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Gavin Bieber just finished up a very enjoyable winter Florida tour

January 25: Gavin Bieber just finished up a very enjoyable winter Florida tour

We began our winter Florida tour this year in Orlando, which allowed us access to the central and northern parts of the state which our normal spring tour doesn’t cover.  On the famous Space Coast we connected with out of range Black-headed Gull and Cinnamon Teal, and enjoyed our first views of such iconic Florida species as Wood Stork and American Alligator.

A day trip up around Gainesville produced absolutely phenomenal views of an unusually cooperative Henslow’s Sparrow as well as close views of hunting Snail Kites, brassy coloured Fulvous Whistling Ducks and a seemingly inexhaustible number of Palm Warblers

On the drive down to Fort Myers we cut through the middle of the state and were successful at tracking down a pair of stately Whooping Cranes, as well as this handsome Crested Caracara.  This Painted Bunting and several Short-tailed Hawks put on a show in the Fort Myers area as well. Enroute to the deep south of the state we stopped in near the south end of Lake Okeechobee to look at a few Tricoloured Munias that seem to be nesting in the thick grasses that ring the lakeshore.

For the final leg of the trip we birded around the Everglades National Park and suburban Miami, where we finally had warm enough weather for a few lively insects like this handsome Halloween Pennant, as well as some decidedly tropical looking birds like Purple Gallinule and the introduced Red-whiskered Bulbul.

We covered quite a bit of ground during the week, seeing a wide array of Florida’s habitats and birds; 182 species to be exact.  As always, Florida isn’t just about the birds, and this year we enjoyed excellent views of American Alligator, a distant frolicking pair of River Otter, lots of introduced but colourful lizards, a good number of butterflies (thanks Greg Greene), odonates and even a few fish!  It was a welcome respite from the cold grey winter that gripped much of the country! 

Black-headed Gull

Cinnamon Teal

Wood Stork

American Alligator

Henslow’s Sparrow

Snail Kite

Fulvous Whistling Duck

Palm Warbler

Whooping Crane

Crested Caracara

Painted Bunting

Short-tailed Hawk

Tricoloured Munia

Halloween Pennant

Purple Gallinule

Red-whiskered Bulbul

Posted: January 25, 2022