Friday, September 28, 2012

My Love Affair with a Playground

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Northern Parula
There's a little park near my home called Central Winds Park.  You wouldn't think much of it to look at it.  There are soccer fields to the south and Lake Jesup to the north. There's a dog park to the west and a high school to the east. When you drive in, all you see is an open grassy field, and tucked away nearly out of view is a little gravel road that takes you to a playground.  But during spring and fall migrations, this little playground becomes a pretty good birding hotspot.  There have been some wonderful warblers passing through here, and we've seen over 20 come through in September.

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Prairie Warbler
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Tennessee Warbler
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Ovenbird
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Yellow-throated Warbler
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Black and White Warbler
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Cape May Warbler
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Yellow Warbler
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Prothonotary Warbler
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Northern Parula
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Blackpoll Warbler
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American Redstart
But it's not just warblers that make this place so fun.  There are also raptors here, with many Ospreys, and Bald Eagles are frequently seen as well. And occasionally you might find an American Kestrel.

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Bald Eagle
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Osprey
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American Kestrel
Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers are seemingly everywhere here right now, and if you look in the open areas you're likely to see a Loggerhead shrike or two.

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Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

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Loggerhead Shrike
And then there are herons and egrets.  There are many here, especially at a little pond and by the shore of Lake Jesup.

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Great Egret
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Cattle Egret
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Snowy Egret
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Tricolored Heron
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Green Heron
Oh wait.  There's woodpeckers here too.

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Red-bellied Woodpecker
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Red-headed Woodpecker
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Downy Woodpecker
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Pileated Woodpecker
This is becoming my go-to place when I have just a little time for birding.  And it reminds me that fun birding can be had in unexpected places, even a little playground with a lot of trees.

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Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Scott Simmons

16 comments:

  1. Estupendas y variadas fotos de estas bonitas especies.Saludos

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  2. What a great birding patch! Looks like there is a nice diversity of habitat in a small area hosting a wonderful variety of bird species. Great photos Scott!

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  3. I had to laugh when I read about the playground. One of the best bird spots in Pinellas county is near the playground at Chesnut Park. I always thought if I was bird I'd stay away from screaming kids.

    Amazing group of birds you caught.

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    1. I'll have to try that next time I make it out that way.

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  4. Wow, awesome collection of birds and photos!

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  5. Wow, you really stumbled upon a great place! Great shots!

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    1. Thanks, Karen. I probably should have mentioned it's also been a great place to meet fellow birders.

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  6. Wonderful photos and incredible variety. It's nice to have a good spot for long or short birding stops.

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  7. Amazing photos! Looks like a great place to see a nice variety of birds.

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  8. Oh my goodness ... Central Winds Park looks like a fabulous place to go birding! You feature such a wide variety of beautiful birds. Fabulous photographs! I especially love the Bald Eagle, Pileated Woodpecker and Osprey with fish.

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  9. Wonderful birds in your little park. Love your photos!

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  10. Wonderful birds in your little park. Love your photos!

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