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A Report from

Florida & Georgia 28th March - 24th April 2009,

Bob Marchant

An invitation to celebrate a wedding on Tybee Island, Georgia prompted an extended holiday to take in some spring migrants, hopefully a number of warblers in their breeding finery, in both Georgia and Florida. Our itinerary incorporated six days with relatives at Whispering Point, Casselberry situated north-east of Orlando, before driving north to Tybee Island, some twelve miles east of Savannah (2nd to 7th April). Then we returned to Casselberry until 11th before a week’s stay at a resort on Ormond Beach just north of Daytona. This was followed by a final few days based at Casselberry before returning home.

15 species of warbler were noted during the trip and flocks of Cedar Waxwings were everywhere. Typically for the region, wading birds are numerous and raptors are frequently seen. Some lifers were recorded on the trip, adding to the experience.

Books and maps used were David Sibley’s Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America, Bill Pranty’s A Birder’s Guide to Florida, American Map’s Central Florida Regional Road Map and Florida State Map.

Useful websites are:

Casselberry 28/3 – 1/4, 8 – 10/4, 19 – 24/4

Our cousins’ property at Casselberry (described as Henry’s Creek in the species list below) includes a stretch of Lake Howell Creek in 5 acres of well-vegetated woodland and has some good birds on site, birding highlights included breeding Barred Owl (one dive-bombed by one of the nesting Swallow-tailed Kites on 24/4); numerous other raptors including Bald Eagle overhead (with 2 adults being mobbed by Swallow-tailed Kite 30/3); a Hermit Thrush seen early on several mornings, and warblers and vireos passing through, best being a Northern Waterthrush by the creek on our last day. Casselberry is less than an hour’s drive to the atlantic coast. Local parks  included Red Bug Lake Park, off Red Bug Lake Rd, and is just a short walk away, and Jay Blanchard Park, part of the Little Econ Greenway off Dean Road, is just a ten minute drive.

Trips out included Blue Heron Wetlands, near Titusville and Black Point Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island , Lori Wilson Park, Cocoa Beach and Playalinda Beach, Merritt Island Nat Seashore – all described in Bill Pranty’s guide.

Red Bug Lake Park 8,10&20/4 highlights: N. Parula, Black-and-white, Prairie and Palm Warblers, a family of Sandhill Cranes.
Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4 highlights: 3 Purple Gallinules, Northern Harrier, 2 Wilson’s Snipe, Caspian Tern, 6 Common Ground-dove.
Black Point 9/4 highlights: Caspian Tern, flock of Black-necked Stilts, Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs, flock of 40 Glossy Ibis.
Jay Blanchard Park 20/4 highlights: 2 Limpkins, 2 ad & 2 juv Little Blue Herons, Brown Thrasher.
Lori Wilson Park 21&23/4 highlights: 7 warbler sp, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Painted Bunting, Bank Swallow.
Playalinda/ Merritt Is 21/4 highlights: 2 Florida Scrub-jays, 2 Roseate Spoonbills, sev shorebird sp, 6 American White Pelicans.

Barred Owl 
Wood Duck
Swallow-tailed Kite
Sandhill Crane
Purple Gallinule 
Wilson’s Snipe
Painted Bunting
Cape May Warbler 
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Black-throated Blue Warbler 
Northern Parula

Tybee Island  2 – 7/4

Situated on the atlantic coast some 12 miles east of Savannah, Ga with principal habitats of beaches and marsh. Walks from the motel followed quieter cycle routes where possible coupled with beach strolls from the old fishing pier and around the southern end of the island. Good birds included 2 American Kestrel, 2 Common Loons and a flock of 540 Black Skimmers.

Trips to nearby Fort Pulaski and Lazaretto Creek also yielded some good birds.

Fort Pulaski 4/4 highlights: White-eyed Vireo, 2 Eastern Bluebirds, Merlin.

Lazaretto Creek 5 & 6/4 highlights: 3 Northern Harriers (1 ad male), 1 Northern Rough-winged Swallow.

Royal Terns
Black Skimmers
Laughing Gulls
American Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gulls 
Brown Pelican

Ormond Beach 11 – 18/4

A beach resort just north of Daytona booked through RCI, provided beach walks and a base for visiting other coastal reserves. A 4.5 acre vacant lot next to our resort also produced good birds, in particular a Common Nighthawk seen as we went out for dinner, and hunting Peregrines over.

Trips out included Washington Oaks Gardens SP (A1A south of Marineland), Smyrna Dunes Park (New Smyrna) and stopping briefly at Bird Island Park (off SR421 causeway), Lori Wilson Park (Cocoa Beach) , Turtle Mound & Canaveral National Seashore (A1A south of Daytona Beach), and a stop at Tomoka SP  (Ormond-by-the-Sea) en route back to Casselberry.

Washington Oaks 12&16/4 highlights: Swallow-tailed Kite, Spotted Sandpiper, White-eyed Vireo.

Smyrna Dunes 13/4 highlights: 6 Piping Plovers, 1 Wilson’s Plover, 1 Caspian Tern.

