Fort Myers, Florida, 2020

Last month, I put on my snowbird training wheels for the second time and flew to Fort Myers, Florida, to visit my snowbird parents and to, of course, bird. This year’s trip doesn’t necessarily top last year’s trip because last year’s trip resulted in a waterfall of lifers. This year’s trip did involve the following:

  • Visiting some of my favourite birding spots
  • Visiting some new birding spots
  • Complaining about the humidity
  • Enjoying the ubiquitous serenade of the Northern Mockingbird
  • Joining the Caloosa Bird Club on a visit to Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
  • Joining the local Audubon chapter on a visit to Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve
  • Seeing five lifers: Limpkin, Mottled Duck, Magnificent Frigatebird, Monk Parakeet, and Crested Caracara
  • Spending time with my incredible family, including my nephew

What follows are out-of-order photos of my trip, followed by a link to some birding videos.

Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Florida, February 2020.
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Florida, February 2020.
Caloosahatchee River, North Fort Myers, Florida, February 2020.
Boat-tailed Grackle, Cape Coral, Florida, February 2020.
Full Moon, February 9, 2020. North Fort Myers, Florida.
Green Heron, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, February 2020.
Yellow-throated Warbler, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, February 2020.
Reddish Egret, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, February 2020.
Snowy Egret (background) and a White Ibis (foreground), Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, February 2020.
Spotted Sandpiper, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, February 2020.
Little Blue Heron, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, February 2020.
Prairie Warbler, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, February 2020.
Anhinga, Lake County Park, Florida, February 2020.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Lakes Park, Florida, February 2020.
Limpkin, Harns Marsh, Florida, February 2020.
White Ibis, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Florida, February 2020.
Laughing Gull, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Florida, February 2020.
Little Blue Heron, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Florida, February 2020.
Willet, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Florida, February 2020.
Laughing Gull, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Florida, February 2020.
Magnificent Frigatebird, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Florida, February 2020.
Ruddy Turnstones, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Florida, February 2020.
Yellow-crowed Night-heron, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, February 2020.
Blue-winged Teals and American Coots, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, February 2020.
North Fort Myers overlooking the Callosahatchie River, Florida, February 2020.
Kayaking at Marsh Point, North Fort Myers, Florida, February 2020.
Kayaking in the mangroves at Marsh Point, North Fort Myers, Florida, February 2020.

For Florida 2020 birding videos, including one with the Reddish Egret’s serious dance moves, visit my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/lburfitt/videos?view_as=subscriber

Fort Myers, Florida, March 7–15, 2019 (Part 1 of 4)

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.

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My parents’ street; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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.

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Northern Mockingbird; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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White Ibis; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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The neighbourhood American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in the pond down the street; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Snowy Egret; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Snowy Egret; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Palm Point; Caloosahatche River; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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My Dad, Tom (a new birder!); Palm Point; Caloosahatche River; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Yellow-crowned Night-Heron; Palm Point; Caloosahatche River; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Yellow-crowned Night-Heron; Palm Point; Caloosahatche River; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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Yellow-crowned Night-Heron; Palm Point; Caloosahatche River; North Fort Myers, Florida; March 8, 2019; photograph by Linda Burfitt.

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.