After taking a couple of days off from birding, I headed out to Estero Bay Preserve to try for some new birds. Last year when I visited this spot I had missed some birds and was hoping to pick them up today. I had a great morning birding here and got most of my target species. This is a long hot hike through muddy areas, thickets, dried mud, and yes many areas of wading through standing water. Last year, some spots were up to my knees, but today the deep spots were just above my ankles. There were many highlights among the 41 species I saw. There were over 300 American Avocets, one of the biggest groups I’ve seen. American White Pelicans, Marbled Godwits, Great Egrets and White Ibis were all in good number. On the Duck scene, I had Blue and Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon and Pied-billed Grebe. The most fun for me was however the sparrows. I had at least three NELSON’S SPARROWS and two SALTMARSH SPARROWS! Along with these I had a SEDGE WREN and a Marsh Wren! The Saltmarsh Sparrow and Sedge Wren were new state birds for me. Not only did I get to see these birds, but the sparrows were actually pretty cooperative for photos, that hadn’t happened for me here before. A great morning overall!
Nelson’s Sparrow. Note the distinct demarcation between the breast and belly and the very orange upper breast. Saltmarsh has streaking down the breast to belly and almost no orange in the breast.