Lori Wilson Pk 14/4 highlights: 10 species of warbler (3 lifers – Cape May Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler & Louisiana Waterthrush).

Turtle Mound 17/4 highlights: Merlin, White-eyed Vireo, Common Ground-dove.

Piping Plover
Wilson’s Plover
Caspian Tern 

 Species List


Personal List Updates


Common Loon


2 off Old Fishing Pier, Tybee 3/4

Pied-billed Grebe


Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4

American White Pelican


6 Merritt Is 21/4

Brown Pelican


Common on coast

Northern Gannet


1 Smyrna Dunes 13/4, 52 (6 adult) south past Ormond 6pm – 7pm 16/4, several off Turtle Mound 17/4, 6 Playalinda 21/4




Double-crested Cormorant


Common & large daily movements north along Tybee coast

Snowy Egret



Tri-colored Heron


Fairly common

Little Blue Heron


Fairly common

Great Blue Heron


Common, flock of 21 over Tybee 3rd

Great Egret



Cattle Egret



Green Heron


Fairly common

Glossy Ibis


Several Blue Heron Wetlands, 40 Black Point 9/4

White Ibis



Wood Stork


Henry’s Creek max 2, 3 Bird Island 13/4, 1 Red Bug 10/4

Roseate Spoonbill


2 Merritt Is 21/4

Wood Duck


Henry’s Creek max 7



2 with ducklings Red Bug

Mottled Duck


Several Black Point 9/4

Northern Shoveler


Flock of 20 Tybee 3/4

Blue-winged Teal


1 Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4, 9 Red Bug 10/4

Muscovy Duck (feral)*

Life List

2 Lake Mary off17-92 18/4

Bald Eagle


1 Henry’s Creek 28/3 & 2 on 30/3, 3 en route to Tybee 2/4, 1 on return 7/4, 1 Red Bug 8&10/4, 1 Bird Island 13/4

Turkey Vulture



Black Vulture



Sharp-shinned Hawk


1 Henry’s Creek mobbing Red-shouldered Hawk 31/3, 1 Red Bug 8/4

Cooper’s Hawk


Fort Pulaski, Lazaretto Creek, Blue Heron Wetlands, Ormond, 1 over 17-92

Northern Harrier


Lazaretto Creek 1 on 5/4, 2 on 6/4, 1 W over I95 nr exit 15 on 7/4, 1 Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4

Swallow-tailed Kite


Henry’s Creek pr most days & 3 on 30/3, 1 Washington Oaks 12 & 16/4, 1 Red Bug 10/4, 1 Taylor Creek Rd (nr Tosahatchee Reserve) 23/4



Common, Henry’s Creek max 3 on 31/3, Red Bug max 4 on 20/4

Red-shouldered Hawk


Common Florida, Henry’s Creek pr & 3 on 30/3

Red-tailed Hawk


1 Black Point 9/4, 1 Red Bug 10&20/4, 1 en route 18/4, 2 Jay Blanchard 20/4

American Kestrel


2 Tybee 3/4



1 Fort Pulaski 4/4, 2 Turtle Mound 17/4



Ormond 1 m on 11& 13 & 1 f 16/4

Purple Gallinule

Life List

3 Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4

Common Moorhen


Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4, Jay Blanchard Park 20/4

American Coot


Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4



2 Jay Blanchard Park 20/4

Sandhill Crane


Family of 2 adults + 2 young Red Bug

Black-bellied Plover


Small numbers on coast



Ormond- family party on vacant lot, 1 Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4

Piping Plover


6 Smyrna Dunes 13/4

Wilson’s Plover


1 Smyrna Dunes 13/4

Semipalmated Plover


Several Merritt Is 21/4

Black-necked Stilt


Several Black Point 9/4, Merritt Is 21/4

Spotted Sandpiper


1 Washington Oaks 12/4

Greater Yellowlegs


Several Black Point 9/4 & Merritt Is 21/4

Lesser Yellowlegs


8 Lazaretto Creek 6/4, Several Black Point 9/4 & Merritt Is 21/4



Common on coast



2 Lazaretto Creek 6/4

Ruddy Turnstone


Common on coast



Common on coast



Several Black Point 9/4

Red Knot


2 Washington Oaks 16/4

Least Sandpiper


Several Merritt Is 21/4

Wilson’s Snipe


2 Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4

Laughing Gull



Ring-billed Gull



American Herring Gull


Small numbers Tybee & Florida coast

Great Black-backed Gull


1 Smyrna Dunes 13/4, 1 Ormond 16/4, 1 Turtle Mound 17/4

Caspian Tern


1 Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4, 1 Black Point 9/4, 1 Smyrna Dunes 13/4,

Royal Tern


Common along coast

Forster’s Tern


Common along coast

Least Tern


Fairly common along coast

Black Skimmer


Flock of 540 Tybee, 2 Ormond 16/4 & 1 on 17/4, 6 over A1-A, Cocoa Beach 23/4

Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon)



Eurasian Collared Dove


Several Tybee & Ormond

Mourning Dove



Common Ground-dove


6 Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4, 1 Turtle Mound 17/4, 2 Playalinda 21/4

