Great radio from the Apalachicola Bay in North Florida
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Kite Tales - The monthly newsletter of the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail
ISSUE NUMBER 19 • MAY 2018
The monthly newsletter of the
Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail
Prairie Warbler by Andy Wraithell
It’s that time of year when migratory birds move north for the breeding season. This is an exciting time for birders in the migratory flyways as we briefly play host to a variety of species that may be passing through. If you catch migration at the right time, you can see a kaleidoscope of birds. As you get ready to look for migrants, check out the following resources for more insight into planning your migrant trip and as a refresher for what might be seen in the field!
Fortunately, there are great resources to help birders find the prime time for migrants. One such tool is BirdCast. This fascinating website uses weather technology to forecast migratory bird movements.
When looking at warblers, you might only get a short glance and must identify the bird based on giss (an overall impression or appearance). The Princeton University Press provides a great resource for quick-and-easy pictureidentification of warblers. These sheets are perfect for downloading and sticking in your favorite field guide or studying at your leisure. When there are lots of warblers flying around, these pages are easier than flipping pages in a book or scrolling through an app for a quick ID.
Lastly, if you are interested in learning a bit more about the birds and their migratory path, check out the National Geographic’s Bird Migration Interactive Map. This mesmerizing map shows the movements of several species and the benefits of their specific migration strategy.
Snowy Egret by Andy Wraithell
It’s as Easy as Stepping into Your Backyard!
Over the past year, FWC has worked with iNaturalist to create the “Florida Nature Trackers” program. Various taxonomic groups have their own projects that you can join and add observations to. For instance, let’s say that you spot a cool orange butterfly fluttering around your yard. You could snap its photo in iNaturalist and add it to the “Pollinators of Florida” or “Insects of Florida” project. Helpful, knowledgeable members of the iNaturalist community will then come in and help you identify your observation. Your "orange butterfly" may be a monarch or a gulf fritillary. To join Florida Nature Trackers, go to www.floridanaturetrackers.com.
Hannah, the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail Coordinator, recently visited Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park in the Panhandle to search for Northern Gannets. This state park has miles of beaches perfect for lounging, playing in the water or birding! The gulf shoreline was active with birds including a variety of gulls, willets and a lone Great Blue Heron — and off in the distance the Northern Gannets were soaring! On the other side of the barrier island is Apalachicola Bay with two natural boat ramps providing access for small, shallow draft boats. Exposed mudflats offer excellent foraging for shorebirds and protected areas for nesting.
In addition to birds, an observation deck overlooking the bay is the perfect location to spot dolphins fishing, this deck is an easy walk from the East Slough Beach Use Area. There are plenty of activities: hiking, fishing, boating, biking, camping and much more! It is a great getaway for any nature enthusiast. Make it your weekend destination or stop in if you are passing by. Check out the eBird list from Hannah’s short trip to the park.
Remember to track your Florida Big Year in 2018! If you see 50 or more native bird species in Florida during 2018, you will be eligible to apply for the Big Year Certificate. The 2018 Big Year Certificate will feature Painted Buntings, a colorful bird that can be seen throughout Florida and much of the Southeast.
If you have not already applied for your 2017 Big Year Certificate, make sure to get yours! The same rules apply — 50 or more native bird species seen in 2017 in Florida.
The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) is a network of 510 sites spread throughout the state. The Trail is a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, supported in part by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida. The Trail is possible thanks to dozens of federal, state, and local government agencies, non-governmental organizations and private landowners. Continued, broad-based support and grassroots community investment will continue to make the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail a success for Florida and for our feathered friends.