Thursday, 25 February 2016

Birding at Sabal Palm Sanctuary

Skip and I met our birding group in Brownsville this morning at Sabal Palm Sanctuary. It is a 557 acre preserve, home to one of the last stands of old-growth Sabal Palm forest in the US as well as one of the few remaining historic river plantations in the region.

Today we saw a great kiskadee, an olive sparrow, a couple of black-crested titmouses (titmice?), double crested cormorants, a least grebe, a ladder-backed woodpecker, and many cardinals. Most of the aforementioned species are only seen in the US in this area.
Great Kiskadee

At the feeding station we saw white-tipped doves, a long-billed thrasher, and a green jay.

In addition to many sabal palms, there is other lush vegetation. Across one of the resacas (oxbow lakes) we saw this very large castor bean plant.

One of my favourite plants is Turk's cap (Malvaviscus drummondii).
Its vermilion, 1" long, red flowers are twisted into a tube showing extended red stamens protruding from the whorl.
At the visitors' centre, the mama great horned owl has taken residency again in one of the palms by the main sidewalk. Apparently she arrived last weekend. We remember seeing her in the same tree last year.
Yesterday we went over to the Birding and Nature Center later in the afternoon. We saw a great blue heron spear and then swallow a rather large fish. Of course, this was the day I left my camera card back at the condo so I only had my iPhone for photos. We also saw a Wilson's snipe in the same spot we saw it last year.

We saw the usual species: roseate spoonbills, blue wing teal, black skimmers, reddish egrets, great egrets, tricolour egrets, mottled ducks, ring-billed and laughing gulls, moorhens, coots, yellow-rump warblers. baby alligators, redheads, osprey, and white ibis.

On the way to the car, I looked up to the railing of the water tower and saw a peregrine falcon (under the letter "M")
This is the one photo the internal memory of my camera allowed me to take.
Peregrine Falcon
Ever since seeing two of them there last year, I check the railing every time we visit the Birding and Nature Center. Driving out, I saw a loggerhead shrike on the hydro wire over the other side of the boulevard.

Every time I forget my camera, we see excellent things. Even so, I really would rather have had good photos. Next time, for sure...

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