Archives

The Eagleson Ponds: Adding to the species list

Heath Bee Fly

In September 2016, I started a project on iNaturalist to document the non-avian species I’ve found at the Eagleson Road ponds just after the reconstruction that took place in 2015 and 2016 was completed. I was chiefly interested in the mammals and odonates (I use eBird, of course, for birds), largely in part because I wondered if the beaver would be back after its lodge was destroyed and if there were any Rainbow Bluets or Fragile Forktails left. Then, seeing the extensive wildflower plantings after the reconstruction, I began to wonder what species of butterflies might feed here. Since then I’ve started documenting all kinds of insects, turtles, plants and mammals that I can identify on my own, and even some that I can’t…one of the functions of iNaturalist is to connect experts and knowledgeable nature enthusiasts with those who aren’t as experienced in order to assist with identifications. I have hesitated to use the site for this purpose, because identifications are done entirely by volunteers, and (a) there is no guarantee that your species will be identified, particularly for lesser known or more difficult genera (for example, I have some photos of Red-blue Checkered Beetles from July 2016 that have yet to be confirmed); and (b) there is no guarantee that the observation will be identified correctly. Generally the more people who add their identification to an observation, the better; the main identification is decided by a two-thirds majority, and once it has received two or more confirmatory identifications it is considered “research grade” and can be used by scientists for their own projects.

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Costa Rica: A Summary

Keel-billed Toucan

Our trip to Costa Rica was the first time either of us had been outside of North America. It is now the fourth country I’ve visited, and almost everything I saw was new to me – from the tiny Leafcutter Ants travelling up and down the trees and trails in long trains to the gigantic Jabiru, the largest bird in Costa Rica. Although hot and humid, the weather was cooperative almost the entire week we were there, except for a few late afternoon rain showers during our first three days. Although it wasn’t entirely a birding trip, the beach resort we stayed at was great for wildlife, and I saw a lot of great birds, mammals and insects even when we spent a relaxing day on the resort. Here is a summary of what I saw:
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Mexico – Final Trip List

Gartered Trogon

Gartered Trogon

Mexico was a terrific place for birds. It was not as great for other types of wildlife, though perhaps that was due to the time of year that we visited. I saw only a couple of different butterflies and dragonflies, and I didn’t see a single frog or turtle. I saw one snake (unidentified), one squirrel (unidentified), a pair of Spider Monkeys, several bats (unidentified) and a possible Coati. Although I had hoped to come back with several lists of wildlife species seen in Mexico, I returned only with a comprehensive list of birds. Here is the list of 101 species seen in Mexico (lifers in bold):

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Getting Ready for a Brand New Year List

ebird2Tomorrow is January 1st, which means it’s almost time to reset the current year list to 0 and start all over again. This is one of the highlights of winter for me, because on January 1st every bird is new again…even the pigeons and starlings, even the crows. Without a brand new year list to work on, I lose the motivation to get outside and see what’s around, particularly since there are fewer and fewer birds to see as the winter wears on.

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Florida Trip List

White Peacock

White Peacock

A list of everything identified (at least to genus). What I liked about this trip was that we picked a few places to go (Eco Pond, the Anhinga Trail, Naples) and just went to see what was there, stopping along the way if something of interest caught our eye. I didn’t sign up for eBird reports and wasn’t chasing rare bird reports, which made for a more relaxing trip overall. If Doran were a serious birder I probably would have at least checked eBird to see what was around. However, it was much more enjoyable finding my own birds and not worrying about what birds were being reported nearby.

Mammals

Bottlenosed dolphin
West Indian manatee
Marsh rabbit

(I found it strange that I didn’t see a single squirrel on this trip. I was hoping to see opossum and armadillo as well.)

Sharks

Blacktip Shark

Reptiles

American alligator
Cuban Brown Anole
Cooter sp.

(I really wanted to see some snakes. And seriously, no amphibians?)

