postby roger dickey » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:17 pm


Thanks for some great reports and adding colour to the location.

You have done for Florida what Katrina did for Louisiana, but with less wind. Brilliant.

See you for the GBBF!


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