18-05-2001

Today our agenda took us to the island of Fort De Soto Park. Not a nature park but a recreation park but renowned for the rarities found here. Alas, no migratory birds here, the season is evidently coming to an end. Nevertheless did we seeBrown-headed CowbirdAmerican Oystercatcher, more than one Forster’s Terns and a Common Loon at less than 5 meter.
We especially drove to Lettuce Lake Regional Park for the very charming Prothonotary Warbler where we were gifted with stunning views of this beauty among the New World warblers. It and we were chased away though by a wild horde of school children on a biology fieldtrip (the lesson on ‘How to find a Prothonotary Warbler’ they had evidently not been taught yet).
Because we were only a few hours away from northern Florida and quite some new species that could be found there we decided to use the hottest part of the day to drive to Gainesville. The first park, Paynes Prairie State Preserve, was infested with rove beetles, which were almost as inconvenient as mosquitoes with the important difference that they did not bite. Blue Grosbeak was common butMississippi Kite would only cooperate after we had left the park and were driving into town. Several birds were flying over different parts of the town. The woods near San Felasco Hammock State Preserve brought us back to the always difficult birding-between-the-leaves which was however a welcome relief from the herons. Acadian Flycatcher showed itself well but even after continuous attempts, including luring it with a tape and risking a hernia by staring straight up all the time, we were only granted flimsy glimpses of Yellow-throated Vireo. A species that, considering the number of singing individuals, not at all rare. That America is the home of many beautiful woodpeckers was proved convincingly by Red-headed Woodpeckers. A Tennessee Warbler was a last, but not least, stupor of warbler migration.