Family Vacation and Banded Birds in SW Florida

Back in late October, we took a family trip down to Fort Myers, one of our favourite vacation spots. We have a list of local places that we love to check out each time we go but there never seems to be enough time to hit them all! On this trip, we were able to make it to Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve (a few times), Bowditch Point, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Bunche Beach Preserve, Barefoot Beach and a few more lesser-known spots. This trip was meant to be a nice relaxing family vacation with a little birding mixed in (of course).

The Family - Six Mile Cypress
The Family – Six Mile Cypress

Even though we didn’t hit every spot on our favourites list, we still turned up some great birds! I even picked up a lifer, which is getting harder now – Nanday Parakeet – a bird I’ve dipped on a few times. It still took two tries on this trip, but I was rewarded with a whole flock at the top of a tree in the Fort Myers area (Thanks for the tip Lev!).

One of our ‘must go to’ places on every trip to Fort Myers is Bunche Beach Preserve. If you are in the area and like shorebirds, definitely check this beach out! The flats always seem to be full of birds. I turned up a few interesting birds this time, including a couple banded Piping Plovers and two flagged Red Knots. I tried to get good shots of these birds so that I could report them.

The most interesting thing about one of the plovers was that the band colour/order looked very familiar. I had a good feeling that this was the same bird we had seen last Fall. I double-checked when I got back to the condo, and sure enough – same bird! I reported this bird as well as the other Plover and found out the details below.

Banded Piping Plovers - Bunch Beach
Banded Piping Plovers – BunchE Beach

Piping Plover #1
Upper Left: Nothing visible
Lower Left: Black over Orange
Upper Right: Green Flag – 39P
Lower Right: White over Yellow
Banded as an adult on the Missouri River (near Yankton, SD) on 5/27/2014 and has spent the winters of 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 at Bunche Beach

Piping Plover #2 – Same Bird from Last Fall
Upper Left: light blue flag
Lower Left: black over yellow
Upper Right: metal
Lower Right: yellow over gray
It was banded as a 2-day old chick on 16 June 2011 in Dodge County, Nebraska

I also reported on two flagged Red Knots. I’ve heard back on one of the birds (690) so far. I received a certificate of appreciation with the bird’s details. Bird banding data is incredible.  And now with Motus Wildlife Tracking, we’re going to learn so much more!

Bunche Beach is obviously known for being a great birding spot but the sunsets aren’t bad either!  Here are a few iPhone Instagram shots.

Here’s a few more pics from the trip.  Click to view full size.

Another great family trip.  With this recent snowfall, I can’t wait to go back!

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