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Monday, April 28, 2014

Cape May Warblers coming your way!

These Cape May Warbler males have migrated through south Florida and are on their way to their northern breeding grounds in Canada and the very northernmost part of the eastern half of U.S. Soon you will be seeing them coming through warbler hotspots near you. Such a beautiful warbler, we wish them safe journey and a good breeding season.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Blackpoll, Prothonotary Warblers.

Blackpoll Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

This Tennessee Warbler was eating fruits.

Prothonotary Warbler

Seen over the last two days at the Sanibel Lighthouse, Sanibel, FL, these migrant warblers had stopped to rest before continuing on their migration journey. Most were seen at the picnic area on the right at the entrance to the parking lot.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blue-winged Warbler with Prize!

Blue-winged Warbler, male, migrant at Sanibel Lighthouse, grabs a caterpillar and flies away. Cool underside pattern!

Blackpoll Warbler Migration Underway, Sanibel, FL

Blackpoll Warbler, male

migrant arrived at the Sanibel Lighthouse

and helped himself to a well-earned meal, having come all the way from South America where he wintered!

Yesterday and the day before we saw migrant Blackpoll Warblers arriving at the Sanibel Lighthouse park, Sanibel, FL. This bird is a male and he looks like a cross between a chickadee and a Black-and-white Warbler! These birds breed in the northern boreal forest then fly all the way to South America to spend the winter. In winter Blackpoll Warblers look nothing like this and are streaked olive-green above with pale yellow or whitish underparts with indistinct olive streaking on flanks, white undertail coverts and dark or pink-sided legs and always yellow soles of feet. Yes, you can see the yellow soles of their feet if you look! See our The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America for complete photos and ID information.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Black-billed Cuckoo, Sanibel Lighthouse park, FL a Wow Migrant for here!

Black-billed Cuckoo

There are slender white tail markings, very different than the bold white tail spots of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

Birders went cuckoo today over the sighting of a migrant Black-billed Cuckoo at the Sanibel Lighthouse park, Sanibel, FL. This is a rare bird for here and many birders and tourists lined up to get a view or photograph while keeping a respectful distance from the bird. The cuckoo put on a show and posed in the shrubs, a few times going down into the grass to grab a small lizard for a snack. 
We see Black-billed Cuckoos on our NH property although not very frequently. Here in Sanibel, where they have Mangrove Cuckoos in Ding Darling NWR, and Yellow-billed Cuckoos as migrants, the Black-billed Cuckoo is the one that steals the show.

Blue-Winged Warbler, Common Nighthawk and More Migrants, Sanibel Lighthouse

Blue-winged Warbler

Common Nighthawk

Yesterday this beautiful Blue-winged Warbler was among the migrant birds landing at the Sanibel Lighthouse, Sanibel, FL and thrilling birders. The Common Nighthawk was resting on a branch of a tree. Storms out in the Gulf of Mexico and north of us made it a wise choice for these migrants to land, rest and feed. We also saw Blackburnian, Worm-eating, Prairie, Palm, and Cape May Warblers and Common Yellowthroat, Eastern and Gray Kingbirds, Indigo Buntings, Orchard Orioles, and, at dusk, many hundreds of Barn Swallows and some Northern Rough-winged, Cliff, and Bank Swallows staged at the lighthouse and some began moving to the mainland, awesome sight!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tennessee and Blackburnian Warblers, Sanibel Lighthouse Today.

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

These  showed up today at the Sanibel Lighthouse Park, Sanibel, FL, migrants who crossed the Gulf of Mexico! The Tennessee was eating the fruits of the fig trees there. Birders were thrilled with the beauty of the Blackburnian.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Indigo Bunting Fallout, Sanibel, FL

Indigo Bunting, male

feasting on fig fruits

 Indigo Bunting, female, she needs a napkin

When the light shines a certain way, the blue is electric

They were all over the ground also. How many buntings can you find in the photo?

Birders looking up at the native plantings at the Sanibel Lighthouse.

