All photos are copyright Allan or Cathy Murrant unless otherwise stated.
March 26,2014 landing at Southwest Florida International Airport, we stayed in South Fort Myers to April 2,2014.
The Inn was chosen for its central location in respect to all of the places we wanted to visit during our stay. We absolutely lucked out when it came to the view from our room. Every morning Black Vultures would fly into the parking lot next to the Inn to check out what was for breakfast.
Day 1 - We birded J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and the Bailey Tract on Sanibel Island.
This was a lifer for us and we were very excited to see and photograph our first Anhinga. This was not a hard bird to find we saw and photographed many during our trip.
We drove slowly along Wildlife Dr. through the refuge. Wildlife Dr. is one way and to allow for pulling over and stopping. We stopped many times not just at observation points but anywhere we saw birds.
American White Pelican
Observation Towers along the road were good for viewing as well as photography. The wading birds were flying over the towers as they moved from one waterway to another.
While we were stopped along Wildlife Dr. this Short-tailed Hawk flew over us. While we watched, it made a dive down behind some trees and grabbed this unidentified bird.
White Ibis were a common sight everywhere.
White-eyed Vireo were common everywhere.
We saw Tri-colored Heron at Ding Darling and the Bailey Tract.
The water in ditches along the roadside seemed to be enough to attract Egrets and Herons.
We spent some time on the Bailey Tract during the afternoon then returned to Ding Darling for the evening.
Visitors walk on the dikes between the ponds of water. We found a pair of Black-necked Stilt in one of the shallow ponds of water.
This Prothonotary Warbler was feeding in the low branches of the trees hanging out over one of the ponds.
Day 2 - We birded Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples.
Red-shouldered Hawk was a lifer for us.
Anhinga heads will pop up though the water lettuce long enough for a look around and take a breath then they are down again.
Red-bellied Woodpecker were a common sight.
There was a family of Barred Owls and they were a big treat for many along the boardwalk.
Prothonotary Warbler was an exciting bird for us.
Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron, an adult in breeding plumage.
Great Egret, adult in breeding plumage. The birds were so close we had to back away to get full frame pictures.
Black-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron were not as easy to find and were shy.
They had bird feeders set up at the Visitor Center. We arrived early and one of the first birds at the feeder was Shiny Cowbird. We didn't realize how special Shiny Cowbird was so we didn't stop for a picture. We found out the bird didn't stay around and how special it was. These are the birds we did manage to photograph at the feeder.
Painted Bunting with a little patience they were reliable at the feeder.
Gray Catbird was common.
Northern Cardinal was common.
Common Ground Dove
Because of the Common Ground Doves small size it was a very exciting bird to see. It is only sparrow size 6.5 inches.
We saw the Swallow-tailed Hawk after we left Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary along the highway.
Swallow-tailed Kite was seen almost every day.
Day 3 - We birded Fort de Soto Park and the North and South Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers.
When we first arrived in the park we birded the wooded areas along the shore.
Hooded Warbler were migrating through and could be seen feeding in the trees and on the ground thoughout the park.
White-eyed Vireo are easy to find but we don't see them much home so we had to take advantage and get lots of pictures.
You can never see too many Prothonotary Warbler or take too many pictures of them.
After birding the wooded area we moved to the beach where the birds were roosting.
We noticed the fishing piers on either end of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and decided to check it out for birds. For $3.00 + tax you can get a 1 hour sightseeing pass. Well worth the money we went out on both piers.
We were lucky to see Magnificent Frigatebird perched.
Day 4-5 - Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area, Punta Gorda, Charlotte County and Oscar Scherer State Park, Osprey.
Red-cockaded Woodpecker was our reason for visiting Babcock/Webb. We arrived at daylight and located the nest trees. Biologists have the trees with active nest holes marked with ribbon. We waited for the woodpeckers to emerge. It was very quick they flew out and flew away to spend the day foraging for food. We were lucky one landed in a nearby tree and we got pretty good looks. We birded the area for a few hours there were lots of Eastern Bluebird and flocks of Pine Warbler.
Brown-headed Nuthatch was nesting and a lifer for us.
We left for Oscar Scherer State Park, in Osprey. Then returned to Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area, Punta Gorda later in the afternoon to watch the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers return to the nest trees. We tried for Bachman's Sparrow but we were too early in the season.
Florida Scrub-Jay at Oscar Scherer State Park
Worm-eating Warbler was a lifer.
Day 6 - Storm Water Treatment Area 5 and Pelican Baseball Complex, Pelican Blvd., Cape Coral.
We thought Wood Stork was going to be hard to find. We saw them almost every day.
American White Pelican
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was a lifer.
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Black Skimmer at the Stormwater Treatment Area.
The storm water treatment area was the only place we saw Crested Caracara.
Monk Parakeet nest in the light fixtures for the ball field. They were flying with sticks into the fixtures.
Loggerhead Shrike were not that hard to find but this one wanted its picture taken.
Northern Mockingbird is the Florida State bird.
We knew Burrowing Owl nested at the ball field and was our reason for being there. We drove the roads around the field twice but no luck. We thought they must be nesting inside the fence but we couldn't see them. I put down my binoculars wondering where to look and noticed them beside our car not far from the curb. We thought how are these birds able to breed here? There were cars, people walking, and on the other side of the road were homes.
Day 7 - Everglades National Park and the Loop Road Scenic Drive.
Purple Gallinule seen on the Anhinga Trail.
Black-crowned Night Heron
Species Count for the trip was 127. Other highlights of the trip that we didn't photograph were Eurasian Collared-Dove, Fish Crow, Shiny Cowbird, Muscovy Duck, Tufted Titmouse, Yellow-throated Warbler, Nanday Parakeet, Wilson's Plover, Red-cockaded Woodpecker and Northern Bobwhite.