4 of us Bird Nerds took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Florida for the weekend and finally made it to Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area near Punta Gorda. We drove into the park and followed the sound of gunshots that got louder and louder. Yikes, maybe we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not at all. In fact, the WMA has a shooting range for target shooting. Whew.
The ranger told us to look for trees with white rings. Those trees are nesting trees for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers which is a species none of us had seen before. Before we got to that area, we ran into flocks of Yellow-rump and Pine Warblers in the open pine savanna, and gators and lots of Ibis and Herons in the flooded grass area. We met a couple of advanced birders from Gettysburg who told us about some sparrows and to listen for the Red-cockaded Woodpecker in order to see it. Their tips helped us see the Red-cockaded Woodpecker but we missed the sparrows. Although it wasn't a very long look at the woodpeckers, we definitely identified them by sound and saw one bird up close and another that flew into pine trees further away. Enough to "list" it anyway. Thanks Ann and Charles.
We also had a great look at Brown-headed Nuthatch which was a life bird for Lori and Tara. I listed it as a life bird on the blog because I have never entered it into eBird before. Truth is that Connie and I saw these birds in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics while staying at Aunt Cathy's house.
I'll post the Ibis photo tomorrow. And Kate, I'll fill out the forms next week! Thanks for the call.