Wednesday, 4 April 2012

End With a Bunting

Or two.  And after 33 days of searching, the one bird I had been looking for since the day I arrived in Florida, March 1.

So, it was one final day of chasing in Florida before heading to Arizona and perhaps more birds in one day than I have seen in the last 4 or 5 weeks.

I heard a report of a Lazuli Bunting visiting a back yard feeder in Fort Myers, and if there was time, perhaps even drive down to Miami for a La Sarga's Flycatcher.

Turned out I could only get to Fort Myers and back before dark.  Now worries, as I shall be returning in April and the flycatcher seems to be a permanent resident.

And my final day of chasing in Florida was perhaps one of my favourites.  When I arrived, with perfect directions, at the home of the Lazuli Bunting, two other birders pulled in just behind me, a nice retired couple,(aren't they all?), and the woman was bold enough to just knock on the homeowners door.  When he came out, I explained that, it might be strange, but someone had reported a rare bird in his back yard.  He looked amazed and said, "really?"  I asked if he knew who it was, and he said, "Of course I do, it was me!"  Turns out Vince, as it says on his business card, is recently retired himself and now is a birding guide.

He led us into the back yard and seated us on some old chairs he had set up with a good view of the feeder.  Apparently he had 30 people there earlier today.  I came  at a good time.  We talked, waited, talked, enjoyed a few other birds, talked some more.  Less than 10 minutes later, the Lazuli showed up and put on a very nice show.  One of the easiest rare birds of the month and bird number 239.  I thanked Vince, chatted with the couple who were on their way to the Dry Tortugas, as was Vince, next week, and headed off to one more house Vince had suggested I go to for their front yard feeders.

Twenty-five minutes later I arrived in Alva, a small town north of Fort Myers and found The House of 10 Bird Feeders.  Lots of birds were flying in and out, including a juvenile Painted Bunting and yes, after 31 days, a White-winged Dove.

The final bird of the day, and Florida, was an Indigo Bunting, a beautiful blue bird.  Birds 241 and 242 for the Year and 32 birds in 31 days of Birding in  Florida.  My Florida total for both February and March trips now stands at 143 in the state, with a chance to add more later in the year.

Now I am in Arizona and will share photos and stories from this birding paradise this evening.

I started at the Ash Canyon Bed and Breakfast yesterday afternoon.

Lazuli Bunting:

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