Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol.150
It sounds like the Catskills and Adirondacks are going to be blanketed again with six to twelve inches of wet snow, which might take down some trees that have started to bud out. This won’t be good for the birds that have already moved north. Many are being hit with the bird flu and those that have died or are dying will be eaten by the predatory hawks and owls, which will in turn catch the flu and also die; not a good deal in the bird world.
This weather up north could cause some dangerous conditions in the hiking public who venture out from the flatlands where there has been no snow for nearly a month and try to tackle one of the high peaks. You may not be prepared for these conditions and should turn around and not even go into the woods. Some friends ran into these conditions the other day and turned around when rain turned to snow, but it took them a while to get back out in the dark which could have ended differently, another Forest Ranger rescue, thanks for being there!
Here on Sanibel this morning, there is one of the goat suckers, a Chuck-Wills-Widow, was singing his heart out looking for a mate. Karen woke me up yesterday, Easter morning, and asked what this crazy bird was singing out front this morning and it was the Chuck-Wills-Widow, which sang as the full moon hung in the western sky. The sun was coming up over Fort Meyers and, as I was photographing both out on the beach, Michale Glennon, and her mother, down from Saranac Lake, came walking down the beach. We had a nice chat and took a few more pictures. We talked about the goat suckers and other birds we had seen in the area.
Another friend, Gisela from Long Island, who just got in on Saturday and goes out for a beach walk early each morning, commented on the bird singing. She said she heard them and Whip-Poor-Wills in Germany when she was growing up and they called them goat suckers there also.
On Friday morning, I went with another friend, Julie Long from the Chicago-area, who I bird with down here each year, to Bunch Beach for a bird walk. This walk led by Charlie Null who checks e-bird lists in this area. This walk was to identify lots of the little birds on the mud flats and bigger birds: gulls, terns and herons along the shores and sandbars further out beyond the mud flats while the tide was out. There were about twenty in the group and the noseeums were having a picnic while we got together in the parking area before getting out on the beach, where they weren’t too bad. There were several scopes in the group which were shared when someone got on one of the birds to be identified. Many of the shore birds were just getting their breeding colors, as many of these birds head north and breed in the tundra area. There were many Semipalmated Plovers in color already, but no Piping Plovers seen here today. I had seen them there on other visits. The Black Bellied Plovers had a checkerboard of black on their breast, which will be solid black in just a couple of weeks. We saw Red Knots, Dunlin, Sanderlings, Semipalmated, Western, and Least Sandpipers, Short billed Dowitchers, Ruddy Turnstones and Willets. Many of these birds get so much prettier when on territory breeding. Out on the sandbars, were several Laughing and Herring Gulls, a couple Oyster Catchers, one Black Skimmer, Royal, Caspian and Sandwich Terns. Waders we saw Little Green Herons nest building, Reddish Egrets, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Tricolored, Great Blue and Little Blue Herons. It was a great birding identification morning with lots of old friends and some new birding friends.
Got to the lighthouse wishing many Happy Easter, as I biked by them on the way there. Saw a couple of warblers where I parked my bike in the picnic area and met Jose and a friend, David, as I walked around. We bumped into Jeannea, who had seen Nighthawks around the lighthouse. Close to there, she spotted a Mangrove Cuckoo, which put on quite a show for us, not ten feet away, where I got some of the best pictures ever of this neat bird as it preened for over ten minutes. We steered some other birders there who had similar experiences with that bird. What an Easter treat.
The night blooming cerus is going to put on quite a show during this week, but that’s another story. See ya.
Photo above: Mangrove Cuckoo
Full Moon Sanibel Beach