Yellow-billed Cuckoo


1 Lori Wilson 21/4

Barred Owl


Henry’s Creek pr most days (with 2 owlets 31/3), 1 Washington Oaks 16/4

Common Nighthawk


1 Ormond 14/4

Chimney Swift


Small parties N throughout

Ruby-throated Hummingbird


1 Henry’s Creek 8,9,19&24/4

Belted Kingfisher


1 Henry’s Creek 30/3, Tybee 4/4, Lazaretto Creek 6/4, Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4, 1 Washington Oaks 16/4, 1 Tomoka 18/4

Red-bellied Woodpecker



Downy Woodpecker


Fairly common, max 2 Henry’s Creek

Pileated Woodpecker


Fairly common, max 2 Henry’s Creek

Northern Flicker


1 Ormond 16/4

Eastern Kingbird


1 Tybee 7/4, 2 Black Point 9/4, 1 Washington Oaks 16/4, 1 Playalinda 21/4, 1 Taylor Creek Rd 23/4

Great-crested Flycatcher


1 Henry’s Creek 8&22/4 & 2 on 19/4, 1 Tomoka 18/4

Loggerhead Shrike


Fairly common

White-eyed Vireo


1 Fort Pulaski 4th, 1 Washington Oaks 16/4, 1 Turtle Mound 17/4

Blue-headed Vireo


1 Henry’s Creek 30/3

Red-eyed Vireo


1 Henry’s Creek 19/4, 2 Lori Wilson 21/4

Blue Jay


Fairly common

Florida Scrub-jay


2 Merritt Is. 21/4 (just east of pay booth)

American Crow



Barn Swallow


Common moving N throughout

Northern Rough-winged Swallow


1 Lazaretto Creek 6th

Tree Swallow


Flocks moving N throughout

Bank Swallow

US List

Sev N Lori Wilson 23/4

Purple Martin


2 Tybee 3/4, sev Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4, sev Lori Wilson 21&23/4

Carolina Chickadee


Fort Pulaski 4/4

Tufted Titmouse



Carolina Wren



Ruby-crowned Kinglet


Fort Pulaski 4/4, Red Bug 10/4, Washington Oaks16/4

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher



Eastern Bluebird


2 Fort Pulaski 4/4

Hermit Thrush


1 Henry’s Creek 29-30/3, 8-9/4

American Robin


1 Henry’s Creek 22/4

Northern Mockingbird


Common, particularly Tybee & Ormond

Gray Catbird



Brown Thrasher


1 Tybee 3/4, 1 Jay Blanchard 20/4

Cedar Waxwing


Common, numerous flocks everywhere, max 80+ at Winter Park

European Starling



Cape May Warbler

Life List

2 Lori Wilson 14/4 & 4 on 21/4

Black-throated Blue Warbler


1 Lori Wilson 14&21/4, 1 Washington Oaks 16/4, 3 (2m) Henry’s Creek 19/4 & 1 on 22/4

Yellow-rumped Warbler


2 Tybee 3/4, 6 Fort Pulaski 4/4,  several Blue Heron Wetlands 9/4, several Washington Oaks 12&16/4

Palm Warbler


Common, 6 Lori Wilson 14/4

Prairie Warbler


1 Red Bug 8&10/4, 1 Lori Wilson 14/4

Yellow-throated Warbler


Washington Oaks 12 &16/4

Northern Parula


Common, numerous singing birds, Henry’s Creek max 4 19/4, Lori Wilson max 3 14/4

Black-and-White Warbler


1 Red Bug 8/4, 1 Lori Wilson 14,21& 23/4, 2 Henry’s Creek 19/4 & 1 on 22/4

Worm-eating Warbler

Life List

3 Lori Wilson 14/4, 1 Henry’s Creek 19/4

Common Yellowthroat


2 Lori Wilson 14/4, 1 Henry’s Creek 24/4

Blackpoll Warbler


2 Lori Wilson 21/4

American Redstart


1 Lori Wilson 21/4



2 Lori Wilson 14/4 & 1 on 21&23/4

Northern Waterthrush


1 (yellow form)Henry’s Creek 24/4

Louisiana Waterthrush

Life List

1 Lori Wilson 14/4

Painted Bunting

Life List

3 Lori Wilson 21/4 & 1 on 23/4

Northern Cardinal



Swamp Sparrow


1 Red Bug 10/4

Savannah Sparrow


1 Smyrna Dunes 13/4

Red-winged Blackbird



Common Grackle



Boat-tailed Grackle


Fairly common on coast

House Sparrow



American Goldfinch


5 Red Bug 8/4

House Finch


Common Tybee

Number of species:             134
Life List:                                6
US List:                                 7

Note * Muscovy Duck is considered a countable exotic in Florida and accepted by the FOSRC.

Other wildlife of interest:

Otter                                  Red Bug Lake & Blue Heron Wetlands
Armadillo                           Henry’s Creek
Bottle-nosed Dolphins        frequent sightings off  the atlantic coast
Manta Ray                         2 Playalinda Beach ( m & f ) presumed engaging in breeding activity
Monarch butterflies            several sightings

Bob Marchant, 3rd July 2009


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