Spring On The Wing

Where has Spring gone? Seems like we just started looking for spring migrants and “poof” the entire bird world is having babies! Perhaps it’s a feature of growing older. Someone hit the “fast forward” button and I can’t find it to turn the dang thing off.

The Beautiful Brown-Eyed Woman is obsessed with the season as well. “We simply MUST get going with the spring cleaning!” “Oh, look! A spring sale on linens!” “I love all the fresh produce we’re seeing this spring.”

Truth be told: She DOES put a spring into my step!

Colt Creek State Park. Twenty minutes from the house and some wonderfully diverse habitat. Entrance gates and parking lots. Probably the best birding spots on the planet. Today was no exception. Vireos and wrens sang from the underbrush, fish crows grunted overhead, curious catbirds popped onto a limb to give us the once-over and Holy Moley! It’s a Summer Tanager! Not necessarily rare but seldom seen.

A slow drive along the park roads yielded squeaky little nuthatches, woodpeckers, a gopher tortoise, clear-whistling titmice, deer calmly munching their grassy breakfast and a nice selection of migrants as well as resident birds.

The peaceful setting of the park’s primitive campground was a perfect spot for breakfast. From a nearby large oak tree came the ascending buzzy trill of Northern Parulas, recently arrived from their winter resort in South America. There! Just above the pine trees a pair of Swallow-tailed Kites, also returning from the tropics searching for a suitably tall tree to begin building a nest.

It seems as if Spring no sooner arrived than it’s time for high temperatures and daily thunderstorms to begin the wet season. Summer is not far away. More bird babies to locate!

Hope I finish my spring cleaning chores before the season is over.

 

At the park entrance, we were greeted by a bright red Summer Tanager.

Colt Creek State Park

 

Below the tree where the tanager was perched, a nervous Orange-crowned Warbler probed every twig and leaf for the protein-laden insects he’ll need to finish his northward migration.

Colt Creek State Park

 

This White-eyed Vireo looks like she had a rough night! A little preening and a sip of morning dew should soon set her right.

Colt Creek State Park

 

Songs of more returning breeding birds indicated the park was full of Red-eyed Vireos. We finally found one willing to pose for a moment.

Colt Creek State Park

 

Central Florida only has two species of sparrow which breed locally. The remainder, such as this Swamp Sparrow, will soon disappear until the fall.

Colt Creek State Park

 

One little bird we have an abundance of in summer is the diminutive and active Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

Colt Creek State Park

 

In our area, three species of vireo breed: White-eyed, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated (pictured below with a caterpillar(?)).

Colt Creek State Park

 

A pair of Brown-headed Nuthatches were heard before our eyes could locate them. Ever squeezed a child’s toy rubber duck? Then you know what these pugnacious little creatures sound like. They begin breeding as early as mid-February here so this couple may already have chicks, which would account for them coming so near us to see if we might be a threat.

Colt Creek State Park

 

The clear whistle of the Tufted Titmouse can be heard at quite a distance and they’re usually the first to challenge us as we enter their area. During migratory seasons, they are also good indicators that other species may be nearby as they seem to act as gang leaders (okay, maybe tour guides).

Colt Creek State Park

 

Buzzy trills abound and Gini counted over a dozen of these colorful warblers as we drove through the park. Northern Parulas seemed to be everywhere, and that is just fine with us.

Colt Creek State Park

 

The photograph may not be that great but the feeling sure is! I seldom get to see this migrant much less have a chance to take his picture. The Northern Waterthrush has the characteristic stripes of the thrush family but is actually a warbler. Along with its cousin, the Louisiana Waterthrush, it walks along marshy ground constantly bobbing its tail as it pulls tasty morsels from the mud.

Colt Creek State Park

 

Carolina Wrens were calling throughout the park as they prepare to mate and are quick to respond to any intruders (that would be us).

Colt Creek State Park

 

Spring. Annual renewal. Migrants. Flashes of color. Exuberant songs. A fabulous time to explore the outdoors!

Oh. And, as I have just been reminded, a time to clean. Sigh.

 

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

 

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Colt Creek State Park

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Spring On The Wing

  1. Such wonderful birds — we’ve had lightning storms every day over here in SW part of the state — not exactly conducive to long birding walks. My pictures would never be as good as yours anyway, so I’ll just enjoy Spring through your pictures and words!! Thank you.

    By the way you find out how to turn off that fast forward button, please let us know!!

    • Thank you so much for the very kind comments! Yep, our wet season is off to a flashy start. You’ll be the second one to know if I find that secret button.

  2. With your preamble, Wally, I started to wonder if you were about to announce an impending addition to the Jones household – don’t tell me, I REALLY should be careful when crossing the road now!!

    It seems that we have shot directly from winter into summer, totally bypassing spring here, and I can’t keep up with it either. Suddenly I need to be in six places all at the same time!

    A most enjoyable post with an enviable array of birds – but that ‘gator header image is my favourite.

    Warm wishes to you and Gini – – – Richard

  3. noushka31

    Hello Wally,
    As usual, I am very impressed with your photos and the number of species you present in your posts.
    Congratulations, and I hope your are enjoying a sunnier spring than me at the foot of the Pyrenean mountains!
    Fortunately, I travel a lot these days, going back and forth to Africa!
    Keep well and enjoy your outings 🙂

    • Merci, Noushka! Times of migration can produce an astounding diversity of species here. Since many have different plumages outside breeding areas, identification is sometimes challenging for me.
      Gini and I hope your adventures continue to be FUN! Just keep posting your superb photographs so I can continue to be jealous.

  4. Love those warbly shots! And I’m envious of the white-eyed vireo…one of these days…

    • Hi, Dave! I appreciate your nice remarks! No worries, just keep going where they live and you’ll get one to cooperate.

  5. Love, love, love your beautiful spring.
    On this side of the world we are (finally) moving into Autumn. And I am loving that too.

    • Thank you so much, EC! I suspect you are thankful summer is giving way to, hopefully, more pleasant temperatures.

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