Monday, February 1, 2010

Dispatch from Space Coast - Day One cont'd

Day One at Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival continued with a trip to the T.M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area in the upper St. John's River Basin where I collected an amazing 14 life birds. Easy to do when you are as inexperienced a birder as I am, but still darn impressive.

I saw my first Sandhill Crane there (these proved to be quite numerous throughout the trip) as well as Common Moorhen, Limpkin, Purple Gallinule, Glossy and White Ibis, Pied Bill Grebe, Wood Stork, Black Bellied and Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Mottled Duck, Roseate Spoonbills and Black Skimmers. We also saw a Purple Swamp Hen, which is not considered countable by the ABA (they say it is an established exotic from Eurasia), but I put it on my list. It was clearly a different bird than the Gallinule as the face mask was deep red as opposed to the pale blue of the Gallinule and the bill was solid red as opposed to the Gallinule's yellow-tipped red.


The total species count for me for Day One was 52 with 18 being life birds. This day put my life list over 200 for the first time - a feat I had hoped to accomplish in 2009. Bird #200 was the Florida Scrub Jay and how could it be more perfect than to have it be the bird most associated with Florida?

The birders on my first field trip assisted me in finding as many life birds as possible. After all, birders are amazingly generous people. My name tag was often hidden by my binoculars or my vest, so most people on the trip took to calling me Pennsylvania once they found out where I lived. All day I heard the call of "Hey Pennsylvania, over here! I've got a limpkin in the scope for you!" or "Hey Pennsylvania, do you need a wood stork? I got one - come quick!". The entire bus broke into applause when we did the checklist at the end of the day and I discovered that I had the most lifers of anyone by at least ten. I am grateful for the leadership of David Simpson and Jeff Gordon, but I was touched by the generosity of my fellow birders. To all those birding compatriots - thanks for helping.

The amazing adventure of Day Two tomorrow. Another 6 lifers...


Susan Gets Native said...

They called you "Pennsylvania". I just absolutely love that for some reason.
I heart birders.

Kathiesbirds said...

Congratulations Beth! Sure sounds like you are having an awesome time! Keep up the good work! I have yet to get a limpkin on my life list!

dguzman said...

Nice lifer, PA!