Birds

  1. Muscovy Duck – Florida City
  2. Wood Stork – Everglades NP (Paurotis Pond)
  3. Double-crested Cormorant – Everglades NP (Anhinga Trail)
  4. Anhinga – Everglades NP (Anhinga Trail)
  5. Brown Pelican – Everglades NP, Naples Beach
  6. Great Blue Heron – Everglades NP (Anhinga Trail)
  7. Great Egret – Common
  8. Snowy Egret – Tamiami Trail, Naples Beach
  9. Tricolored Heron – Everglades NP (Eco Pond)
  10. Cattle Egret – Homestead (Ingraham Hwy)
  11. Green Heron – Common
  12. White Ibis – Common
  13. Roseate Spoonbill – Everglades NP, Tamiami Trail
  14. Black Vulture – Common
  15. Turkey Vulture – Common
  16. Osprey – Everglades NP (Flamingo)
  17. Swallow-tailed Kite – Homestead (Ingraham Hwy)
  18. Red-shouldered Hawk – Everglades NP
  19. Black-necked Stilt – Everglades NP (Eco Pond)
  20. American Avocet – Everglades NP (Eco Pond)
  21. Killdeer – Florida City
  22. Laughing Gull – Florida City, Naples Beach
  23. Royal Tern – Naples Beach
  24. Sandwich Tern – Naples Beach
  25. Rock Pigeon – Florida City
  26. Eurasian Collared-Dove – Common
  27. Mourning Dove – Florida City
  28. Common Nighthawk – Florida City, Port of the Islands
  29. Chimney Swift – Near Port of the Islands
  30. Red-bellied Woodpecker – Common
  31. Northern Flicker – Near Port of the Islands
  32. Great Crested Flycatcher – Everglades NP
  33. Gray Kingbird – Common
  34. Eastern Kingbird – Everglades NP
  35. White-eyed Vireo – Everglades NP (Anhinga Trail)
  36. Blue Jay – Port of the Islands
  37. American Crow – Common
  38. Fish Crow – Homestead
  39. Purple Martin – Port of the Islands
  40. Northern Mockingbird – Common
  41. Common Myna – Homestead
  42. European Starling – Homestead
  43. Common Yellowthroat – Tamiami Trail
  44. Prairie Warbler – Everglades NP
  45. Northern Cardinal – Common
  46. Red-winged Blackbird – Florida City
  47. Eastern Meadowlark – Everglades NP
  48. Common Grackle – Common
  49. Boat-tailed Grackle – Common
  50. Brown-headed Cowbird – Everglades NP (Flamingo)
  51. House Sparrow – Florida City

Insects

Eastern Lubber Grasshopper

Barred Yellow Butterfly
Red-banded Hairstreak
Gulf Fritillary
Zebra Heliconian
White Peacock

Seaside Dragonlet
Blue Dasher
Eastern Pondhawk
Four-spotted Pennant
Halloween Pennant
Needham’s Skimmer

(No damselflies identified on this trip. I only saw one, flying over the grass near the marina at Port of the Islands but we were in a hurry to catch our boat trip and didn’t stop.)

200 Year Birds

Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

On Saturday I drove to Dow’s Lake at first light to look for the Surf Scoter that has been hanging out there since Thursday. It was supposed to rain later that afternoon, and indeed the sky was dark and ominous when I left. It was rather cold and damp, too, so I wore my winter coat for the first time this fall, even though the temperature was supposed to rise to 14°C.

When I arrived I heard a couple of Golden-crowned Kinglets in the trees near the parking area. I didn’t see much at the Arboretum, but in the marshy area at the edge of Dow’s Lake I saw six Red-winged Blackbirds perched in a large tree and heard a Song Sparrow singing. Another group of about 20 Red-winged Blackbirds flew by a little later but didn’t land. On the water, there were at least 1000 Canada Geese and perhaps half as many mallards swimming in the bay. A large number of American Black Ducks looked completely black in the poor light.

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Grundy Lake: The Trip List

Although Grundy Lake Provincial Park is beautiful, I didn’t see as much wildlife as I has hoped. I am not sure whether this is due to the time of the year, the weather, or the time of the day we were out. Altogether I saw 29 birds, 4 mammals, 7 reptiles and amphibians, 5 butterflies, and 12 odonate species.

BIRDS

Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Wood Duck
  3. Common Loon
  4. Great Blue Heron
  5. Turkey Vulture
  6. Broad-winged Hawk
  7. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  8. Belted Kingfisher
  9. Downy Woodpecker
  10. Eastern Wood-Pewee
  11. Red-eyed Vireo
  12. Blue Jay
  13. American Crow
  14. Common Raven
  15. Black-capped Chickadee
  16. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  17. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  18. Canada Darner

    Canada Darner

  19. American Robin
  20. Cedar Waxwing
  21. Ovenbird
  22. Black-and-white Warbler
  23. American Redstart
  24. Magnolia Warbler
  25. Chestnut-sided Warbler
  26. Pine Warbler
  27. Song Sparrow
  28. White-throated Sparrow
  29. Common Grackle
  30. American Goldfinch

MAMMALS

  1. Black Bear
  2. White-tailed Deer
  3. American Red Squirrel
  4. Eastern Chipmunk

REPTILES & AMPHIBIANS

Bullfrog

Bullfrog

  1. Midland Painted Turtle
  2. Northern Water Snake
  3. American Toad
  4. Gray Tree Frog (heard only)
  5. American Bullfrog
  6. Mink Frog
  7. Northern Leopard Frog

BUTTERFLIES

  1. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  2. Great-spangled Fritillary
  3. Mourning Cloak
  4. White Admiral
  5. Viceroy

ODONATA

  1. Spotted Spreadwing*
  2. Violet Dancer
  3. Hagen’s Bluet
  4. Tule Bluet*
  5. Eastern Forktail
  6. Lake Darner
  7. Canada Darner
  8. Dragonhunter
  9. White-faced Meadowhawk
  10. Autumn Meadowhawk
  11. Slaty Skimmer
  12. Twelve-spotted Skimmer

* not on the park’s checklist