March 26, 2020

FJ4 - Collier County Excursion

On March 25th, 2020 I went on a birding trip for 90 minutes. I was in Naples, Florida and began observations at 5:18pm EST. The weather was partly cloudy, breezy, humid, and the temperature was ~84 degrees Fahrenheit. The surrounding habitat was man-made as I was in a gated community sitting on a bench near one of the many retention ponds. There were a few tall trees (i.e. palm trees), shorter brush bushes, and smaller shrubby bushes. There were many houses around, groomed landscapes, roads, and sidewalks. Human activity was present in every direction of this area.

Sadly, there were not many birds to see during my time outside. I was not able to witness much interaction between birds. The one interaction I saw were between 4 birds of the same species (was not able to identify). These birds seemed to be "chasing" each other around in a playful manner. They were making calls during this time to which I assumed was a sort of "come and get me" call, or some sort of playful communication. Another assumption is that they were foraging in a group and using their calls to signal about food availability.

The bird I spent the most time observing was the Snowy Egret. This bird was by himself on the shore of the retention pond. His (assuming it was male) plumage was all white. I assume the color white is preference due to the scorching sun and the white may deflect some of the heat. When he first landed he stood still in the same spot for about fifteen minutes. I think this was to scope out the area and check for any predators. After this he browsed the edges of the pond to forage for small water animals/insects. His movements were slow and stealthy, but moved quick when chasing something. Since it was close to sunset I believe this birds daily circadian rhythm was influencing the foraging behavior.

The last birds I saw today were two male Red-bellied Woodpecker's. These two birds flew into the same tree but kept distance between them. They moved around the branches "inspecting" different parts of the tree. They did not make any vocalizations. After about twenty minutes these two left the tree and I can only assume followed one another to another tree to investigate.

Overall this was an interesting excursion due to the fact I was watching birds that are native to a state across the country from Vermont. It was interesting to see species similar to ones in Vermont (woodpecker) and ones not found anywhere close to Vermont (Egret). I developed many questions about bird behavior and weather. The local birds here only encounter warm weather, so I wonder how this contrasts with bird behavior up north. If it wasn't for mandatory quarantine I would love to explore the Everglades here in Florida and all the birds that inhabit the area.

Posted on March 26, 2020 01:48 by aalderman aalderman | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 20, 2020

Oakledge Park Excursion

On February 17th, between the times of 1500-1630 hours I observed a few birds while sitting at Oakledge Park in South Burlington, Vermont. It was a sunny day with no clouds, around 24 degrees Fahrenheit. I walked into a small wooded corridor that boarders Lake Champlain. I believe there were mostly small hemlock or cedar trees with a few large Oak trees. It was not densely forested with multiple feet between each tree. It was very quiet on this day with only the sounds of the Lake and the few people roaming the area.
The fist pair of birds I observed were two Canadian Geese flying over the water and then off into the distance. They were rapidly flapping their wings with no observable rests between each stroke. Their wings were somewhat long and narrow but also had width. Since these birds migrate they need this shape of wing to enable them to fly long distances, with good speed, at a time.
The second bird I witnessed was an American Crow. I only caught a quick glimpse and was not able to make out wing shape or flight patterns. I confirmed it was this species based off of its distinct call, which was heard periodically throughout the 90 minutes.
Next I was able to hear the song of a Black-capped Chickadee. I didn't hear or see them right away, it wasn't until I had been sitting for a little while. Once I heard the song I was able to spot one of the three total I observed. After a few minutes of searching I was able to locate the other two. They were calling back and forth to one another (or at least it seemed as so). They were hopping around from branch to branch and mostly flew when moving to another tree. I was able to catch the flight of one bird as it soared over my head to another tree. It flapped its wings quickly and then tucked them in to dive downwards then flapped quickly again to gain height. I was not able to see their wing shape due to their small size, my lack of binoculars, and the speed at which they were flying. I would assume they would be short and wide wings since they mostly stay local to one area.
Lastly, towards the middle/end of my excursion I moved up a slight hill in hopes to see more birds on the other side. To my luck I happened to hear a woodpecker pecking at a tree. This was a Downy Woodpecker who seemed to be solo. I didn't witness much flight, apparently these birds can hop greater distances than I was expecting without opening their wings. From what I did see, it flapped its wings in up and down without much rotation. It had medium length wings with wide feathers. To stop abruptly it pushed its wings forward, spreading out all the feathers.
I did not see many birds on this excursion most likely due to the fact that it was a narrow corridor of trees, with water on one side and an open park on the other. It was rather cold this day so it could be possible some birds were less active to stay warm and save energy. To witness more birds next time I will choose and area that has a larger and more dense forest covering.

Posted on February 20, 2020 05:16 by aalderman aalderman | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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