Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gone With the Wind (Part V of our Florida Trip, Apr. 7, 2009)

Gone with the wind, just like a leaf that has blown away.

We had very high hopes of getting a good number of lifers when we left Orlando Tuesday, Apr. 7. Our destinations were Joe Overstreet Landing at Kenansville and Orlando Wetlands Park at Christmas (that’s the name of the town).

The fenceposts along Joe Overstreet Road were populated by Loggerhead Shrikes and Eastern Meadowlarks.

A single (and skittish) Eastern Kingbird even joined them.
However, the closer we got to the lake, the stronger the winds became. At the lake shore, we had to stay inside the car because the winds have now reached almost gale-like conditions. We could spot Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers flying off in the distance while a flock of Chipping Sparrows huddled on the lee side of a big tree.

After about an hour we gave up in desperation and hoped that we would have better luck at the Orlando Wetlands. We didn’t. Although the winds were not as strong there, it was still gusty nonetheless. Except for a Little Blue Heron and some Purple Martins flying over, we didn’t see much. Once again we had to cut short our visit.

It was still early and we were quite in a dilemma. Shall we keep on birding despite the wind or call it day? We decided to return to Orlando and when we were almost home, Cynthia suggested that we go to Moss Park again, inasmuch as it was not that far away. Thanks to her boundless optimism, Moss Park turned out to be less windy (the tall trees acted as barrier) and was even quite birdy. Aside from the now familiar Sandhill Cranes – one pair even had a baby tagging along – we saw a Red-shouldered Hawk, which was quite a surprise.

Another surprise was a Summer Tanager whose bright red color cheered up a rather blustery afternoon.

Soon Palm Warblers and Chipping Sparrows filled the tree tops.

As we were about to leave, a Great-crested Flycatcher finally showed up for a fitting farewell to our Florida birding.

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