Letter To Dad 2013-11-22

Green Jay on arch - Bentsen Rio Grande SP - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Green Jay on arch – Bentsen Rio Grande SP – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

Dear Dad,

A whole lot of people remember JFK on this date.  He was a leader that inspired many people to reach beyond themselves and do great things.  But a few folks will remember you.  Like me, they valued your friendship and respected your character.  And it was you that helped me gain the confidence to believe that I could do anything.  JFK I did not know.  But I did know you.  You were my father, my birding mentor, and my friend.  And for that, I am glad.

I lost you on this day 13 years ago, November 22, 2000. I had just moved back to Columbus, OH and got a job there so I could be closer to you during your final days. Little did I know that those final days would only be 2 weeks. <sigh> Your physical presence here on this planet is sorely missed. Much has happened since then. Continue reading

Openings Still Available for Dry Tortugas Tours 2013

There are several openings still available with Florida Nature Tours (http://www.floridanaturetours.net) with Wes Biggs and other fine leaders this month (April 2013). I went to the Dry Tortugas April 24-27, 2012 with Wes and company and had a blast.  The birds were in good supply, the weather was phenomenal, and the exotic blue waters were as magical as ever.

The brunt of the available spaces occur on the last trip in April 26-29, 2013.  Is this a good time to go?  If you check on eBird, you will find that almost 300 species of birds have been recorded in just the Dry Tortugas and Key West in Florida.  Of those 300 species, 221 have been recorded during the last week in April (the best week of the year in this area).  A whopping 39 species of warblers have been recorded in eBird for this area and 34 species during the last week of April.

I really love the mild weather and beautiful blue waters.  And the birds are fabulous.  You can walk around the Fort or you can sit on a bench and watch the show.  The show, you say?  Yes.  The Fountain.  A fresh water fountain is in the middle of the Fort.  Most all of the species of birds there will eventually show up at The Fountain for a drink.  It’s also a fun place to set up for photography (if that is your inclination).

The Dry Tortugas are a must-see spot for any birder.  A few specialty birds occur in the Keys and the Dry Tortugas including Mangrove Cuckoo, Antillean Nighthawk, White-crowned Pigeon, Black-whiskered Vireo, Gray Kingbird, Brown Noddy, Sooty Tern, Brown & Masked Boobies, and Magnificent Frigatebird.  Excited yet?  You should be.  It’s a great place to go birding.

Here is info from Florida Nature Tours:

Dry Tortugas photo & message for Florida Nature Tours

Dry Tortugas 2013 info sheet for Florida Nature Tours

And here are some photos from my trip last year to the Dry Tortugas with Wes Biggs (and a host of other fine leaders):

American Redstart adult male displaying - Dry Tortugas FL - 2012-04-26 IMG_5154

American Redstart adult male displaying – Dry Tortugas FL – 2012-04-26 photo by Greg Miller

 

Black-throated Blue Warbler - Key West FL - 2012-04-24 IMG_3859

Black-throated Blue Warbler – Key West FL – 2012-04-24 photo by Greg Miller

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Florida Space Coast 2013 – part 2

Ha!  Right into part 2 with no delay.  I’m ready to roll after skimming through my 3,000+ photos for Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.  In my previous post I had posted a bright red dragonfly I labeled “is this a very bright Roseate Skimmer” from Green Cay in Boynton Beach, FL.  Thanks to the expertise of Angel Abreu of Miami, FL, this dragonfly has been correctly identified as a Scarlet Skimmer.  Cool.  Thank you, Angel!

January 23, 2013 I was only scheduled for my opening keynote speach.  Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos, but the auditorium was packed and the audience was great.  During the day I got to relax with leisure birding at a fabulous little spot called Rich Grissom Viera Wetlands (or referred to by me as just Viera Wetlands in Viera, FL).

Blue-winged Teal pair - Viera Wetlands - Viera FL - 2013-01-23

Blue-winged Teal pair – Viera Wetlands – Viera FL – 2013-01-23 photo by Greg Miller

 

Carolina Satyr - Viera Wetlands - Viera FL - 2013-01-23

Carolina Satyr – Viera Wetlands – Viera FL – 2013-01-23 photo by Greg Miller

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Spring Migration in Florida’s Lower Keys

Gallery

This gallery contains 14 photos.

Oh, goodie!  More photographs!  I wish to extend many thanks to my friends Greg & Leslie Cornett for chauffeuring me all around to some of the best birding spots in South Florida.  I had a great time birding during this … Continue reading

Biggest Week update

I’ve been here in Northwest Ohio for the Biggest Week In American Birding event since May 5.  Birding has been exciting and meeting so many wonderful birders has been quite amazing.  It has been a real pleasure meeting so many of you who’ve read the book and cheered me on. (I read the book and cheered me on hoping that I would win–it didn’t work.  Shucks)

It is late tonight and I have an early departure to Kelley’s Island tomorrow.  After six days of birding here I have seen 170 species (most days hovering around 100 species).  So here are some pictures from the start of this event through today.  Enjoy!

Blue-headed Vireo Pt Pelee 2011-05-05

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