Thursday, January 28, 2016

Florida - White

white pelicans
A recent trip to Florida took me to the Lake Worth area which has lots of great birding spots. Since most of us in Vermont aren't seeing too much of the white stuff (snow!) I thought I'd do a post on all the white birds I photographed!

white ibis
My friend Ron took me to Peaceful Waters Sanctuary in Wellington, a real favorite of Ron's and now one of mine too. Peaceful Waters is a 30 acre wetlands park with 1,500 feet of elevated nature boardwalks and one mile of walking trails and thousands of birds!!

wood storks and white ibis
wood storks and great egrets
great egrets
great egret in breeding plumage with roseate spoonbills
wood stork
Another stop was at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach. It encompasses 143,954 acres of northern Everglades and cypress swamp, protecting the integrity of the remaining Everglades ecosystem.

immature little blue heron
cattle egrets
cattle egret
We also visited Dreher Park in West Palm Beach where we found lots of birds very accustomed to people.

white ibis
white ibis and muscovey ducks
wood stork
White ibis are pretty common along the roads and highways, we ran across these on a walk in Lake Worth.

white ibis

The only shot I have of a snowy egret was on Snook Islands in Lake Worth.
snowy egret and brown pelican

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Gulls in Southeastern Vermont

ring-billed gulls
We don't usually see big numbers of gulls in southeastern Vermont in January. By now, the open water should be iced up or nearly so, but not with our warmest-on-record December of 2015!

4 great black-backed, 2 ring-billed and 1 glaucous gull
 Our most common gulls are ring-billed gulls with a few herring gulls mixed in. Just a few days ago, a glaucous gull was found in Brattleboro along with 4 great black-backed gulls.

forefront - great black-backed, herring and glaucous
This is the first report of a glaucous gull in Windham county on eBird. They might have been seen in previous years but none were reported via eBird. That said, they are not common at all in our area.

first winter, glaucous and adult winter, great black-backed
The decline in gull numbers is surely a direct result of the closing of open landfills. Not sure how this trash came to be dumped in the stump piles near the transfer station in Brattleboro, but it attracted hundreds of gulls including an Iceland Gull!

Kumlien's, 2nd winter, in center.

There are 2 subspecies of Iceland gull, one is our American form called Kumlien's which breeds in Canada and shows variable amounts of dark in the wingtips. The form that breeds in Greenland and winters from there to Europe, has very little or no dark in its wingtips.

A combination of warm weather and some open trash has brought a nice influx of gulls to our area!