Archive for July 15th, 2012

Bald Eagle flies the coop, a few oddballs drop in after tropical storm Debby

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Greetings Dry Tortugas birders,

After losing several trip days to the Park in the wake of tropical storm Debby, I’m back in full force to bring you the birding news. After nearly two weeks of munching on brown noddies and sooty tern chicks, the beautiful bald eagle juvenile finally left the park. I did manage to snap a couple nice shots of the youngster before it took off.

The young bald eagle soaring over the top of Fort Jefferson.

Surveying the territory from the communications tower at the Fort.

In the few days after Debby brought her drenching rains and heavy gusts out to Fort Jefferson, a few weary birds hung out for a short time, including a white ibis (one afternoon), an adult yellow-crowned night heron (nearly a week), and a northern mockingbird (one day observed). These birds were traveling over the Gulf and were grounded to seek refuge during the inclement weather. They’ve all left by now, but I did snap a few shots before their departures. There’s also one fat and happy great blue heron that’s been living on bait fish for several weeks now, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to leave anytime soon.

White ibis perched in the parade ground after the storm.

A beautiful yellow-crowned night heron in the parade ground after Debby.

A lost northern mockingbird by the camp grounds after Debby.

The hungry, hungry great blue heron.

The sooty and noddy chicks are fully fledged, and the sooties have started heading out already for their wintering grounds, perhaps due to the unusual weather this summer.

Enjoy and I’ll check back in soon with another summer birding update for the Dry Tortugas National Park!

Happy birding,

–Chelsea B.


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