Saturday, October 22, 2005

From the Field: Birding Celebration, Florida

I think we finally have our flights arranged for Sunday, and hopefully I will be back in Chi-Town by Sunday evening.

There were periodic storms rolling through Central Florida today, so I took advantage of the down time to do some local birding in the town of Celebration, Florida.

Celebration is a planned community that was started by Disney about 10 years ago. The town was built on swamp and pasture land that Disney has owned for many years. As mitigation for the development, Disney (among other things) created the Disney Wilderness Preserve (in connection with the Nature Conservancy) outside of Orlando. So while the development of Celebration obviously destroyed a lot of habitat, the mitigation project has been pretty widely acclaimed (I have not been to the Wilderness Preserve yet), there are still nice patches of swampy woodland left adjacent to the town, and the developers left small interconnected ribbons of habitat that are connected by walking/bicycle trails.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the abundance of wildlife in town, including armadillos, White-tailed Deer, and tons of lizards, butterflies, and the like. And of course there are some birds. I haven't seen many migrants, but there are plenty of local breeders. I took just a short walk (maybe 15-20 minutes) from a residential neighborhood to the downtown cemtral business district and here's what I saw (in no particular taxonomic order):

Common Moorhen 2
Palm Warbler 6 (heard plenty more)
Carolina Wren 6
Blue Jay 2
Loggerhead Shrike 1 (a family nested in the parking lot of the tennis courts his year)
Northern Mockingbird 4
Limpkin 1 (a semi-tame bird that has been hanging around for at least a month)
Mottled Duck 3
Anhinga 6
Gray Catbird 2
Mourning Dove 4
Double-crested Cororant 1
Tricolored Heron 3
Wood Stork 1 (flyby, there were a few hanging earlier in the year)
White Ibis 6 (but after afternoon rains a flock of *140* was feeding on the sports fields)
Great Blue Heron 2
Snowy Egret 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 3 (nesting?)
Great Egret 2
Boat-tailed Grackle 1
Common Grackle 3
Wild Turkey 4
plus a couple of barnyard geese.

Those are some pretty good birds for a landlocked Yankee.

I have also seen a family of Pileated Woodpeckers, and at least one family of Sandhill Cranes, in the past couple of months. No Barred Owls yet, but I'm still trying.

No comments: