Amelia Island Plantation, October 2017
The Wood Stork is a commonly seen resident of Amelia Island and surrounding areas. This large bird is recognized by its black flight feathers and tail that contrast with its white body. The Wood Stork is seen year round in our area.
on and around Amelia Island 2017-2019
The Osprey was formerly known as the fish eagle which is an appropriate name.The Osprey is seen year round in our area. This raptor is a skilled fisher that has had its fish stolen by Bald Eagles that also frequent the area. Look for the bold dark eye stripe against its white head and listen to its loud whistled kyew notes.
Egans Creek, April 2020
The Blue Grosbeak that was observed and photographed by club members Richard Timm and Dan Kossmann. One of Richard’s image shows a striking and beautiful blue bird that can be easily confused with the Indigo Bunting. During migration the Blue Grosbeak is an uncommon migrant in our area compared to the Indigo Bunting. The one photo shows a large bill with black around the bill. The second photo is much more diagnostic since it shows the chestnut wing bars of the Blue Grosbeak. If compared together the Blue Grosbeak is larger than the Indigo Bunting and the shade of blue is different.
Egans Creek, April 2020
This is an Indigo Bunting photographed by Richard Timm a few days following his photos of a Blue Grosbeak. Both species in the male’s breeding plumage are stunning. The Indigo is smaller than the Blue Grosbeak with a smaller bill and no chestnut in the wings. However, the second photo of the Indigo shows brown on the wing and the body when molting to full breeding plumage. Notice that the brown is not a rich chestnut as in the Blue Grosbeak. The female Indigo is brown and almost sparrow like. The Indigo Bunting is a common migrant in the spring and fall compared to the Blue Grosbeak. It is a rarity in summer on Amelia Island.
Spoon Bill Pond, February 2019
These pictures show the American Avocet in breeding plumage (rust color on back) and winter plumage. Avocets are more likely seen here in winter and only rarely in other seasons. It is a large shorebird that has a very elegant appearance. They breed in western states but as shown in one picture breeding plumage may show in migration.
Amelia Island Plantation, January 2019
The Yellow-crowned Night Heron is an occasional visitor to our island. When breeding it will display the plumes seen on one of these photos. The juvenile of this species can be confused with the juvenile of the Black-crowned Night Herons so look carefully at your guides before making an ID.
Amelia Island State Park, November 2017
The Sanderling is found on sandy beaches throughout the world. They are abundant in winter in our area but can still be seen year round, but not in breeding plumage. It is recognized as the palest sandpiper on the beach that is larger then the peeps and slightly smaller than Dunlins. They typically are in groups and look like wound up toys when they run.
Huguenot State Park, March 2019
The American White Pelican is found locally in all seasons. When the bird club was started it was listed as a rare species seen only in winter. This species is now seen on local lakes, Spoonbill Pond and on barrier islands. It is larger than the Brown Pelican and is the largest pelican found in the U.S. Most American White Pelicans breed in the north U.S. and Canada but immatures and young adults not ready for breeding apparently will stay in Florida while most travel north.
Amelia Island Plantation, March 2019
The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is one of 4 species of Sapsuckers seen in the U.S. but the only one we are likely to see in our area during winter. Most people looking at this species think it is a Woodpecker. Note that it has a long vertical white area at its shoulder along the wing. The yellow is very muted in winter but noticeable in breeding males. The sound tape is the sound of the bird drumming. In winter if you hear what sounds like a cat crying look for this species. On our winter field trips I jokingly refer to its name as a huge insult. How would you like to be called yellow-bellied? Or a sap or a sucker? This species does not suck sap but eats the insects that are caught in a tree’s sap.
Amelia Island Plantation, March 2020
This species is seen year around in our area and is the most common woodpecker seen. Please note that the red belly is only seen in breeding and slight if at all. More prominent is the red on the back of its head. Be careful to distinguish the Red-bellied from the Red-headed that has an entirely red head.
Fort Clinch State Park, April 2019
THe Eastern Bluebird is one of the favorites of many birders with its striking blue back and orange breast. These are photos of juvenile and female birds that look gray blue on the back and might confuse birders. Birders have provided houses for the Eastern Bluebird and have reduced thick undergrowth in our area. As a result, the bluebird benefits but the Painted Bunting suffers. Another negative aspect of local park management is to provide habitat for White-tailed Deer that impact many species requiring plants and undergrowth.
Amelia Island State Park and Big Talbot State Park, 2019 and 2020
The majestic Bald Eagle that is our national symbol bird. Most of us would agree that the Bald Eagle is an appropriate national symbol even though Ben Franklin supported the Turkey. The Bald Eagle does face criticism at times for being a thief of fish caught by other birds and animals. On one of our field trip we witnessed a Bald Eagle steal a sea trout that an Osprey was enjoying for lunch. One time on our local beach I witnessed a Bald Eagle steal a fish from an Osprey in midair. The adult Bald Eagle is unmistakable but the immature can be confused with Golden Eagles and even vultures. Included is a photo of an immature for comparison with the adult.
Egans Creek June 2020, Photos by Richard Trimm
In our area sighting a Great Crested Flycatcher is a harbinger of Spring as it sets up territory and then nests. Below is its call which is loud enough for most of us to hear. Don’t be alarmed that the bird calls you a creep because that is its call! If you happen to be in the Everglades in winter you will need to remember this call to distinguish it from the very similar looking Brown crested Flycatcher. Enjoy the photos of this bird which is a colorful species during the Spring and Summer months on Amelia Island.
Fort Clinch, 2020
The White-eyed Vireo is more frequently heard than seen as it hides in shrubs and thick foliage. Study its song which is distinctive enough that it should become easily remembered. The above photo is not your typical angle from down below. Usually not that much yellow is shown on the bird’s belly. Yellow is usually seen on its flanks. Note the yellow spectacle and white Iris but juveniles and young birds will still show a dark Iris.
Amelia Island State Park, March 2019
The Ruddy Turnstone is one of the most colorful shorebirds observed in our area during winter with its bright orange legs and noticeable black and white pattern around its head and chest.Some may be observed throughout the year as not all birds head to the tundra for breeding. Its call is a distinctive low pitched guttural rattle.