I am on my way back to New York and thought I would write up a summary of my trip. First, I never designated a specific site to the Florida Trip this fall. The reason was that I have been birding Florida every November for 25 years and I really expected this to be a mainly uneventful trip birding wise. I thought I would post something good if I happened to find it and that would be it. Well, no two years are alike, and this one was exceptional. The three northwest fronts that came through in the two weeks I was here all brought in great birds, and I was lucky enough to find quite a few of them. It started off immediately upon my arrival with finding the BONAPARTE’S GULL on the beach in front of our condo. It was part of a flight of good birds for the area and date and my posts piqued birders interest, creating a “Patagonia Roadside Rest” effect. A local birder, Keith Laakhonen, hoping for the Bonie and the Lesser Black-backed Gull came over to try for them on the day I happened to go inland to bird. He not only found them, he found one of my most sought after species for the area, a first winter FRANKLIN’S GULL! Hoping to repeat it, I and several others searched that afternoon and the next morning without any luck. Saturday afternoon, I not only relocated it, but there was a second Franklin’s with it. I alerted people, and more folks came in the ensuing days. By Tuesday, the third front had come through and a tremendous numbers of gulls and terns came in. Several thousand birds were on the Bonita Beach North Tip that day. With them, were not only all the expected gulls, but the Franklin’s and amazingly a first winter GLAUCOUS GULL! Once again birders flocked to the area, unfortunately, only one very lucky one, Al Menk got to see the Glaucous. It took off before any others could arrive. Along with the common gulls I had a total of 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Franklin’s Gulls, The Bonaparte’s Gull, the Glaucous Gull and unusual for this time of year, a total of 4 Common Terns. Many birders came for the birds and everyone got something new, though I believe only Al got them all!
Besides the beach birds, many other birds were brought in. Some birders got their first Canada Geese and Redheads for Florida, A Snow Goose and Great Cormorant were found at Ft. Desoto and I was fortunate enough to find an uncommon passerine, LINCOLN’S SPARROW! I got FOUR new state birds on this trip, having told friends on the way down that I wasn’t likely to get anything new this trip. You never know whats happening next with birding. Great trip!!