Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hunting for Birding Treasures on Sanibel Island - Pt 1

Usually a big part of being in the Ft. Myers Beach/Sanibel area is collecting shells on the beach and Monday certainly was the day for that but....

The winds that brought in all the shells on the beach also hijacked some migrating birds and blew them onto Florida's west coast for a "Fallout" where the birds literally fall into the trees in a feeding frenzy after their exhausting flight over the Gulf, blown first north and then east by a rather strong storm that had moved through the area.

It was an opportunity of a lifetime for myself and my sister and her husband.  We had planned on going to Harn's Marsh early Monday morning but Gail checked out the blog of famous birding guide  author, Lillian Stokes and found that this Fallout had occurred the previous day (Sunday) on Sanibel and would be continuing today.  An "executive" decision was made to change plans and head for Sanibel.  The above bird is a Scarlet Tanager -- this one with a berry of some kind.  

Another Scarlet Tanager -- we saw many of these brightly colored birds.  The birds were particularly attracted to the Gumbo Limbo trees which were covered with fruit.  They were constantly coming back to these trees or on the ground beneath them. 

It should be noted that all of these pictures were taken around the Lighthouse which is the southern part of Sanibel and a relatively small area but with paths and a small boardwalk through the woods.  You didn't have to move much as the birds came to you.  They were still small, very active and usually pretty far away so forgive some fuzziness.  We like to take pictures so that we can identify the birds in the leisure of home.

This is a Blue Grosbeak male.  There were a lot of these and this one is sitting in the aforesaid Gumbo Limbo.  The adult males are all deep blue with brownish wings.

This is I believe the female Blue Grosbeak who is a fairly dull brown.

This is a young male Blue Grosbeak -- he isn't totally blue yet but is streaked with white and brown patches.

This is a male Indigo Bunting and their color is stunning -- every shade of blue from aqua to deep royal blue.  They are smaller than the Blue Grosbeaks but have the same kind of squatty bill.
Another Indigo Bunting.

Although I have seen Baltimore Orioles before, I thought these were particularly colorful!
The back view of the Oriole.

Another view of the Oriole.

This is a Summer Tanager which is just scarlet all over unlike his cousin the Scarlet Tanager who has black wings. We saw a lot of these.

To the left is a male Red Breasted Grosbeak and to the right a female Rose Breasted Grosbeak.  Unlike the Blue Grosbeaks, I think the female of this species is as pretty as the male although not as graphic for sure!  She has her berry in this shot!

This is another female Grosbeak .

This is a BlackThroated Green Warbler.  I certainly had never seen this one before.  He was a beautiful bird! 
Here he is taking off! 
Another Black Throated Green Warbler. 
This  is a Yellow Warbler, another new one for me.
Another view of the Yellow Warbler.  This was early in the morning with morning light so they appear a little more orange than in person.

The above two pictures are of the very elusive Yellow Billed Cuckoo.  This was a first for my sister and her "goal" bird for this trip.  We were lucky to get such nice pictures of him.  He sat and posed for some time.

I think this will be continued tomorrow!  We had quite an adventurous day and these were only from my first disk (which I FILLED).


Gail Baker said...

WOW - Your pictures are beautiful. I especially like the Oriole and two Warblers!

Alanna said...

I just happened to stumble upon these pictures - they are lovely. It's amazing what kind of beauty can be found in the world.

John said...

What is truly amazing is the you both know the names of thek birds you're looking at!