There were also Blue Grosbeaks, another blue bird but they are larger than the indigos and have rust colored wing bars.

Here a male (r.) and female (l.) Blue Grosbeak who have just crossed the Gulf of Mexico and landed in the sea oat grasses at the edge of the beach. A big congratulations to them for making it!

Everywhere you looked there were beautiful, blue, Indigo Buntings at Sanibel Lighthouse park, Sanibel FL. Hundreds of them had come in off the Gulf of Mexico that they have just migrated across. Landing on the ground and in the fig trees the hungry migrants devoured the fruits and seeds. Blue fallout, a birders dream!
In addition to the buntings we also saw Blue Grosbeaks, orioles, kingbirds, warblers, swallows and more. Migration has been great and more is to come.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Worm-eating Warbler Migrant, cool bird!

Just saw this Worm-eating Warbler migrant on Sanibel Island, FL. It eats mainly caterpillars "worms" from dead leaves during wintering and from live foliage during breeding. It breeds in the East in forests with dense shrubby understory and nests on the ground. It is a more unusual migrant here, we do not see many of them, so seeing this one was very special.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cerulean Warbler, Sanibel, FL a Wow MIgrant!

Cerulean Warbler, male, migrant on Sanibel Island this afternoon. I was lucky to get any photos as this is a treetop warbler.

He stayed high in the trees and mostly this is the view birders got.

Or this view of the underside.

Cerulean Warblers are not commonly seen here on Sanibel. They winter in South America, so this bird had flown quite some distance. They breed mainly in the middle of the eastern part of the U.S. in tall deciduous trees with open understory, eating insects they glean from leaves. Ceruleans are a species of high concern in the East, due to its small population size. It is being considered for becoming listed as an Endangered Species. We feel lucky to have seen it.

More Spring Migrants, Sanibel Lighthouse, FL, Buntings, Orioles, Kingbirds!

Indigo Bunting, male in Gumbo Limbo tree.

Palm Warbler in Florida-privet shrub

Western Kingbird 

Gray Kingbird, look how big the head and bill are!

Birders from Canada; Sarah, Kory and baby Emily Renaud and Jeremy Bensette.

Orchard Oriole, male hiding in fig tree

Orchard Oriole, 1st yr. male, in fig tree.

Birds keep coming into the Sanibel Lighthouse park, Sanibel, FL. It is so rewarding to see these hungry migrants, many of whom have just successfully crossed the Gulf of Mexico, find food and shelter in the many native trees and shrubs planted in the park. So many birders show up to see these wonderful birds, including the group of birders, pictured above, who live near Point Pelee Canada and who were seeing many life birds! Such fun to meet newest birder, baby Emily, who was being introduced to birding! The social scene is as fun as the biding!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Migrants Sanibel, FL, KIngbirds, Buntings, Warblers

Prothonotary Warbler

Indigo Bunting

Eastern Kingbird

More migrants coming through Sanibel Lighthouse, FL today. Prothonotary Warblers, Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, Orchard Orioles, Tennessee Warblers, Eastern Kingbirds and more. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Summer Tanager and More Migrants in Florida

Summer Tanager, male

White-winged Dove

Just saw this beautiful male Summer Tanager migrant at the Sanibel Lighthouse, Sanibel, FL this morning. We also saw this White-winged Dove and many Eastern Kingbirds, Orchard Orioles, Hooded Warblers, Indigo Buntings and more. Migration madness is beginning.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Migration, Sanibel Lighthouse, FL Today!

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Blue Grosbeak

Hooded Warbler

The migrants are arriving! Strong NW winds after storms yesterday grounded some of these neotropical migrants at the Sanibel Lighthouse park, Sanibel FL, this morning and lots of birders got to see beautiful birds, including the above plus hummingbirds, vireos, kingbirds, tanagers, buntings and more. These birds found food and water at the park and will refuel and continue their journey north. Many more waves of migrants are still to come.