Notes From The Field

      Miami Whitewater Wetlands

I thought that I was pretty prepared for my morning trip to meet Jon at Miami Whitewater Wetlands in our quest for some elusive Sparrows. As I mentioned on my Facebook page we were focusing on Nelson’s Sharp-tailed and LeConte’s Sparrows, and Miami Whitewater has a good reputation more for the former than the later. As a matter of fact it this time last year that I saw my lifer Nelson’s, so we were hoping that lightning would strike twice.  As for being prepared, I left home without any fresh batteries for my camera. My good Canon camera takes 4 AA batteries, and I had 2 extra sets and all of these were dead as well. What are the chances. Well as you can imagine this blog post will have no pictures. And how boring will that be, especially when there were plenty of opportunities for some decent pictures.

I pulled into the parking lot at 8:00 am this morning just ahead of Jon and also Paul Wharton who I’ve birded with in the past, and is quite and excellent birder. We started out walking North along the Western edge of the wetlands which has a buffer zone between the wetlands and the corn field consisting of thick vegetation and trees. With the Sun to our backs we walked the trail that runs parallel to the trees. As the Sun rose higher the Warblers really started to pick up in their feeding. Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers were by far the most numerous of the warbler species. However the highlights were a single Orange-crowned and a Canada Warbler. For me the Orange-crowned Warbler was a first for the year for me as I dipped on this species while I was up at Magee Marsh in the Spring.

About half way up through the wetlands the park has mowed a path the divides the wetlands into two, and gives us birders access to some of the best habitat for our target birds. We took our time through this area in hopes that we would have any luck. But as it turns out the deeper we got into the ideal Sparrow habitat, the fewer Sparrows there were. We’d come across an occasional Swamp and Song Sparrow, but if there were any Nelson’s or LeConte’s they were not coming out.

With the morning Sun turning into the warmth of the afternoon Jon and I decided to turn back and head to the cars. We had lost Paul earlier so we weren’t too worried about him as we retraced our steps. The birding was really slow on the walk back. Even the abundant Warblers were practically non-existent except for a couple of small pockets of Yellow-rumped Warblers.

I had a great morning and my knee didn’t give me too many problems considering I didn’t have any time to sit down and give it a rest. All told we were there for about 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Once again I apologize for not having any pictures. Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Mallard
  3. Wilson’s Snipe
  4. American Kestrel
  5. Red-shouldered Hawk
  6. Red-tailed Hawk
  7. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  8. Palm Warbler
  9. Common Yellowthroat
  10. American Redstart
  11. Black-throated Green Warbler
  12. Canada Warbler
  13. Orange-crowned Warbler
  14. Tennessee Warbler
  15. Nashville Warbler
  16. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  17. Eastern Phoebe
  18. Northern Flicker
  19. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  20. Downy Woodpecker
  21. Tree Swallow
  22. Killdeer
  23. Gray catbird
  24. Marsh Wren
  25. Swamp Sparrow
  26. Whiye-throated Sparrow
  27. Lincoln Sparrow
  28. Field Sparrow
  29. Song Sparrow
  30. Carolina Chickadee
  31. American Goldfinch
  32. Eastern Towhee
  33. Red-winged Blackbird
  34. Mourning Dove
  35. Eastern Meadowlark
  36. Blue jay
  37. American Robin
  38. Northern Cardinal
  39. Northern mockingbird

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