Southwest Florida Getaway – Part 1

Emily’s first trip to Florida is going great.  She was perfect on the plane (it was causing us a bit of stress wondering how that was going to go) and she’s at home here at the Wilkki condo – Emily says thank you so much grams and poppa for letting us stay here!

We’ve been coming to Florida for years, but we usually don’t make it down until late November. This year we wanted to try something different and head down a little earlier to catch a few more southbound migrants. This is working out perfectly.   I don’t remember seeing this many birds in the area.The ditches are full of birds (ibis, egrets, herons, etc).   I just did a quick eBird check and I’m already at 108 species.  I’ve added new trip-birds everyday.  I’ve added 15 birds to my Florida list and even added a few lifers!

One of my favourite places to visit while I’m here is Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. The birding has been fantastic for me.  A few of the locals seemed a little disappointed in the lack of new migrants but I was seeing lots of birds I don’t get to see back home.   Since the condo is so close, I’ve been able to get out 4 mornings to have a look around. Each day has been different bird-wise and I added new trip birds on each visit. Emily and Sarah joined me one day as well which was my favourite day.  The highlight bird for the Slough was the Short-tailed Hawk – a lifer!

Short-tailed Hawk – Six Mile Cypress Slough
Mommy & Emily – Six Mile Cypress Slough

One afternoon while Emily was napping, Sarah mentioned that I should got look for the Crested Caracaras that I had seen reported on eBird down Corkscrew Road.  I really like exploring new areas and this one didn’t disappoint.  I made it almost all the way to the bend where Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) starts, when I saw the prehistoric looking bird flying toward me down the ditch – Lifer!  I figured that since I had driven that far that I should check out the CREW parks.  It was a good decision as there were lots of warblers and I even flushed some Bobwhites down the trail – a new Florida bird.  Very cool areas that we will definitely go back to.  On the drive back home, I found 3 more Caracaras up in a tree.

Sandhill Cranes – Corkscrew Rd
Crested Caracara – Corkscrew Rd

After seeing reports of a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and a Western Kingbird at the Lighthouse Park on Sanibel, I knew we were definitely going to check it out. Unfortunately we didn’t see any flycatchers or kingbirds but it was still a great morning. Hundreds of Palm Warblers were flying off into the Gulf into a strong headwind.  It was quite the sight.

After the lighthouse, we headed over to Ding Darling, another one of our favourites. They repaved the road, very smooth!  Tides were high so we didn’t see a large variety but I like exploring the park. I added about 5 trip birds. On the way back to the condo, we made a stop for low tide at Bunche Beach, another of our favourites.

Yellow-throated Warbler – Ding Darling
Piping Plover – Bunche Beach (Have to submit band info)

That’s it for Part 1.  Tomorrow we’re heading down to Corkscrew.

To the pool Daddy

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