Saturday, February 1, 2014

Bunche Beach with SanCap Audubon Group

The day started with a very wet pavement and lots of fog as I traveled across the Causeway - today's destination:
Bunche Beach

Bunche Beach Preserve is a 718 acre beach and mangrove forest preserve with a variety of recreational opportunities to enjoy including: Bird watching (YES), Canoe/Kayak, Fishing, Photography, Picnic, Swimming and Sun bathing.

My first greeters today were....a Yellow-rumped Warbler

an Eastern phoebe,

and a Palm Warblers. I also heard Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and caught sight of Common Yellowthroat as well as many Red Cardinals. Some folks saw/heard White-eyed Vireo but were unfortunately not on my radar.

The sun rising amid the fog....soon it will get dissipated....I hoped.

The shorebirds were plentiful and a delight to watch. OOPS, someone mentioned to me today that -The Western is actually a can be easily (sometimes easily) identified when it is next to a Least - the Least being the smallest of the sandpipers with yellowish legs. The Sanderling is an 8" bird but sports black legs.

The Short-billed Dowitchers is an 11" bird with a long, straight bill. Greenish legs, barred on underrump and a strong eye line.

Our group - about 40 people in all.

Check all the happy faces! It doesn't get much better than that.

A Wilson Plover - Size 6.5" - Bill is thick and black.

A Black-bellied Plover ....yes....I did say black. The black belly can be seen during the summer time and it is really black. I always recognize it by its shape and large black beady eyes.

An Osprey putting its feathers back together.

After many sightings and a couple of hours of birding - everyone started to make their way back. This Palm Warbler felt comfortable sitting there while we watched. I love this photo because you can see the whole bird....undertail included.

I decided to continue to the opposite side of the beach to see if I could find the Curlew.

The boat traffic was starting to pick up and the Great Blue Heron was making sure that all was in order.

More shorebirds - I hope that I've identified the Dunlin properly....I've been known to make a mistake or two.

Check the hairdo!

Reddish Egret - put back together....but there is nothing ordinary about this beautiful bird.

A Belted Kingfisher - heard before it was seen.

So, this is where the Marbled Godwits were! They are often found where we were earlier.

The birds are resting while enjoying the view of Fort Myers Beach.

And there it was! The Long-billed Curlew. When I looked at my photos, I started to second-guess myself and wondered if I was looking at a Whimbrel, so I pulled out my books....I scratched my head and searched some more - I e-mailed a few folks whom I trust and which I had their e-mail address and it was C. Ewell who replied first and confirmed my sighting - thanks Charlie.

His comments were:  A Whimbrel wouldn't
have the amount of buff coloration that this bird shows in the back and
sides.  If you can say it gives you the impression of having that color
tone, you can eliminate Whimbrel.  I like to think Whimbrel is browner in
the true sense of brown, not the reddish brown that LB Curlew is moving
towards.  Also less white spotting in the back feathers usually.  While that
bird being a male has a short bill for a LB Curlew, still too long for a
Whimbrel.  Also, a Whimbrel would have more of a medial crown strip showing
in the center of the cap.  This bird shows a very indistinct (if at all)
line there. And there is a great explanation and description.

A Snowy Egret was busy washing its yellow slippers.

Another nice bunch - all getting along and sharing beautiful waterfront property.

The Curlew trying to be left alone....but the Willet kept at it.

The Black Skimmers decided that this side of the beach was looking here they come.

Getting ready for a landing.

Looks like there is plenty of room for everyone....Marbled Godwits, Black Skimmers, Willets and Short-billed Dowitchers.

The tide was coming in and it was getting too deep for the Willets and, off they went.

Thank you for making my day - The Long-billed Curlew is my #210 bird on my life list :).

The Raccoon thanked me for coming and said: "Come back soon".
A great birding day with the SanCap Audubon Group today....well, any day birding makes for a great day. My E-Bird list for today

1 comment:

  1. Great collection of birds and photos. Looks like another great outing. The Curlew would be one of my favorite sightings. Have a great day and happy birding!