My parents are vacationing in Fort Myers, Florida, with a bunch of other retired Ontarians who have just about had it “up to here” with dirty city snow and freezing rain. My Mom would correct me right now and say that she does, actually, enjoy winters in Ontario and loves the snow. Sure you do ; )
I flew down from rainy Oregon to visit them last week, to remind myself of what the sun feels and looks like, and to bird the entire dang time. My sister and her family were also there, so I got some quality time with my 1.5-year-old nephew. Turns out, he really loves birds, or “Ba!” as he calls them right now. Oh my heart.
I’ve been a birder for a couple of decades now, but I’m usually able to turn down the birding volume. It’s kind of like having to turn down the volume on a song you really love because you have to talk to somebody instead, or because somebody is sleeping. After doing a big year, turning down the birding volume is next to impossible, especially in a new area. Plus … FLORIDA. I warned my family ahead of time. Birding rock and roll, folks.
I flew into Fort Myers late Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, I heard a Northern Mockingbird singing outside my bedroom window. I’ve seen maybe two mockingbirds in my life. Turns out, they are ubiquitous in the Fort Myers area. What a damn treat already. Then, outside on the lawn were two White Ibis—a lifer, and quite possibly the oddest looking bird. Additional highlights from our morning walk in my parents’ neighbourhood were a handful of Palm Warblers (in actual palm trees this time), Myrtle Warblers, Northern Parulas, a gorgeous Yellow-crowed Night-Heron (lifer), and both Turkey and Black Vultures (how nice to compare these for once side-by-side). Oh, and a gator.
Of course, this was just the beginning. There are so many more birds and adventures that were seen and had. Hopefully I have time to draft Part 2 of ? later on today.