Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Bird Walk

Last week we went on a bird walk at the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge. We met at 7:30am and our leader was Rick. There were about 30 people who showed up for this. I found the group extremely welcoming and willing to share their knowledge with a newbie. I learned that when a bird is spotted in a tree, it is better to point to that tree and use clock dial references to help others locate the bird. I also found it extremely helpful when people told me what bird I was seeing and then explaining the characteristics of the bird that makes it easier to identify. Our leader told me that planes were called “Silver bellied gas hawk” which made me laugh! The book that was recommended was The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America by David Allen Sibley. We also saw String Lilies blooming and Beauty Berry bushes with purple berries on them.

Below are the birds that I saw on our walk:
1.     Prairie Warbler
2.     Snail kite
3.     red-bellied woodpecker
4.     Wood stork
5.     Great egret - one bird yellow bill, black leg
6.     Snowy egret - small group, dark bill, yellow feet
7.     Eastern phoebe
8.     Glossy ibis
9.     Tricolored heron - diaper bird
10.  Monk parakeet
11.  Nanday parakeet
12.  Cardinal
13.  Blue jay
14.  Mockingbird
15.  Purple gallinule
16.  Palm warbler - pumps tail
17.  Indigo bunting
18.  Great horned owl
19.  Green heron
20.  Turkey vulture
21.  Northern harrier
22.  Anhinga - flap flap glide
23.  Common gallinule - clown laugh
24.  Black vulture – white on the ends of the wings
25.  Loggerhead shrike  - mask
26.  Pied-billed grebe
27.  Swallow - pointy wings
28.  American kestrel - sparrow hawk
29.  Cattle egret
30.  White ibis
31.  Osprey
32.  Yellow sapsucker woodpecker

Additional birds that others saw:
1.     Northern ruff wing swallows
2.     House wren
3.     Carolina wrens
4.     Blue-gray gnatcatchers
5.     Catbird
6.     Starlings
7.     Red-winged blackbirds
8.     Common grackle
9.     Boat-tail grackle
10.  Black and white warbler
11.  Common yellowthroat warbler
12.  Parula
13.  Yellow-rumped warbler
14.  Indigo bunting
15.  Painted bunting
16.  Limpkins
17.  Cormorant

I’m looking forward to going to other places to see if I can identify the birds using the knowledge that I’ve gotten from this walk. It feels like I’m learning a new language and the way to keep learning is by using what I’ve learned in other situations and practicing often.

This would be fun to do with students but first I need to get better at identifying the birds.

Are you a birder? What advice do you have for a beginning birder? Please share.

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