Wednesday, January 27, 2010


When folks return from trips, I always ask what was the best bird they saw.  In January 2010, Erika and I traveled to Florida, where friends invited us to spend two weeks at their condo on Sanibel Island.  We had a wonderful trip, adding about 120 species to my 2010 bird list.  Ever since Audubon's time, Florida has been famous for the tameness of its birds.  There are fewer birds in Florida now, but many of them are remarkably tame--a bonanza for a photographer.  My ever-growing Picasa site,, has many of the pictures we took.

So what was my favorite bird?  Has to be the Florida Scrub Jay, since this was my 713th "North American" bird sighting.  (North American is in quotes since I count my North American birds wherever I see them, even outside the continent.)  We found the Florida Scrub Jay in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, just north of Cape Canaveral.  We had unsuccessfully searched for the jay for a day and a half, when Erika suggested we try the "Scrub Jay Trail."  "Unlikely," I replied, "How can they know there will be Jays down that particular trail?"  But, sure enough, at the far point along the trail, this Florida Scrub Jay tamely awaited us.

Erika's favorite bird is probably the Limpkin, found by some local birders for us.  They took us right to the spot, just east of Fort Myers, and there they were, three of them.  We walked for about an hour, but upon our return the Limkins were nowhere to be found (although we did hear them wail from the swamp).  The Limpkin is a bird we first found in Ecuador, so it was not new for our list, but this was our first North American sighting.

We missed seeing any Sail Kites.  This species apparently disappeared from the Fort Myers region just before the recent Florida freeze.  Nobody knows exactly why.  The kite was common enough in early December.

1 comment:

  1. My mom and I were in Florida the week of the "freeze". We were birding all around Fort Myers. We 'only' saw 123 different birds. The wind was blowing so hard most days that it was hard to enjoy being out and about. Shore birding was so difficult. We did see the Limpkin with babies! and the scrub jay. But no snail kite, either. We usually log closer to 200 birds on our trips.