Tag Archives: wildlife

5 Reasons to Attend the 2016 Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival

The 2016 Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival runs from January 20th to the 25th and is held in Brevard County, Florida. Here is a list of 5 reason why I think you should attend!

1. The Birds – Obviously. The main reason birders go to festivals is to see birds and get as many lifers as possible. Merritt Island NWR (more below), Daytona Beach, and Viera Wetlands are among the more popular birding locations. Click on the photo and type Brevard County, FL into the Location box and learn more about the birding hotspots within a short drive of the festival headquarters. Here’s a list of birds seen during the 2015 festival.

Brevard County, Florida eBird Hotspots. Credit: eBird.org.

Brevard County, Florida eBird Hotspots. Credit: eBird.org.

2. The Keynote Speakers – There’s an impressive lineup of Keynote Speakers for the 2016 festival, including Dr. Steven W. Kress of the National Audubon Society, Giff Beaton, a leading authority on Odonata and other fauna, James Currie of Birding Adventures TV,┬áKevin Karlson & Dale Rosselet, authors of the new Birding by Impression: A Different Approach to Knowing and Identifying Birds, and Steve N.G. Howell of WINGS. Read more about the speakers here.

3. The Field Trips & Workshops – There is an exhaustive list of field trips and workshops for this year’s festival, way too many to list here. I will say that there are a few digiscoping workshops, most discussing digiscoping with a DSLR, but one by Clay Taylor highlighting phonescoping! Read more about field trips here and workshops here.

Red-shouldered Hawk in Brevard County, Florida on January 22, 2015. Digiscoped with a Samsung Galaxy S4 + Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Red-shouldered Hawk in Brevard County, Florida on January 22, 2015. Digiscoped with a Samsung Galaxy S4 + Vortex Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

4. The Exhibit Center – This place is typically packed with visitors. Festival participants can try optics and gear before buying, talk with birding and wildlife tour leaders, and check out local artists’ work. Read more about the Exhibit Center here.

5. Merritt Island NWR – Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is, hands-down, my favorite spot to bird in Brevard County. Black Point Wildlife Drive is an excellent place to photograph wading birds and ducks, Florida Scrub-Jays are “common” year-round, and Painted Buntings frequent the feeders at the Visitor’s Center. If you’re attending the festival, make sure you spend a AT LEAST one morning at Merritt Island!

Roseate Spoonbill at Black Point Wildlife Drive, Brevard County, Florida on January 25, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Roseate Spoonbill at Black Point Wildlife Drive, Brevard County, Florida on January 25, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Registration for this year’s festival is open until 5 PM on January 15. You can register for the festival online. I’ll be at the festival working the Phone Skope booth and should be out in the field birding each morning. Let me know in the comments if you’ll be at the festival!

The Great Backyard Bird Count Starts Today!

The Great Backyard Bird Count Starts Today! The GBBC is GLOBAL this year and is hooked up with eBird. Where are you birding this weekend? Let us know in the comments and make sure to submit your sightings to eBird or the GBBC site!

 

Skywatch Friday

Wordless Wednesday

Red-tailed Hawk 10-9-2011.

Birding via Plotwatcher Pro!

Last week one of my housemates, Tom Radzio, put out a PlotWatcher Pro Time-Lapse HD Video Camera to see what was coming to our bird feeder during the day. Generally, no one is home during the day to see if anything is visiting the yard or bird feeder. We usually arrive back at the house after sunset. Even on weekends when we are home during the day, there isn’t a ton of activity at our feeder. I’ve only observed one or two individuals over the past two weeks visiting the feeder. Despite our inability to detect feeder birds visually, Tom was able to capture three species of birds on the feeder: Carolina Chickadee, House Sparrow, and Tufted Titmouse.

Carolina Chickadee and House Sparrow in Newark, Delaware on 4 December 2012. Photo taken with Plotwatcher Pro by Tom Radzio.

House Sparrow in Newark, Delaware on 4 December 2012. Photo taken with Plotwatcher Pro by Tom Radzio.

Tufted Titmice in Newark, Delaware on 4 December 2012. Photo taken with Plotwatcher Pro by Tom Radzio.

Have you used cameras to observe your bird feeders when you’re not at home? Let us know in the comments!

MAPS bird banding 6/8/2011

After surveying for southwestern Willow Flycatchers this morning, my coworker, Jesse Vooz, and I stopped by a MAPS bird banding station to see how the morning was going for them. It seems like migration is winding down in the southwest, even though it was late this year. The MAPS crew managed to band a female Townsend’s Warbler, a few Brown-headed Cowbirds, and a couple Western Flycatchers while we were at the station. A side note: As we are surveying for Willow Flycatchers, we are also listening for Yellow-billed Cuckoos to inform the Cuckoo crew of there presence on the sites. This morning, Mary Ellen, one of the banders at on the MAPS crew heard the “knock” call of a cuckoo near one of the nets, so Jesse and I immediately went to check it out. We didn’t hear the bird at first, but played a survey track and it flew over us and started calling from a Fremont Cottonwood stand. This was the first cuckoo of the season for us and was a little earlier than expected. Here are a few photos from banding this morning.

female Townsend’s Warbler

female Brown-headed Cowbird

Western Flycatcher

Western Flycatcher